Keys to Buddhism (Chìa Khóa Học Phật)
This book presents the teachings of Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Thanh Tu. Buddhism first came to Viet Nam from India in the third century, with Masters K'ang Sen Houci, Marijivaka, and others. In the sixth century, Zen came with Master Vinitaruci, who received transmission from the Third Chinese Patriarch Sengcan. In the centuries after, Zen flourished but declined during the wartimes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the 1970's, Thich Thanh Tu revived Zen, combining a mixture of teachings and practices of the Second Chinese Patriarch Hui-Ke, the Sixth Chinese Patriarch Hui-Neng, and the First Vietnamese Patriarch Tran Nhan Tong of the Truc Lam (Bamboo Forest) Zen sect.
While the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha are timeless, the manner it is taught has to fit time and place. Our intention with this translation is to make Master Thich Thanh Tu's teachings available to English readers in the 21st century Other English translations of the Master's words are available but this is the first work to be translated in Viet Nam. The main advantage to this is that practitioners with deep understanding of the Buddha-dharma, and who have practiced with the Master for a long time, therefore, understanding well the way he teaches, have been involved. In addition, as this work took place at Truc Lam Da Lat, the current resident of the Master, we were able to consult and clarify with him many points. The Buddha-dharma, in general, and Zen in parcicular, has many subtleties. The way it is explained or translated can make all the difference. For example, choices in verb tense, whether a pronoun is needed or not, or whether a sentence (especially in those koans!) is a question or a directive, can make all the difference between an explanation which will just give us a neat story to laugh or ponder over, or one which will point out minds towards freedom.
Another intention is to make these teachings applicable to Western audiences while keeping the Master's tone and the cultural naunces of Vietnam. Hopefully this has been achieved.
May the words in this book and the practices it can inspire bring all beings to true happiness and wisdom.
Thuan Tue - Huyen Bach - Thuy Lien Shutt