Zen Master Thich Dieu Thien
Born in Vietnam, from early childhood Zen Master Thich Dieu Thien already had deep questions and doubt about the constant changes in life and the suffering of birth and death. And at the same time, she also knew that there is a world where there is no suffering, no birth and death, only Awakened happiness and full liberation. However, she did not know how to go back and live in that world. Her persistent questions about life were the powerful motivation to help her constantly seek answers.
At the age of 11, she had a chance to read about the life of the Buddha and know that the Buddha Awakened and attained full liberation from the cycle of birth and death. This strong evidence gave her more trust and strength to ordain in search of Awake.
By the age of 18, having just graduated from high school and with the constant search for the way to return to Awake world always weighing heavily in the heart, Zen Master ordained with the hope of finding an Awake teacher. She then attended a Buddhist University at Hoa Nghiem Monastery. For over 5 years, she diligently practiced day and night, learning many sutras, mastering the teachings of Buddhism, and attaining great achievements. Although she studied Buddhist doctrine, and understood and practiced many methodologies, she was still no closer to answering her questions.
At 23 years of age, a few months after graduating from the Buddhist university, Zen Master Thich Dieu Thien immigrated to the United States with her family and settled in Houston. Encouraged and supported by many senior Monastics, she attended Western Michigan University for undergraduate studies and a Masters program in comparative religion and holistic health, with the hope to find Awake. At the end of 2000, she graduated with a Master's Degree, but she still could not find the answer to her deep questions. She suffered deeply knowing she had a home but could not return to that home. Finally, Zen Master decided to give up everything, despite many people trying to stop her and the unforeseen dangers awaiting, to travel around the world in search of her answer and vowed not to return if not Awakened, liberated from the suffering of human life.
At the age of 30, with a small bag, a few changes of clothes, and some money, Zen Master traveled around the world, accepting whatever conditions appeared for eating, sleeping, and living, stopping in many countries with a strong root in Buddist traditions; her only hope was to meet an Awake teacher to soon return "home".
After many weeks of exhaustive travel, she arrived at a meditation center in Thailand, open, willing and very hopeful. But it became clear that those teachings were not at all what she was looking for, creating a huge conflict within her. Zen Master finally made a vow to face herself. In the end, hitting rock bottom of her inner search for True Self, like an explosion, the system of illusions shattered, Awake appeared, the questions that made her suffer deeply for a long time were answered. She fully realized Awake, breaking the cycle of birth and death, deeply immersing into and living with Awake Mind every moment.
At that moment, Zen Master saw that everyone has the capacity to Wake Up, but because they believe themselves so much and are addicted to their ego, they are lost in that. They keep spinning in the darkness of ignorance, cannot see the truth, the nature of it, and therefore cannot return to Awake Mind. Zen Master Thich Dieu Thien made “the great vow” to step into this world to help all beings discover, return, and become one with Awake Mind within themselves.