Over on Wikipedia, user YellowMonkey has changed the page Nhat Hanhback to Thich Nhat Hanh. Thank you! Thank you! Cam on!* The whole discussion around “Thich” is one of my major pet peeves. As written by Thich Nhu Minh (former librarian at the university cofounded by TNH):
Regarding Buddhist names in Vietnamese tradition; because all monastics take the word “Thich”, a shortened form of “Thich Ca” which means “Sakya”, as their surname to indicate that they are “sons of Sakyamuni the Buddha”, and belong to the same family clan named “Thich”, we have to honor this practice. That is to accept “Thich” as a surname and record as such in the cataloguing process.
The confusion over Thich Nhat Hanh’s appellations are rooted in his ambiguous identity as a Western/Asian teacher. He uses his name in the West as he would in Vietnam, whereupon unworldly Western Buddhists impose their Eurolinguistic assumptions on a 1600 year old Asian convention… and voilà! Thich is recast from an ancient Buddhist name to a modern Buddhist title. The West has already colonized Vietnam and bombed it halfway to being a tropical parking lot. Please, at least let us have our language. (*Xin loi la van ban nay khong co dau!)