Thích Thiên-Ân

Last updated
Thiên Ân
Ven. Dr. Thich Thien-An.jpg
Ven. Dr. Thich Thien-An
Religion Buddhism
School Vietnamese Zen
Nationality Vietnamese
Born 1926
Died 1980 (aged 5354)
Senior posting
Title Thich
Religious career
Students Karuna Dharma

Thích Thiên-Ân (釋天恩) (September 1926 - November 1980) was a teacher and Buddhist monk of Vietnamese Thiền (Zen) Buddhism and was active in the United States from 1966 to 1980. [1] He was ordained at Chua Chau Lam in Hue, Vietnam.

Bhikkhu male Buddhist monk

A bhikkhu is an ordained male monastic ("monk") in Buddhism. Male and female monastics are members of the Buddhist community.

Vietnamese Thiền

Thiền Buddhism is the Vietnamese name for the Zen school of Buddhism. Thiền is derived from Chinese Chán (禪), which is in turn derived from the Pali term jhāna.

Zen school of Mahayana Buddhism

Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that originated in China during the Tang dynasty as the Chan school (Chánzong) of Chinese Buddhism and later developed into various schools. Chán Buddhism was also influenced by Taoist philosophy, especially Neo-Daoist thought. From China, Chán spread south to Vietnam and became Vietnamese Thiền, northeast to Korea to become Seon Buddhism, and east to Japan, becoming Japanese Zen.


Thích Thiên-Ân came to the United States from Vietnam in the summer of 1966 as an exchange professor. He taught philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles. 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.

University of California, Los Angeles Public research university in Los Angeles, California

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public research university in Los Angeles. It became the Southern Branch of the University of California in 1919, making it the second-oldest undergraduate campus of the 10-campus University of California system. It offers 337 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. UCLA enrolls about 31,000 undergraduate and 13,000 graduate students and had 119,000 applicants for Fall 2016, including transfer applicants, making the school the most applied-to of any American university.

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 . [2]

Koreatown neighbourhood in some cities with higher ethnic Korean population

A Koreatown, also known as a Little Korea or Little Seoul, is a Korean-dominated ethnic enclave within a city or metropolitan area outside the Korean Peninsula.

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.

Los Angeles City College public community college in Los Angeles

Los Angeles City College (LACC) is a public community college in East Hollywood, Los Angeles. A part of the Los Angeles Community College District, it is located on Vermont Avenue south of Santa Monica Boulevard on the former campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Liver cancer gastrointestinal system cancer, located in the liver

Liver cancer, also known as hepatic cancer and primary hepatic cancer, is cancer that starts in the liver. Cancer which has spread from elsewhere to the liver, known as liver metastasis, is more common than that which starts in the liver. Symptoms of liver cancer may include a lump or pain in the right side below the rib cage, swelling of the abdomen, yellowish skin, easy bruising, weight loss, and weakness.

The International Buddhist Meditation Center he founded continues to thrive.

Thích Thiên-Ân authored the following books: Zen Philosophy, Zen Practice (ISBN   0-913546-33-X);and Buddhism and Zen in Vietnam copyright 1975 (ISBN   0-8048-1144-X).

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.


Related Research Articles

Thích Nhất Hạnh Religious leader and peace activist

Thích Nhất Hạnh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, founder of the Plum Village Tradition.

Engaged Buddhism refers to Buddhists who are seeking ways to apply the insights from meditation practice and dharma teachings to situations of social, political, environmental and economic suffering and injustice. Finding its roots in Vietnam through the Zen Buddhist teacher Thích Nhất Hạnh, Engaged Buddhism has grown in popularity in the West.

Buddhism in the United States

Buddhism, once thought of as a mysterious religion from the East, has now become very popular in the West, and is one of the largest religions in the United States. As Buddhism does not require any formal "conversion", American Buddhists can easily incorporate dharma practice into their normal routines and traditions. The result is that American Buddhists come from every ethnicity, nationality and religious tradition. In 2012, U-T San Diego estimated U.S. practitioners at 1.2 million people, of whom 40% are living in Southern California. In terms of percentage, Hawaii has the most Buddhists at 8% of the population due to its large Asian American community.

Buddhism in Vietnam, as practised by the ethnic Vietnamese, is mainly of the Mahayana tradition. Buddhism may have first come to Vietnam as early as the 3rd or 2nd century BCE from the Indian subcontinent or from China in the 1st or 2nd century CE. Vietnamese Buddhism has had a syncretic relationship with certain elements of Taoism, Chinese spirituality and the Vietnamese folk religion.

