Thich Thien-An Appreciation Thread

Thich Thien-An Appreciation Thread

Postby Jikan » Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:43 pm

I recently finished reading Thich Thien-An's primer Zen Philosophy, Zen Practice. I think I will recommend it to others, and not only beginners. It is lucid and compact, which is to say I think it communicates a great deal. I particularly appreciated the author's commitment to an ecumenical Buddhist approach.

One point I thought was particularly relevant came early in the text, when the author comes on out and states that Zen is in fact a form of Buddhism and is intended as such--as a way to practice Buddhism. This is an interesting intervention to make, given that the previous generation of Zen teachers in the US gave a different presentation of the teachings; think of Nyogen Senzaki's claim (this is in Buddhism and Zen) that Zen is Zen, and Buddhism is Buddhism.

Beyond the teachings recorded in this one volume, when I look at his accomplishments in propagating the teachings in the US, I feel a kind of inspiration and gratitude. Inspiration that it's possible to get things done, and gratitude for what he was able to accomplish in establishing spaces for people to practice in an urban environment, and to get people earnestly and seriously settled into practice in significant ways. Even as his life was dramatically shortened by cancer.

I'm putting this up here because I think this teacher's teachings and life example are very much worth reflecting on. I'd also like to know more about the teaching activities of his Dharma heirs and the goings-on at the temples he established.

:namaste:
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Re: Thich Thien-An Appreciation Thread

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:03 pm

He founded the International Buddhist Meditation Centre in the Korea Town section of Los Angeles, right?
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Thich Thien-An Appreciation Thread

Postby Jikan » Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:00 pm

JKhedrup wrote:He founded the International Buddhist Meditation Centre in the Korea Town section of Los Angeles, right?


Yes, that's right. In doing so, he created a space for long-term practice and built bridges among many different Buddhist leaders and traditions in SoCal.
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Re: Thich Thien-An Appreciation Thread

Postby blindmanrunning » Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:29 pm

I was privileged to know Dr. Tien-An, whom I called Suto. I first met him when I took a collge class in Asian Philosophy and Religion in 1970. In the late 1970s I lived for over three years at his International Buddhist Meditation Center (I.B.M.C.) in Los Angeles. It was one of the most interesting, diverse communities imaginable. It was a home for Buddhists from around the world and all sects. However, most residents were not self-identified Buddhists. All the mainstream religions, including Native American Hopi, were represented and various new-age sects also. Some residents were more academically oriented. Dr. Tien-An with Dr. Leo Pruden founded the University of Oriental Studies on-campus which had a great library and was a big draw for scholars.

Dr. Tien-An was a remarkable man: kind, socially engaged, progressive, open-minded, funny, and very resourceful, besides being a fine Zen master. One of his less-known attainments: he was an accomplished ballroom dancer, an art he learned in Japan. He was a truly well-rounded man.

Dr. Tien-An helped thousands of Vietnamese immigrants adjust to their new lives in America when the Vietnamese War ended. There's a great out-of-print photo-essay book about life at I.B.M.C. called 'Taking Refuge in LA' that is available used on Amazon for less than $7. http://www.amazon.com/Taking-Refuge-L-A ... 0893812617 The photos are by well-known photographer Don Farber of the Buddhist Heritage Foundation. The text is by Buddhist journalist Rick Fields, and the introduction is by Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh. As the original poster said, Dr. Tien-An's book, 'Zen Philosophy, Zen Practice' is great guide to Zen. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss? ... tice&ajr=1 It's witten by a qualified Zen master who was a scholar had practiced in Vietnam and Japan and was able present Zen ideas in an informed, practical way.
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