Order of Interbeing | Tiep Hien

Timeline of Community


  • October 11 – Birth of Thich Nhat Hanh (TNH) (birth name: Nguyễn Xuân Bảo in Thừa Thiên, Vietnam)


  • Birth of Sister Chan Khong (born Cao Ngoc Phuong in Ben Tre, Vietnam)


  • Thich Nhat Hanh entered the Tu Hieu Temple Monastery as a novice monk


  • Thich Nhat Hanh graduates from Bao Quoc Buddhist Academy


  • Thich Nhat Hanh is ordained a monk


  • Thich Nhat Hanh co-founded An Quang Temple in Saigon, Vietnam


  • Thich Nhat Hanh Founded the Phoung Boi (Fragrant Palm Leaves) Meditation Center in the highlands


  • Thich Nhat Hanh named Editor-in-Chief of “Vietnamese Buddhism” the periodical of the Unified Vietnam Buddhist Association


  • Sister Chan Khong enrolled at the University of Saigon, studying biology


  • Thich Nhat Hanh goes to the United States to study comparative religion at Columbia University and Princeton University


  • Thich Nhat Hanh Teaches at Columbia University and Princeton University


  • Thich Nhat Hanh returns to Vietnam
  • Sister Chan Khong goes to Paris, France to complete her degree in biology


  • Thich Nhat Hanh establishes the Van Hanh University, La Boi Press, and the School for Youth and Social Service (SYSS)
  • Sister Chan Khong returns to Vietnam to work with the SYSS
  • The Order of Interbeing is established


  • Thich Nhat Hanh writes “Searching for the Enemy of Man” a letter to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. urging him to publicly oppose the war in Vietnam


  • February 5 – the first 6 members (the Six Cedars) are ordained into the newly formed Order of Interbeing
  • May 1 – Thich Nhat Hanh is given the Lamp Transmission at Từ Hiếu Temple from Master Chân Thật, making him a Dharmacharya (Dharma Teacher)
  • Thich Nhat Hanh returns to the US to lead a symposium at Cornell University
  • Thich Nhat Hanh speaks to many groups and leaders, including Robert MacNamara and Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Sister Chan Khong is named operations director of the SYSS
  • Control of Van Hanh University is taken over by the Vice Chancellor who severs ties with the SYSS, calling Sister Chan Khong a communist
  • The SYSS continues to work despite the harassment and murder of many of its members


  • Thich Nhat Hanh is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Thich Nhat Hanh is exiled from Vietnam by the Vietnamese government
  • Thich Nhat Hanh gains asylum in France
  • May – Nhat Chi Mai, one of the first six Order of Interbeing members, immolates herself for peace


  • Thich Nhat Hanh Leads the Buddhist Peace Delegation
  • Sister Chan Khong joins TNH in France to assist with the Buddhist Peace Delegation; she is considered an enemy of the Vietnamese government and exiled as well
  • Thich Nhat Hanh establishes the Unified Buddhist Church in France
  • Thich Nhat Hanh lectures at the Sorbonne in Paris


  • Paris Peace Accords are signed. Thich Nhat Hanh is not allowed re-entry into Vietnam by the newly formed communist government.


  • Thich Nhat Hanh and Sister Chan Khong form the Sweet Potatoes Meditation Center in France


  • Thich Nhat Hanh and Sister Chan Khong lead efforts to rescue Vietnamese boat people


  • Thich Nhat Hanh ordains Anh-Huong Nguyen into the Order of Interbeing. This ordination in France is the first ordination since the establishment of the Order of Interbeing in Vietnam in 1966.


  • Plum Village Buddhist Center in the Dordogne region in France is established by Thich Nhat Hanh and Sister Chan Khong


  • Sister Chan Khong is ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh as a nun on Vulture’s Peak in India


  • Sister Annabel Laity (True Virtue) ordained as a Dharmacharya and serves as Director of Practice at Plum Village


  • The first conference of the International Order of Interbeing is held. This conference established the Order of Interbeing Charter, elected an Executive Council, and established that Assembly meetings would be held regularly to revise and amend the Charter. It also established a Council of Elders and a Council of Youth to draw from the experience of it’s members for leadership and guidance.


  • Maple Forest Monastery was formed in Vermont


  • Unified Buddhist Church (UBC), Inc is formed in the United States
  • Sister Annabel named to head the UBC, Inc
  • Green Mountain Dharma Center formed
  • Sister Annabel named Abbess of the Maple Forest Monastery and Green Mountain Dharma Center


  • June – Thich Nhat Hanh assists in writing the Manifesto 2000 which consists of six pledges to promote a culture of peace and non-violence in the world. It has been signed by the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.
  • Deer Park Monastery is formed in California near Escondido. Thầy Giác Thanh is the first abbot.


