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Quang Chieu Zen Monastery: An Introductory Note

Zen Master Thich Thanh Tu

Quang Chieu (in English: Shining Sunlight) Zen Monastery was established by a group of North Texas Vietnamese Zen Buddhists who are followers of the Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Thanh Tu. The Master, whose home Monastery is Truc Lam in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, is a writer and poet who is internationally known among religious scholars, particularly for his efforts to rejuvenate Vietnamese Zen. He is also the spiritual leader of many thousands of Zen practitioners in the United States and around the world. After reading books written by Master Thich Thanh Tu and listening to his dharma lectures on audio cassettes, with the desire to learn more about Buddhism, to practice meditation, and to spread the Master's teachings about Vietnamese Zen throughout the world, his followers, who are living in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, committed to building a house of dharma somewhere in North Texas.

As Buddhist practitioners, their intention was not only to practice Buddhism for themselves, but also create the opportunity for all people, particularly Westerners, to participate in this meditation-focused path to achieve a peaceful mind in the present, and be liberated from birth and death in the future. With boundless compassion, these Zen Buddhists, most of whom natives of Vietnam, overcame many early obstacles to lay the foundation for Vietnamese Zen in North Texas.

In 2000, this small group of devotees used their own money to purchase 10 acres of hilltop land on Rendon Road near Fort Worth. The acreage is liberally dotted with large and small oak trees creating a naturally quiet and peaceful environment. An old building on the property was immediately converted into a sanctuary hall for daily dharma study and other Buddhist activities.

Inspired by their efforts, Master Thich Thanh Tu decided to travel from his home monastery in Vietnam to visit North Texas. On October 15, 2000, the Monastery was inaugurated in the presence of the Master, who officially named the hilltop land “Quang Chieu Zen Monastery”. Quang Chieu became the first Zen monastery Master Thich Thanh Tu authorized to be built in the United States.

Venerable Bikkhuni Thich Nu Hanh Dieu

In his inauguration speech, the Master said that he would like to see nuns and laity achieve the goals set forth by the Sakyamuni Buddha: Enlightenment and Self-emancipation by practicing his teachings and to spread Buddhism throughout the world. To help his followers pursue these goals, the Master dispatched Abbess Thich Nu Hanh Dieu, one of the leading nuns from Truc Lam Monastery in Vietnam to oversee the new North Texas Zen community.

In the years since the inauguration, Quang Chieu Zen Monastery has undergone tremendous improvements through the commitment, devotion, compassion, and wide support of many Buddhists both locally and worldwide. The main feature is a magnificent, 4000-square-foot meditation hall erected with voluntary labor in less than a year. On Dec. 14, 2003, community leaders, Buddhist devotees, and many monks and nuns from around the world attended the main hall’s grand opening. The Monastery now also has rooms for out-of-town disciples who wish to study Buddhism, a Vietnamese classroom for children, a guest lounge, a kitchen and dining room, an exhibition/distribution room and a storage room.

Today, drivers along Rendon Road look up to see the yellow of the main hall mixing with the green leaves of the surrounding trees to create a scene of great tranquillity on the hilltop. Visitors approach the Monastery by driving up a concrete driveway lined with pine and cypress trees on both sides, allowing for year-round greenery. These evergreens symbolize the ever-present Buddha-nature within all sentient beings.
Elsewhere on the grounds, two matching lion statues guard the 33 marble steps ascending to the Sanctuary Hall. To the right of the Main Hall is the Patriarch Bodhidharma garden, where a stream flows downhill through large rocks and winds through beautiful trees, plants and flowers. The babbling sounds of streaming water are like the music of nature, relaxing the mind and enhancing the lively, poetic scenery. The Avalokitesvara Boddhisattva garden sits below the Sanctuary to the left; its lovely garden is a harmonious mixture of rocks, water, trees, and flowering plants.

The Master's pure heart and unbounded compassion toward all sentient beings have galvanized the Buddhist community to collaborate with the Nuns to further improve and support the Monastery. Today, Quang Chieu Zen Monastery has become a haven not only for Vietnamese Buddhists, but for all people who would like to practice Buddhist Zen under the guidance of the Master Thich Thanh Tu.

5251 Rendon Road
Fort Worth, TX 76140
Tel: (817) 483-8670
E-mail: quangchieuzen@yahoo.com

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