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THE HISTORY of Vietnamese Buddhism spreads over the eighteen centuries since Buddhism was introduced into Vietnam through two ways: by sea from India and by road from China. At first, Buddhism came into the country along with the Chinese and Indian merchants. However, Buddhist works dating from the the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries recorded the presence of foreign monks in Giao Chau (present-day North Vietnam) from as early as the second century
A.D. Giao Chau was then the rest station for Buddhist missionaries traveling by sea between India and China and vica versa.
From the second century
A.D. to the tenth century two popular sects among the population of Giao Chau were the A-Ham (Agama) and the Thien (Dhyana). Gradually the Thien sect became dominant and later gave rise to other native sects and subsects.
In the history of Vietnamese Buddhism, Thien (in Sanskrit, Dhyana; Chinese, Ch'an; and Japanese, Zen) is by far the most important sect. The practice of Thien is by no means easy. It requires a profound and powerful inner life, long and persistent training, and a strong, firm will.
The attitude of Thien toward the search for truth and its view of the problem of livivg in this world are extremely liberal. Thien does not recognize any dogma or belief that would hold back man's progress in acquiring knowledge or in his daily life. Thien differs from orthodox religions in that it is not conditioned by any set of beliefs. In other words, Thien is an attitude or a method for arriving at knowledge and action. For Thien the techniques of right eating and drinking, of right breathing and right concentration and meditation, are far more vital than mere beliefs. A person who practices Zen meditation does not have to rely on beliefs in hell, nirvana, rebirth, or causality; he has only to rely on the reality of his body, his psychology, biology, and his own past experiences or the instructions of Zen Masters who have preceded him. His aim is to attain, to penetrate, to see; once he has attained satori (insight) his action will conform by itself to reality." ~Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnam: Lotus In A Sea Of Fire, pub.1967, (pgs.4 & 5.)

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"Zen advocates a morality practised on the higher level and not the ego-centered level,
where morality is generally backed by an impure motive of one sort or another."
~Suzuki, What Is Zen?, (pg.42.)