Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, has traveled to San Francisco’s UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco from his monastery in France for intensive rehabilitation following a stroke last year, according to a statement from his monastery.
While he is currently unable to speak, the report says he disembarked the plane on foot and “continues to transmit the essence of his practice.”
The statement reads in part as follows:
To our Dear Beloved Friends,
Since our last update, Thay has been able to communicate more clearly a very strong wish to intensify his recovery program. Thay is very determined to do everything possible to recover both his physical movement and speech. After many options were presented to Thay, he made a clear decision to travel to the United States to receive a more intensive rehabilitation program that could be specifically adapted to his needs.
We are happy to report that Thay arrived safely on the West Coast of the United States on the afternoon of July 11. In order to make the flight as safe as possible for Thay, he was flown in a private jet, generously offered by a kind friend. He was accompanied by Sister Chan Khong and the team of attendants who will be continuing their round-the-clock care for him during this new stage of recovery. Thay’s rehabilitation will be guided by a team of distinguished neurologists from a major neurorehabilitation center that specializes in stroke and cognitive rehabilitation based on the latest neurological research.
We remain deeply grateful to all the bodhisattvas on the medical team in France, in particular the doctors and nurses at the University Hospital of Bordeaux. It is thanks to their loving care, professionalism, and kindness that Thay has made such remarkable progress.
With a new US team of doctors, we are confident Thay will continue to progress to his maximum capacity. It is a new chapter for our teacher and our community. The doctors recommend that Thay follow an intensive program of therapy for five to six months, including hospital visits during which he will have access to the latest innovations in robotic rehabilitation techniques, as well as physical training with specialists. Thay will also have therapists visit and train with him at home during the other days of the week.
During the flight, Thay was relaxed and at ease, eager to practice walking meditation through the plane with the help of his attendants. He enjoyed looking out of the window and contemplating the icebergs passing beneath. When the flight finally touched down, Thay was determined to leave the plane on foot rather than in a wheelchair, and he smiled with the joy of arrival.
Thay’s diligence and determination are a powerful message for us all. Thay’s heart and mind will never abandon us or the practice. Although he cannot speak to us, he continues to transmit the essence of the practice. He continues to be with his beloved community, even in times of difficulty.
Let us renew our efforts to practice and connect with our Sangha, whether locally or at mindfulness retreats in practice centers around the world. Let us open our hearts and reach out to our loved ones and to those who are suffering and need a little kindness. We know that with
every mindful step and breath, our collective energy of practice and togetherness is supporting our Teacher’s healing.
We have been able to assist Thay in realising his intention to come to the US thanks to the extraordinary generosity and support of a few friends. Now we would like to invite you all to participate in this new chapter of his journey. Thay has shown tremendous courage and determination in every moment since his stroke last November. Let us come together to do everything we can to support him. Countless people from around the world have expressed their appreciation to Thay by sending beautiful letters, cards, and well wishes over the past months. We are so grateful for this outpouring of love.