Patriarch Tue Bich Pho Giac is a Zen Master of highly moral virtue. His Dharma name is Truc Lam Mahasamon Tue Bich Pho Giac. He was one of the descendants of the first three Patriarchs of Truc Lam (Bamboo Forest) Zen sect. Nearly 300 years after the Patriarch passed away, as a predestined union, Venerable Thich Truc Thai Minh, who is also a disciple of Truc Lam Zen sect, has come back to this place to uphold the mission of propagating Buddhism and continue to develop the Truc Lam Zen sect. Each year on the 23rd day of the eighth lunar month, Ba Vang Pagoda holds a commemoration ceremony to express the deep gratitude to the Patriarch.
A Brief Introduction about Patriarch Tue Bich Pho Giac
The Patriarch was born on the 6th day of the first month in Year of the Dog (1658). For a hundred years living in this secular world, the Patriarch witnessed so many ups and downs of historical events. Vietnam experienced a dark period from the time of Le dynasty to Trinh dynasty. In that time of political and social upheavals, the Truc Lam Zen sect had been lost for nearly 300 years. The presence of the Patriarch was a light illuminating in the darkness. He had determined that a true Buddhist had to renounce the world, so He left Yen Tu Mountain to Thanh Dang Mountain, where the convergence of heaven and earth exists with the protection of dragons and tigers. This place was also far from the citizens and, therefore, suitable for building a small temple and practising the Dharma.
The Patriarch’s Difficult Path to Enlightenment
To walk the path to enlightenment, which was His ideal, the Patriarch crossed streams and climbed up mountains by himself to go Thanh Dang Mountain when he was over 40 years old. In the forest of Ba Vang, He lived primarily on wild plants and drank water from the Godly Well; however, He was still in very good health and had a strong physique.
The fact that even among deserted mountains, a small temple and a Buddhist Monk full of compassion suddenly appeared, who day and night quietly practised the meritorious Dharma, was spread throughout everywhere. He taught the Dharma to the locals and instructed them on how to cure diseases and how to prepare the medicine.
Therefore, local people honored him as the monk who saved mankind and protected the world. Nearly 100 Zen Buddhist Monks had grown from here, then they spread out to other regions of the country with the purpose of disseminating Buddha Dharma. He had upheld and brought back the Truc Lam Zen sect to life. On the 23th day of the eighth month in Year of the Ox, the Patriarch passed away calmly into Nirvana at the age of 100.
It is just like a coincidence that 300 years after the Patriarch’s Nirvana, Venerable Thich Truc Thai Minh—a disciple of Truc Lam Zen sect—came here and continued the mission of fortifying the Truc Lam Zen sect. He has practised here in Thanh Dang Mountain and built a great practice centre for Monks, Nuns and Buddhists—Ba Vang Pagoda.
Each year, the monastic and lay community at Ba Vang Pagoda organise a commemoration ceremony on the 23rd day of the eighth lunar month to commemorate the great merit of the Patriarch and express the deep gratitude to Him. He had sacrificed Himself for the Dharma and the nation and devoted His whole life to the happiness of others. He is a virtuous example for future generations to follow, who spared no effort to attain enlightenment regardless of any fatal peril.