Brothers in the Beloved Community
The Friendship of Thich Nhat Hanh and Martin Luther King Jr.
The never-before-told story of a friendship between two of the most well-known peace icons of the twentieth century. Although Thich Nhat Hanh and Martin Luther King Jr. knew each other... Read More
The never-before-told story of a friendship between two of the most well-known peace icons of the twentieth century. Although Thich Nhat Hanh and Martin Luther King Jr. knew each other for only a few years before Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, their relationship had a profound impact on each other and on the world.
Thich Nhat Hanh wrote an open letter to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965 as part of his effort to raise awareness and bring peace in Vietnam. There was an unexpected outcome of Nhat Hanh’s letter to King: The two men met in 1966 and 1967 and became not only allies in the peace movement, but friends. This friendship between two prophetic figures from different religions and cultures, from countries at war with one another, reached a great depth in a short period of time. Dr. King nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. He wrote: “Thich Nhat Hanh is a holy man, for he is humble and devout. He is a scholar of immense intellectual capacity. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity.”
The two men bonded over a vision of the Beloved Community, a concept each knew of because of their membership within the Fellowship of Reconciliation, an international peace organization, and that Martin Luther King Jr. had been popularizing through his work for some time. In 2014, forty-six years after King’s assassination on April 4, 1968, Nhat Hanh wrote: “I was in New York when I heard the news of his assassination; I was devastated. I could not eat; I could not sleep. I made a deep vow to continue building what he called ‘the beloved community,’ not only for myself but for him also. I have done what I promised to Martin Luther King Jr. And I think that I have always felt his support.”
In Brothers in the Beloved Community, Marc Andrus tells the little-known story of a friendship between two giants of our time.