The Order of Interbeing is an international Buddhist community of monks, nuns and laypeople in the Plum Village Tradition founded between 1964 and 1966 by Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh.

Steve Hagen American writer

Stephen Tokan "Steve" Hagen, Rōshi, is the founder and head teacher of the Dharma Field Zen Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a Dharma heir of Dainin Katagiri-roshi. Additionally, he is the author of several books on Buddhism. Among them as of 2003, Buddhism Plain & Simple was one of the top five bestselling Buddhism books in the United States. In 2012, Hagen updated and revised How the World Can Be the Way It Is and published it as Why the World Doesn't Seem to Make Sense—an Inquiry into Science, Philosophy, and Perception.

Thích Nhật Từ Vietnamese philosopher

Ven. Thich Nhat Tu or Thích Nhật Từ in Vietnamese is a Vietnamese Buddhist reformer, an author, a poet, a psychological consultant, and an active social activist in Vietnam. He is committed to propagate Buddha's teachings through education, cultural activities and charitable programs in order to benefit the individuals and the society at large.

Báo Quốc Pagoda is a Buddhist temple in the historic city of Huế in central Vietnam. It was one of the three national pagodas of the city during the time of the Nguyễn Dynasty.

Trúc Lâm Temple

Trúc Lâm Temple is a Zen Buddhist temple outside the resort town of Da Lat, in Vietnam.

Vạn Hạnh Zen Temple

Vạn Hạnh Zen Temple is a Zen Buddhist temple in Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam. The temple is located at 716 Nguyễn Kiệm Street on the road between Go Vap and Phu Nhuan districts. It is the location of the main Buddhist training centre for sangha in Vietnam, and is also the office of the Vietnamese Buddhist Research Institute.

Bửu Phong Temple is a historic 17th century Buddhist temple in Đồng Nai Province in southern Vietnam, north of Ho Chi Minh City.

Thích Thanh Từ Vietnamese Zen master

Thích Thanh Từ is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk. He has been most influential of increasing traditional Vietnamese Buddhism practices in Vietnam.

Tuệ Trung Thượng Sĩ (慧中上士) (1230–1291) was an influential Buddhist monk and skilled poet of the Thiền (Zen) tradition during the Tran Dynasty in Vietnam. Tue Trung authored treatises on Pure Land and Thien teachings.

Zen was introduced in the United States at the end of the 19th century by Japanese teachers who went to America to serve groups of Japanese immigrants and become acquainted with the American culture. After World War II, interest from non-Asian Americans grew rapidly. This resulted in the commencement of an indigenous American Zen tradition which also influences the larger western (Zen) world.

Trúc Lâm Yên Tử (竹林安子), or simply Trúc Lâm, is a Vietnamese Thiền sect. It is the only native school of Buddhism in Vietnam. The school was founded by Emperor Trần Nhân Tông (1258–1308) showing influence from Confucian and Taoist philosophy. Trúc Lâm's prestige later waned as Confucianism became dominant in the royal court.

Thông Biện (通辯) born Trí Không (d.1134) was a Vietnamese Buddhist historian and zen master whose recorded statements are the earliest written source for the history of Buddhism in Vietnam. He was a student of Viên Chiếu (圓照). He is mentioned in Lives of Eminent Zen Monks (vi) :

Early on, when the Buddha Dharma came to the lower Yangzi region and still had not been established, yet in Luy Lau [in central Jiaozhi] more than twenty precious temples were built, more than five hundred monks were ordained, and fifteen volumes of scriptures were translated from Sanskrit into Chinese. Because of this earlier connection,there already were monks and nuns like Mo Luo Qi Yu, Kang Senghui, Zhi Jiang Liang, and Mou Bo there." Eminent Monks of the Thien Community (1337) text adapted by Dutton (1997) from Nguyễn Tử Cương

Wu Yantong was a Chinese Buddhist monk influential in the propagation of Buddhism in Vietnam.

Karuna Dharma, known also in Vietnamese as Thich Nu An Tu (1940–2014) was an American Buddhist scholar and nun. She was the first American-born woman to become a fully ordained Buddhist nun. She was the Abbess of the International Buddhist Meditation Center of Los Angeles.


  1. "Buddhism and Zen in Vietnam" by Dr. Thich Thien-An, 1975, Charles E. Tuttle Co., Rutland, VT USA and Tokyo, Japan. ISBN   0-8048-1144-X.
  2. "Buddhism and Zen in Vietnam" by Dr. Thich Thien-An, 1975, Charles E. Tuttle Co., Rutland, VT USA and Tokyo, Japan. ISBN   0-8048-1144-X.