Dedication to The Most Venerable H.T. Thích Thiên Ân
This temple and all works done here
are respectfully dedicated to
The Most Venerable H.T. Thích Thiên Ân
The Most Venerable H.T. Thích Thiên Ân was the first Patriarch of Vietnamese Buddhism in America and founded the first two Vietnamese temples in the United States, the International Buddhist Meditation Society and the College of Oriental Studies. He was born in Hue, Vietnam in 1926 and at the age of 13 entered a Buddhist monastery becoming a fully ordained Bhiksu at age 20. He continued his Buddhist studies which culminated in a Ph.D. in the Literature of Oriental Studies received from a Japanese University in 1962. Returning to Vietnam in 1962, he became a co-founder of the Van Hanh University in Saigon. In 1966, he travelled to the United States to become a Visiting Professor of Languages and Philosophy at UCLA. His intention was to only visit for a year but he never returned to Vietnam. After discovering that he was not only a renowned scholar, but a Zen Buddhist monk, as well, his students convinced him to teach Zen meditation and to start a Buddhist study group on the UCLA campus.
A few years later, his enthusiastic students encouraged Thích Thiên-Ân to apply for permanent residence and open a meditation center that included a place for practitioners to live and study Zen Buddhism. In 1970, he founded the International Buddhist Meditation Center in the Koreatown section of Los Angeles, California.
Once established, Thích Thiên-Ân taught the traditions of Zen Buddhism at his center. In addition, he taught Eastern Philosophy and Asian Studies at Los Angeles City College. He retired from teaching at the college when he was diagnosed with liver cancer in 1979. He continued teaching at his center until he died in 1980 at the age of 54, succumbing to the effects of the liver cancer.
“We all shed salty tears and shed red blood. All is one.” – Thích Thiên Ân
He was equally empty of self, leading grand ceremonies, working in his garden on a daily basis, sweeping the walk or leading meditation in the Zendo. Roshi remembers him “as the most normal human being I have ever met.” Bhante Suhita says, “His greatness came from his selflessness and love for all beings.” He left behind 2 wonderful books: Zen Philosophy, Zen Practice (ISBN 0-913546-33-X);and Buddhism and Zen in Vietnam copyright 1975 (ISBN 0-8048-1144-X).
The International Buddhist Meditation Center he founded continues to thrive.
Thích ThiênHe passed away in 1980 after too short a life. He is still deeply missed by those whose lives he touched.
His most senior living student is H.T. Thich An Giao whose temple is the Desert Zen Center.
HT Thich Thien An, Seung Sahn DJSN, Taizan Maezumi Roshi
Ven. Dr. Thich Thien An, Ven. Ananda, Ven. Seung Sahn,
Ven. Taizan Maezumi, Ven. Kozan