Zen tourism takes shape in Vietnam

Published: 12/05/2011 05:00



VietNamNet Bridge
– With a 2,500-year Buddhist history and over 10 million Buddhist followers at
present and a hundred of pagodas, Vietnam can become an attractive
destination for Zen tourism.

Zen is a school
of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Zen
emphasizes experiential Wisdom in the attainment of enlightenment. As such, it
de-emphasizes theoretical knowledge in favor of direct self-realization through
meditation and dharma practice. The teachings of Zen include various sources of
Mahāyāna thought, including the Prajñāpāramitā literature and the teachings of
the Yogācāra and Tathāgatagarbha schools.

The emergence of Zen as a distinct school
of Buddhism was first documented in China
in the 7th century CE. From China,
Zen spread south to Vietnam
very early, around 580. It developed strongly under the Ly – Tran and Trinh –
Nguyen dynasties. As a result, Vietnamese culture and lifestyle has been
influenced by Zen philosophy.

Zen tourism has been developed in Vietnam with tours to
pagodas and pagoda festivals, which enable tourists to visit Buddhist
architectural works, observe and participate in activities of Buddhist priests,
enjoy and admire characteristics of Zen arts like flower arrangement, tea
ceremony, bonsai and vegetarian cooking.

There are around 120 pagodas available for Zentourism in
Vietnam, including popular names such as Dau in northern Bac Ninh Province; Ba
Da and Tran Quoc in Hanoi; Truc Lam Tay Thien in northern Vinh Phuc Province;
Tu Dam, Thien Mu and Tu Hieu in central Thua Thien-Hue city Province; and Tu An,
Giac Lam and Giac Vien in Ho Chi Minh City.


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