Thích Như Tịnh Biography
The Most Venerable Elder Master Thích Như Tịnh, whose worldly name is Nguyễn Lang, Dharma name is Thanh Tràng, Dharma character is Thành Thọ, Dharma Title is Như Tịnh, was born in the Year of the Cat – 1926 in Phu Khanh Trung hamlet, Diên Thạnh Commune, Dien Khanh District, Khanh Hòa Province in a family with Buddhist tradition. His father is Mr. Nguyễn Lợi, whose Dharma name is Thanh Ich and his mother is Mrs. Trương Thị Ty, whose Dharma name is Trừng Xí.
In his family, there are six children: three sons and three daughters. In his family, his first elder brother Nguyễn San had a good opportunity to follow the Buddha and become a Buddhist Monk, whose Dharma name is Trừng San, Dharma Title is Hải Tuệ (1922-1991),
a contemporarily famed Monk, being in charge of the Central Buddhist Institute of Hải Đức, Nha Trang City, Khánh Hòa Province before and after 1975. The third person in the family also had a good chance to follow the Buddha and a Buddhist Monk, whose Dharma Title is Thích Như Tịnh.
Time of Renunciation, Cultivation, and Learning of the Most Venerable Thích Như Tịnh
At the age of 8 – 1935, little boy Nguyễn Lang, leaving home for monastic life to become a young baby monk, a disciple of the Most Venerable Thero Thích Chánh Ký, learned and practiced the Buddhadharma at Khanh Long Root Temple, Diên Khánh District, Khánh Hòa Province under the guidance of the Most Venerable Thero Thích Phổ Hiện, Patriarch of founding Khánh Long Temple in Dien Khanh District and the Most Venerable Thero Thích Chánh Ký during 9 years 1935-1947.
At 17 years old, in 1944, young Monk Nguyễn Lang finished studying the second grade in the French period, about the eleventh grade now. At 12 years old, in 1939, he was ordained as a novice monk. At 20 years old, 1947, he was ordained as a Bhiksu at Khánh Long Root Temple in Diên Khánh District transmitted the Dharma precepts by the Most Venerable Master Thích Chánh Ký. From 20 years old to 80 years old, 1947-2007, Venerable Thích Như Tịnh was the Abbot of Linh Nghĩa Temple in Diên Thạnh Commune, Diên Khánh District, Khánh Hòa Province.
1950-1953, for a period of three years, Venerable Như Tịnh learned and practiced the Buddhadharma at Ứng Quang Temple in Sai Gon City under the guidance of the Most Venerable Master Thích Thiện Hoa and Master Thích Thiện Hòa. 1954-1956, for a period of two years, he learned and practiced the Buddhadharma at Khánh Hưng Temple in Sài Gòn City under the guidance of the Most Venerable Master Pháp lang.
Time of cultivation, learning, Dharma Propagation, and talented Monks Trainings
In 1957, Venerable Như Tịnh, who came back to Linh Nghia Temple, held two Summer Retreats at the Linh Nghĩa Temple in 1957 and 1959 under the guidance of the Elder Sangha and the presence of the Most Venerable Master Thich Hưng Từ, Master Thích Chánh Ký, and Master Thich Vĩnh Thọ. In 1976, Senior Venerable Thích Như Tịnh was selected as the Head of Ritual Board of Diên Khánh District. In 2002, Senior Venerable Như Tịnh was selected as the Deputy Head of ritual Board of Khánh Hòa Province.
From 1976 until now, learning according to educational conduct and vow of the Patriarchs, taking care of propagating the Dharma and nurturing disciples, the Most Venerable Master Thích Như Tịnh thinks that in order to be able to repay the Buddha’s gratitude, only the careers of educating and training the virtuous and talented people are very practical works for those who have enough conditions to leave home for Buddhist life to study Buddhism, practice the Dharma, and to become Monks/Nuns with the potentials to inherit the Dharma house in the present as well as in the future right here in this world.
The Most Venerable Master taught hundreds of lay disciples and many monastic disciples, such as Thích Trừng Tường, Thích Trừng Sỹ, Thích Trừng Hòa Thích Tâm Lực, Thích Tâm Cang, Thích Tâm Tín, etc. Among disciples of the Most Venerable Master, there are some people learning bachelor syllabus of Buddhist Studies, there are some people who graduated Bachelor of Buddhist Studies at home, and there are some people who graduated Master of Arts, Master of Philosophy, and Doctor of Philosophy in Buddhist Studies in India, the holy land – the origin of Buddhism, where the World-Honored One was born in the world nearly three years ago.
Following the rule of impermanence, the Most Venerable Master renounced his physical body gently, passed away at Linh Nghĩa Temple, Diên Thạnh Commune, Diên Khánh District, Khánh Hòa Province, Vietnam at 12:00 p.m. on the First Day of Lunar January of the Snake Year, that is, February 2, 2013, at the secular age of 87 and at the Dharma age of 66.
Before the time of his death, the Most Venerable Master had gathered his disciples and arranged for his greatest disciple, Senior Venerable Thích Trừng Tường, to directly take care and be in charge of the Linh Nghĩa Root Temple since then until now well. After everything was clear, the Most Venerable Master gave up his gentle and peaceful physical body.
Senior Venerable Thích Trừng Tường being now in charge of Linh Nghĩa Temple
The Most Venerable Master is a simply great Monk, whose life of cultivation, Dharma learning, and practice is a good example for his disciples to follow. We really respect a likable and loved Master, whose whole life is for the cause of educating and training virtuous and talented Monks/Nuns.
We would like to light the heart of incense, pray for the Most Venerable Thero Thích Như Tịnh, born up to the Buddha’s land, returns to this world, helps beings, and becomes enlightened together.
The old slippers of the entrance still manifest
Although the flower falls, its fragrance still pervades.
Namo Amitabha Buddha.
Compiled and written by the Sangha of Linh Nghĩa Temple.