It even has elements of Theravada and Taoism.Thiền draws its texts and practices mainly from the Chinese Chan tradition as well as other schools of Chinese Buddhism. According to Thích Thiên-Ân:
most Buddhist monks and laymen in Vietnam traditionally obey the disciplines of Hinayana, recite mantra, learn mudra, practice meditation, and chant the Buddha's name (V. niệm Phật, Ch. Nien-fo, J. Nembutsu) without any conflict between the practices. We may say, in short, that Buddhism in Vietnam is synthetic and unified rather than divided and sectarian. At present the popular method of practice is meditation during recitation and recitation during meditation - meditation and recitation being one and the same for Vietnamese Buddhists.
This practice is known as the "union of Zen and Pure-Land recitation". The chanting of sutras, such as the Lotus sutra, the Vimalakirti, Surangama Samadhi and Mahaparinirvana sutra is also a very widespread practice, as in all schools of Zen.
Due to the presence of Theravada Buddhism in Vietnam, Thiên has also been influenced by Theravada practices. The intra-religious dialogue between Vietnamese Theravada and Mahayana following the formation of the Unified Buddhist Church also led to a more inclusive attitude in the Vietnamese Buddhist community. An example is the widely influential figure of Thích Nhất Hạnh (b. 1926), who, as John Chapman notes, though being part of the Lam Te school, also included Theravada as part of his studies. Thích Nhất Hạnh has also written commentaries on the Theravada Satipatthana sutta and the Anapanasati sutta. According to Chapman, He sought to ‘promote the idea of a humanistic, unified Buddhism.’ He founded the Order of Interbeing as a new modernist and humanistic form of Vietnamese Zen.
McHale also notes that Vietnamese Buddhist practice has always been inclusive and accepting of popular beliefs and practices, including folk religion, Taoism and Confucianism.
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Thiền Buddhism has a Buddhayana flair to it, very eclectic, which is something I like.
Yes! So for example the sutta text cited in "Miracle of Mindfulness" is the Anapannasati Sutta, even though elsewhere Thich Nhat Hanh uses the sutra from the Chinese Canon. In the daily rounds Thein monks might be very influenced by their Theravada neighbors. And yet the main theme of the teachings is to downplay "emptiness" teachings and emphasize "inter-being" which is a modern interpretation of the world-view of the Hua-Yen school. And apparently the laity was very much involved in Pure Land, but I never looked deeply into that aspect. It used to be said that Thein was much like Soto, but i think it's more like Ch'an but includes all the other emphases common to Buddhism in China. While TNH is known as an innovator, maybe too much credit is given as 1000 years of Buddhism in Vietnam has developed very much within it's own culture. One of my teachers here who is Viet teaches Qigong, yes I can see that Taoism and Confucianism have an influence, i think Confucianism was the official "religion" for the centuries preceeding the current era.
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