  • September 21 – Thich Nhat Hanh begins a fast for peace and to remember those who have died in the September 11, 2001 attacks
  • September 25 – Thich Nhat Hanh gives a speech at the Riverside Church in New York City urging the American people and government to think before reacting to the events of September 11th and to look for a peaceful resolution.
  • October – Thầy Giác Thanh, abbot of Deer Park Monastery passes away.


  • January 12 to April 11 – Thich Nhat Hanh returns to Vietnam to visit Buddhist temples, teach, and is allowed to publish a limited number of his books in Vietnamese; 100 monastic and 90 lay members of the OI accompany him
  • Two temples are re-established in Vietnam with TNH as their spiritual head: the Tu Hieu Temple and the Prajna Temple
  • August – Magnolia Village Practice Center is accepted by TNH as an Order of Interbeing center in Mississippi
  • October 9 – Thich Nhat Hanh and Order of Interbeing members lead the “Peace is Every Step” walk at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, California.
  • October – Thich Nhat Hanh receives Magnolia Grove Monastery located in Batesville, MS


  • May 22 – Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Old Path White Clouds is optioned for the film Buddha to be produced by MCorpGlobal. TNH makes an appearance at the Canne’s film festival to promote the project.
  • September 11 – Thich Nhat Hanh makes an appearance in Los Angeles to promote the Buddha film project. His Holiness the Dalai Lama endorsed the project at the luncheon which was attended by a number of Hollywood actors.
  • October 7 – Thich Nhat Hanh addresses UNESCO, calling for specific steps to reverse the cycle of violence, war, and global warming. He calls for a commitment of observing a weekly No Car Day to be promoted globally.
  • October 11 – Thich Nhat Hanh enjoys his 80th birthday


  • February 20 to May 9 – Thich Nhat Hanh Returns to Vietnam to conduct “Grand Requiem For Praying” ceremonies to help heal the wounds of the Vietnam war.
  • Maple Forest Monastery closes
  • May – Blue Cliff Monastery is established in Walker Valley, New York
  • May – Plum Village Hong Kong is formed, later renamed the Asian Institute of Applied Buddhism


  • March – North American Dharma Teachers gather at Deer Park Monastery for a retreat. During the retreat, the Dharma Teacher Caretaking Council was formed. The initial fourfold Council includes Sister Huong Nghiem, Brother Phap Tri,  Brother Phap Hai, Brother Phap Dung, Sister Dang Nghiem, Anh-Huong Nguyen, Eileen Kiera, Jack Lawlor, Joanne Friday, Lyn Fine, Mitchell Ratner, and Peggy Rowe Ward.


  • April – Lotus Pond Temple is established in Hong Kong and Thich Nhat Hanh announced it would start the Asian Institute of Applied Buddhism.
  • From August-October, the North American Teaching Tour includes a stop in Vancouver, British Columbia followed by Colorado, California, Mississippi, New York, and Washington DC.


  • Plum Village Practice Center Celebrates Thirty Years
  • June: 21-Day Retreat on The Science of the Buddha


  • June: 21-Day Retreat on What Happens When you Die?
  • On 11 November 2014, a month after his 89th birthday, and following several months of rapidly declining health, Thich Nhat Hanh suffered a severe stroke.


  • August-October: The Miracle of Mindfulness: On Tour with the Monastic Community of Thich Nhat Hanh stops in New York, Mississippi, and California


  •  January – After over a year of intensive rehabilitation in Northern California, Thich Nhat Hanh returned to his hermitage at Plum Village
  • March – Members of the Dharma Teachers Sangha of North America gather at Deer Park Monastery for a retreat
  • December – Thich Nhat Hanh travels to Thai Plum Village International Practice Center, Pakchong, Nakornratchasima Province.


7 responses to “Timeline of Community”

  1. LynFine Avatar

    Hi Kenley, and whoever else assisted in putting together this wonderful first step of a history of the Order of Interbeing in the West. I look forward to seeing more and more entries to fill in the gap-years. With love and gratitude, Lyn (Lyn Fine, Berkeley CA)

    1. Kenley Neufeld Avatar

      Thanks Lyn! The timeline has been a group effort and if you (or others) have a contribution then please share here and I’ll update the page.

    2. digadee Avatar

      Maybe the death of Thay Giac Thanh and his appointment as Abbot at DeerPark should also be added? Next to TNH, Thay’s energy and heart was uncomparable to any other.

      1. Kenley Neufeld Avatar

        I’ve updated and added a few items, including your suggestion regarding Thầy Giác Thanh. Thank you for the motivation.

        1. digadee Avatar

          Thank you Kenley, bless you, brother.

  2. Dzung Vo Avatar
    Dzung Vo

    Thank you for this history. I have vivid memories of the Sept 25, 2011 dharma talk in New York, just after 9/11. A profound moment of peace and healing in a very turbulent time.

    Whatever happened to the “Old Path White Clouds” film project? Was the film ever completed, and if so how can we view it?

    1. Dzung Vo Avatar
      Dzung Vo

      Oops I meant Sept 25, 2001 Dharma talk.