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Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh emerges from coma


Last update 16:56 | 06/01/2015

The most recent communiqué from Plum Village, the spiritual community of the venerated Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, announced that the venerable monk had emerged from his coma, which was brought on by a severe brain hemorrhage in November.

Thich Nhat Hanh

In his current state, the monk is able to recognize familiar faces. He is very responsive to verbal stimuli and has brought everyone great joy by starting to smile in the last few days.

One of his close attendants recounted some shared memories from being on tour with him. There was a particularly humorous story which, to his astonishment, even made he smile and chuckle.

The monk's physical condition remains stable, and thanks to the excellent care he has received from the medical staff, he is able to enjoy being comfortable and at ease. Thich Nhat Hanh is investing great effort in his physiotherapy sessions. He is making daily progress.

While Thich Nhat Hanh has emerged into wakefulness, with eyes open for much of day, he remains unable to speak. Doctors are closely monitoring him and the indicators of aphasia he's exhibited, and plan to transfer him to a stroke rehabilitation clinic soon.

Monk Nhat Hanh is considered an influential spiritual leader in the West whose work dates back to the mid-1960s when he was exiled from Vietnam during the war and settled in France where he has lived and preached since. The Zen Buddhist monk has done much to popularize Buddhist thought in the west, traveling regularly through North America and Europe.

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