Thích Nhất Hạnh

Thích Nhất Hạnh born is a Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet, and peace activist who promotes non-violence towards humans and animals. Hạnh, a Princeton graduate, is fluent in 7 languages, has written over 100 books and pioneered “Engaged Buddhism” which refers to applying Buddhist insights to problems of social, political, economic, and environmental nature. was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1967 by MLK for his peace activism in the midst of the Vietnam war although no prize was awarded that year. After over 30 years in exile was finally able to make his first return visit to Vietnam in 2005.

Illustration by Anne Di Lillo



The inspiration for the style of this portrait came more from buddhist symbols than Vietnamese art itself, as Thích Nhất Hạnh is a monk. The spiraling surface which creates his head is meant to be a strip of cloth from a monk’s robe. These robes are made from the most common dyes available, and in Southeast Asia these tend to be vegetable and spice based-giving the fabric an orange hue. His face is rendered simply -mimicking the flowing forms of brush and ink painting. The openings in the cloth allow a view into his head, revealing a calm space free of turmoil, referencing his practice of meditation.

Total Area
332,698 km2 (65th)


Unitary Marxist-Leninist One-Party State

94,156,475 (14th)


$6,414 per capita