Truc Lam Zen Monastery is a monastery belonging to Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen Sect. The monastery is located 5km from Dalat City center, on Phung Hoang Mountain, above Tuyen Lam Lake. This is the largest Zen Monastery in Vietnam and this is also the domestic and foreign tourist attraction.
Truc Lam Zen Monastery was started building 1993 and completed 1994. The work was designed by two architects: Vu Xuan Hung, and Tran Duc Loc, with important idea contribution from the famous architect Ngo Viet Thu who designed the works such as Independence Palace, Dalat Market, Phu Cam Church. Having the original idea, selecting the site and planning generally was by Super Buddhist Monk Thich Thanh Tu.
Truc Lam Zen Monastery is a beautiful structure located next to Tuyen Lam Lake. From Tuyen Lam Lake, visitors can go along a small path with 140 steps to cross the pine forest to the upper monastery. The first highlight of the monastery is the three-entrance arched gates. The gates are designed according to traditional style, bent roofs, red tiles, but the main material is reinforced concrete.
Truc Lam Zen Monastery is divided into two main areas: the external one and the inner one. External one includes the main hall, the bell tower, the drum tower, Ancestor House, living room, book publishing room …
The main hall has the area of 192m2. The worshipping way is simple but important. In the middle, on the altar is a 2m high Shakyamuni statue, the right-hand holding the lotus up. On the right is Bodhisattava Samantabhadra statue riding on the back of a white elephant with 6 tusks. On the left is Bodhisattava Manjushri statue riding on the back of a lion.
Behind the Main Hall is Ancestor House. The house worships Bodhidharma Ancestor, Truc Lam First Ancestor (King Tran Nhan Tong before), Phap Loa Second Ancestor, Huyen Trang Third Ancestor. This area can be visited.
Beside the Ancestor House is the living room. This room is for guests from far away so quite large and formal. Next to the living room is the book publishing room. This room has many Buddhist books, the photos of Super Monk Thich Thanh Tu and Souvenirs.
The flower garden area has many kinds of pretty flowers such as marigold, gladiolus, lily, pansy. Tinh Tam Lake (Calm Heart Lake) has many green trees surrounding, stone benches and rudimentary cottages. The lake water is clear blue in which there are many kinds of pleasure fish and pleasure tortoises.
The inner area is the place where the monks and the nuns at the monastery practice Zen. Everybody here has a desire of living with their true heart. Every day they spend much time practicing Zen. Visitors can visit the area for the monks except for the time to meditate.
Truc Lam Zen Monastery is the first Zen monastery named Truc Lam in Vietnam. From here has spread many Zen monasteries named Truc Lam such as South Truc Lam Zen Monastery, Chanh Giac Zen Monastery. Generally, the Zen Monastery has an ancient shape, but more simple and well-aired. This place has a wonderful landscape with an immense pine forest, green clear water lakes, singing bird sound on the tree branches. What an ideal place for those who want to escape the mundane.