On the way to Tuyen Lam Lake, tourists have to run right onto a zigzagging road at the mountain side to Phoenix Summit, on which stands beautiful famous Truc Lam Zen Monastery in an open poetic natural environment.
Historical records of Truc Lam Zen Monastery
Established in special social conditions, with the aim of restoring Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen School founded by the King Tran Thanh Tong, this Zen school has harmoniously combined different Zen schools with Vietnamese cultural and tradition into Vietnamese Zen. Truc Lam Zen Monastery lies on a protected forest of 23,2 hectares, of which 2 hectares is the building area.
With its advantage of location, Truc Lam zen monastery was designed with a new style of architecture by Mr. Ngo Viet Thu. The sanctum was designed by architecture Huynh Ngoc An. The sanctum has rectangle shape which is toward the South. Sanctum surroundings are a lot of traditional Vietnamese pagodas which were built by ferro-concrete. The monastery was designed modernly. It is simple in its form but modern in structure and use.
The pagoda was built in 1993 – 1994 by superior Buddhist monk Thich Thanh tu and it was designed with the oriental architecture style. With the beautiful landscapes, the pagoda is not only a place for meditation but also an ideal place for visiting.
Overview of Truc Lam Zen Monastery
Besides the Main Hall in the middle, on the right are the consulting room, the belfry and displaying room on the right; on the left are the sitting room, library, and contemplation hall. Before reaching the Main Hall, tourists may take two ways. They may start at the bus stop, take the side gate up 61 steps or, from the lake, climb the 222 steps through the triple gate onto the court in front. Inside the Main Hall, statues are displayed simply but meditatively. In the bright spacious sanctuary is the only statue of Sakyamuni Buddha raising a lotus in his hand – a symbolic image of Buddha in Linh Son Dharma Conference, expressing the philosophy of ‘existence in nihilism’ in Buddhist Zen.
Zen Monastery’s Activities
Zen helps people to live in “full awareness” and bring their souls back into peaceful state. Truc Lam Buddhist Zen emphasizes on every one’s interior concentration, either a religious or someone in his/her family. This introspective soul training process leads to personal purification, builds a care-free mind and help one’s good nature to show up; this is the real peace in everyone’s interior, not in a certain paradise in a faraway world.
Visiting Truc Lam Zen Monastery in the quietness of hills and mountains, tourists are free from everyday worries and seem to be able regain themselves in the greatness of the nature.