On the way from National Road 20 to Tuyền Lâm Lake, tourist have to run right onto a zigzagging tar road at the mountain side to Phoenix Summit, on which stands beautiful famous Trúc Lâm Zen Monastery in an open poetic natural environment.
Established in special social conditions, with the aim of restoring Trúc Lâm Yên Tử Xen School founded by King Trần Nhân Tông, a Xen school has harmoniously combined different Zen schools with Vietnamese cultural and tradition into Vietnamese Zen. Trúc Lâm Xen monastery was built under Decision No. 1039/QĐ-UB dated July 17th 1993 of the People’s Committee of Lam Dong province, It lies on a protected forest of 23,2 hectares, of which 2 hectares is the building area.
Trúc Lâm Zen Monasteris design was outlined by Architect Ngô Viết Thụ and Architect Huỳnh Ngọc Ẩn designed the Main Hall. Later the Designing and Planning Department of Đà Lạt revised it and changed the design for internal sections. While it was being built, the Most Venerable Dean asked architect Vũ Xuân Hùng to design the triple gate and the belfry as well as modify the architecture into soft and easy style of Vietnamese culture. The construction started on April 8th the Lunar Rooster Year (1993), with the consistent help of monks, nuns, Buddhists at home and abroad. Ten months later, it was provisionally completed and solemnly inaugurated on February 08th the Lunar Dog Year (1994).
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, abbot’s room 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 Sơn Dharma Conference, expressing the philosophy of ‘existence in nihilisim’ in Buddhist Zen.
Zen helps us to live in ‘full awareness’ and bring our souls back into peaceful state. Trúc Lâm Buddhist Zen emphasizes on every one’s interior concentration, either a religious or someone in his 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 Trúc Lâm Zen Monastery in the quietness of hills and mountains, tourists are freed from everyday worries and seem to be able regain themselves in the greatness of the nature… The present Head of Institute is Venerable Thích Thanh Từ