Altered Space for a New Zen in Vietnam
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/11811
First published (peer reviewed)
DORISEA working paper; 3
Twentieth century events, with the Buddhist Revival (in response to colonialism), the war (and subsequent dispersal of the Vietnamese overseas), and Communist challenges, have brought about a renewed interest in Zen Buddhism in the twenty-first century. The southern Vietnamese monk, Thích Thanh Từ, has drawn on potent historical signifiers of Trần Nhân Tông and the only Vietnamese Zen lineage (Trúc Lâm) to create a new kind of Zen while simultaneously claiming identity with a nationalistic symbol from the past. In 1997 a local pagoda was taken over by Thích Thanh Từ's organisation and Zen missionaries from southern Vietnam have turned it into a major Zen centre on the outskirts of Hanoi. This paper will explore how they have created and transformed the northern Buddhist space into something entirely new, reflecting more Modernist/Western/Global visions of Buddhism than local Vietnamese Buddhist understandings.