Thien Vien Truc Lam (Bamboo Forest Zen Monastery)

Thien Vien Truc Lam is one of the largest Zen meditation study centres in Vietnam.  The complex was completed in 1994 with the aim of giving new life to the Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen sect, a uniquely Vietnamese form of Zen Buddhism founded during the Tran dynasty (1225-1400). Adherents practice self-reliance and realization through meditation. This is probably the largest Buddhist construction in Vietnam after 1975. There are roughly 100 monks studying Zen Buddhism at the monastery at any given time.

The Main Shrine

Zen Monks

Bamboo Forest Zen Monastery

Thien Buddhism  is the Vietnamese name for the school of Zen Buddhism. Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism which originated in China during the 6th century CE as Chán. From China, Zen spread south to Vietnam, to Korea and east to Japan. Zen master Thich Thanh Tu is credited for renovating Thien Truc Lam in Vietnam. He is one of the most prominent and influential figures of Vietnamese Zen masters currently alive. The other well known Zen master responsible for the increased interest in Zen Buddhism is Thich Nhat Hanh, who currently resides in France. (Thich is an honorary family name used by all Vietnamese monks and nuns, meaning that they are part of the Shakya (Shakyamuni Buddha) clan).

Vòng Luân Hồi is the Vietnamese name for Wheel of Dharma.

Some of the beautiful bonsai trees around the monastery

One of the beautiful flower gardens surrounding the monastery

The shrine, the main building, is notable mainly for its simple structure and peaceful atmosphere. At the back of the temple, there is a large relief sculpture of Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th-6th century CE. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Zen to China.

Followers of Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen

The statue in the main ceremonial hall is of Gautama Buddha seated on a lotus, flanked on either side by Văn Thù Sư Lợi and Phổ Hiền bodhisattvas, respectively known for their wisdom and dedication.

Inside the main temple

large relief of Bodhidharma at the back of the main temple

The gardens and temple are open to the public everyday.

Private quarters for the monks and nuns

The scenery around the monastery,with an abundance of beautiful blooming flowers, bonsai plants and trees, has spectacular views of the nearby man-made lake, Tuyen Lam Lake, and surrounding mountains. Truc Lam can be reached by a scenic tram ride from a hilltop overlooking Dalat.

garden paths at the monastery

A walk through the pine forest leads to the scenic views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Lake view

The scenic view of the lake and surrounding hills

More Bonsai

More flower gardens!

A peaceful life for all

As Zen master Thich Thanh Tu said, “Life is but a dream.”

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2 Responses to Thien Vien Truc Lam (Bamboo Forest Zen Monastery)

  1. Awesome. I love visiting Buddhist temples and monasteries in Asia. I’m always intrigued by the architecture and atmosphere.

  2. theelectriccane says:

    Reblogged this on Theelectriccane's Blog and commented:
    Very interesting.

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