Vietnamese Zen (Buddhism)
History and Leadership.The first Linh-Son Buddhist Temple in the Austin area was established in the neighboring town of Leander in 1984. As the Austin Vietnamese community grew, a second temple was added in 1998. The new temple, although smaller, is more conveniently located and provides the local community with a resident monk. Today, the Vietnamese Buddhist community of Austin utilizes both temples. The Leander temple has more spacious facillities and is suitable for holidays and celebrations. The Austin temple is smaller but offers a convenient weekly meeting place. The temple also provides a meeting place for the Linh-Son Buddhist Youth Association which works to maintain Vietnamese culture in America. Venerable Thich Tri-Hue, the head monk, often travels back and forth between the two Austin-area temples and Houston as needed to conduct ceremonies or to be present at holidays. Thich Hue-Minh (Vice-Abbot) has lived at the Austin temple for about three years. He came to the US on a dangerous ocean voyage from Vietnam. He arrived safely in America and was later ordained in Houston. When asked what he thinks of living in Austin he replied, "I would be happy anywhere where I was able to practice Buddhism and to help people."
Activities and ScheduleMembers of the community are free to speak with or visit the temple’s resident monk at any time. Thich Hue Minh agreed that his role is often similar to that of a counselor. In return, the community is responsible for supporting the resident monk. A meditation course typically meets on the third Sunday of the month. There is also a Buddhist studies course facilitated by Thich Tri-Hue and Thich Hue-Minh (Vice-Abbot). The Linh-Son Buddhist Youth Association meets every Sunday. Typically, there is a chanting service from 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. followed by classes in Vietnamese language, Buddhism, and culture until 11:55 a.m. There are six levels of study in the Linh-Son Buddhist Youth Association. Graduates often go on to teach.
DemographicsThe community is predominantly Vietnamese, however, the temple is often visited by Chinese, Thais, Cambodians, Sri Lankans, Indians, and Westerners. Chanting services are conducted in Vietnamese. There are 3000-5000 Vietnamese Buddhists in Austin. There are about 30-40 students in the Vietnamese language and culture classes each week.
DescriptionThe Austin Linh-Son Temple was originally a private residence. Today, the property features a prayer hall as well as living quarters for a resident monk and a small garden. A small multi-purpose room can be used as a meeting space, a classroom, or a dining area. All funds to purchase and convert the property were raised by the Austin Vietnamese community. Construction will soon begin for a large school behind the temple to facilitate larger classes in Vietnamese language and culture as well as Buddhist studies.
Center ActivitiesMajor holidays at the Linh-Son temple include Trung Thu, a mid-autumn moon festival, Vu-Lan, a day honoring mothers that is similar to Mother’s day in America, Tet, the Vietnamese New Year (a.k.a. Lunar New Year), and the Buddha’s Birthday. Larger celebrations usually are held at the Leander temple which has more space to accommodate more people. The Linh-Son Buddhist Youth Association is very active and enjoys events such as cookouts and camping trips. The activities of this group are organized very much like Boy/Girl Scouts.
Date Center Founded
3000-5000 in extended community
Affiliation with Other Communities/Organizations
The Linh-Son Buddhist Temples at Austin and Leander are affiliated with the International Linh-Son Buddhist Association headquartered in Joinville-le-pont (near Paris), France. In Texas, there are four Linh-Son Buddhist Temples.