Master Thich Thanh Tu was born in 1924 under the name Tran Huu Phuoc
in a Cao Dai* family. At the age of 25, he was ordained by Master
Thich Thien Hoa at Phat Quang temple after 3 months of Buddhist
duties. His Buddhist name was given as "Thich Thanh Tu."
Ten years passed by with much of effort in learning and practicing,
he had completed his basic, intermediate, and high Buddhist education
at known Buddhist schools in Vietnam. Later on, Master Thich Thanh
started teaching at various locations, which include Van Hanh Buddhist
school, Duoc Su Buddhist school, and Hue Nghiem Buddhist College.
Over the years of teaching, he had held several important positions
and published several books.
In 1966, Master Thich Thanh Tu built Phap Lac Meditation Center
and lived there to pursuit his practice. Two years later, he made
a public announcement that he would practice in seclusion indefinitely.
He goal was "if I don't thoroughly discern the Way, I won't
leave the meditation chamber." In 1971 while remembering the
phrase "after realization, enlighten others", he expose
himself to the public again.
Currently, there are over 30 zen monasteries that have been established
by Master Thich Thanh Tu. These monasteries are scattered in various
areas, including the USA, Canada, Australia and France.
Like all Vietnamese Zen masters, Master Thich Thanh Tu keeps a vegetarian
* Cao Dai is
a popular monotheistic religion in Vietnam, founded in 1926 and
a mix of all know religions in Vietnam, including Taosim and Buddhism.