Vietnamese Thien

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Thiền monks performing a service in Huế.

Thiền (Vietnamese: Thiền Tông) is the Vietnamese form of of Chan Buddhism (commonly referred to as Zen in the West).


According to traditional accounts of Vietnam, the Thien school was founded in 580 by Indian monk named Vinītaruci.[1]

The sect that Vinītaruci and his lone Vietnamese disciple founded would become known as the oldest branch of Thiền. After a period of obscurity, the Vinītaruci School became one of the most influential Buddhist groups in Vietnam by the 10th century, particularly so under the patriarch Vạn-Hạnh (died 1018).

In the 17th century, a group of Chinese monks led by Nguyên Thiều established a vigorous new school, the Lâm Tế, which is the Vietnamese pronunciation of Linji. A more domesticated offshoot of Lâm Tế, the Liễu Quán school, was founded in the 18th century and has since been the predominant branch of Vietnamese Thiền.

Thiền master Thích Thanh Từ is credited for renovating Trúc Lâm in Vietnam. He is one of the most prominent and influential Thiền masters currently alive. He was a disciple of Master Thích Thiện Hoa.

The most famous practitioner of syncretized Thiền Buddhism in the West is Thích Nhất Hạnh who has authored dozens of books and founded Dharma center Plum Village in France together with his colleague, Thiền Master bhikkhuni Chân Không.

Vietnamese Thiền doctrine

Bodhidharma laid the foundation to formation of four principles of Chan Buddhism, the general for all schools which came from it:[2]

  1. Special transfer out of the Doctrine;
  2. Not to be guided by words and texts;
  3. The direct instruction on consciousness of the person;
  4. Beholding the nature, to become Buddha.

One of the basic concepts of Thiền is a concept "(Tathāgata) of "thus coming". The term is often thought to mean either "one who has thus gone" (tathā-gata) or "one who has thus come" (tathā-āgata). This is interpreted as signifying that the Tathāgata is beyond all coming and going – beyond all transitory phenomena.[3]

See also


  1. Tai Thu Nguyen, The History of Buddhism in Vietnam, p. 55
  2. Titarenko, 1994, Bodhidharma
  3. Chalmers, Robert. The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1898. pp.103-115

External links

This article includes content from Vietnamese Thiền on Wikipedia (view authors). License under CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikipedia logo