Keys to Buddhism (Chìa Khóa Học Phật)
About the Author
Venerable Thich Thanh Tu was born in 1924 in Tra On District, Can Tho province, Southern Vietnam. At the age of twenty-four, he became a novice, learning basic Buddhism under Master Thich Thien Hoa, ordaining in 1953. He completed his advanced studied in 1958. At this time in Vietnam, most followers of Buddhism practiced Pure Land recitation. As his teacher was a Pure Land master, Thich Thanh Tu learnt these methods. He also wanted to practice Zen but was not able to find a master. In 1960, he became one of Vietnam’s predominant Dharma teachers, teaching Dharma in Buddhist schools, given the post of Director of the Buddhist Educational Department of Southern Vietnamese Sangha. From 1964 to 1967, he was the Manager of Hue Nghiem Buddha Dharma Institute.
In 1968, deciding to practice just Zen meditation, Master Thich Thanh Tu went into retreat on Mount Tao Phung in Vung Tau, vowing to stay until he found the Truth. After a summer retreat, Master Thanh Tu realized the essence of form and emptiness that is beyond duality. The meanings of the Mahayana sutras and the patriarchs’ teachings, which were inaccessible to him before now, became clear. At this time, he decided to revive Vietnamese Zen Sect which had disappeared centuries before.
Master Thich Thanh Tu built his first Zen monastery in 1970, naming it Chan Khong, meaning True Emptiness. Since then, many people have come to practice with him. Currently, under his guidance, there are nineteen monasteries in Vietnam and sixteen abroad. His main instructions are to be fully aware of the false nature of thoughts, and then, to the stay with True Nature which manifest through the six organs.
Zen Master Thich Thanh Tu has translated many scholarly texts from the Chinese and has written numerous books of his own. He is a living example for those who aspire Truth. Master Thanh Tu had traveled to Kampuchea, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, and China. He has also lectured live in France, Switzerland, Canada, the United States, Indonesia, and Australia. He currently resides at Truc Lam Zen Monastery in Dalat, Vietnam.