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Thousands in Vietnam mourn Buddhist monk who brought mindfulness to West

Thousands of mourners packed a pagoda in Vietnam's Buddhist heartland on Sunday to pay tribute to the late Vietnamese monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, credited with bringing mindfulness to the West. The Zen master, whose reach within Buddhism was seen as second only to the Dalai Lama, died aged 95 on Saturday at the Tu Hieu Pagoda in the city of Hue. Widely known as the father of mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh spent nearly four decades in exile after he was banished from his homeland for calling for an end to the Vietnam War. He wrote more than 100 books on mindfulness and meditation and hosted retreats worldwide. Early on Sunday morning, chanting monks carried his body covered by a yellow sheet along with decorative umbrellas through the throng of mourners. The smell of incense wafted in the air as they put his body in a wooden coffin and placed it in the meditation hall decorated with yellow daisies. Buddhist monks in yellow and brown robes recited prayers and followers wearing grey stood in silent contemplation of a remarkable life.