This article examines Thích Nhất Hạnh’s work as editor in chief of the first national Vietnamese Buddhist magazine, Phật Giáo Việt Nam (1956–1959). It contextualizes him as both a product and a torchbearer of the Vietnamese Buddhist revival movement that began around the time of his birth and argues that, in contrast to the globalist image he cultivated after his exile, Thích Nhất Hạnh was once the most outspoken Buddhist nationalist in Vietnam. His unique contribution to Vietnamese Buddhism in the 1950s was his relentless advocacy for a national organization that could facilitate Buddhist nation-building efforts and help bring peace and democracy to Vietnam.

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