Nov 15, 2017

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 10 Comments



Recently An Vien Television has broadcasted two consecutive shows at 20:15 on 26 and 27 November 2014 which revealed superstitious activities in Quan Yin Pure hut, Lam Dong province. This place was presided by a monk named Thich Giac Nhan. There is nothing to discuss on Thich Giac Nhan’s wrongdoings as the incident was quite clear. However, the answer of Dr Thich Nhat Tu in response to An Vien Radio has revealed many inadequacies. Being a Buddhist who is responsible for speaking out for the right understanding of the Buddha, it is compulsory for me to take a deep analysis on his statement. As the matter is an academic Buddhist aspect, I would like him to be called him a doctor.

Although I maintain the respect for Thich Nhat Tu as being a Buddhist monk, I could not approve of what he had said in the spirit of Kalama sutra. For the Buddhist philosophy that I am going to mention in this article based on Dr Thich Nhat Tu’s statements, I believe they are totally contradictory. I hope that Dr Thich Nhat Tu can receive my words objectively.

Lotus Flower Estrade in Song Nguyen Tantra House


Dear Dr. Thich Nhat Tu!

Speaking to the correspondent of An Vien, you insisted that there is no hell realm, what is the Buddhist knowledge act as base of your argument? You explained that the hell realm was not mentioned in the original Buddhist scriptures. Then I would like to quote directly from the sutra that you chose. In Abhidharma-kosa-satra, the Buddha taught that:”The first hell is Samjiv, anyone who reborn into this hell shall be chopped, stabbed, grinded and pounded. But with a breeze that rushing over will make them relive, that’s why they are called Samjiv (Revive)”. Another sutra that mentioned “each day at First hell is 3750 years of Saha world..”. In Hell chapter which belong to Digha-Nikaya also confirmed the content of hell as above (and this was posted on the official which was managed by Thich Nhat Tu and he is the abbot of that temple based at 92 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Ward 3, District 10, HCMC as well). In Samyutta Nikaya, the 48th chapter mentioned about the “red fire hell”. Many sutras of Mahayana Buddhism wrote about the hell such as Prajnaparamita sastra (includes 100 books, 90 chapters) by Nagarjuna Bodhisattva. It has also been mentioned in many Tantric Buddhism especially by Guru Padmasambhava.

Dr Thich Nhat Tu confirmed there is no existence of hell. He led a doctoral dissertation on Buddhism by Thich Thien Chau, who was presented and awarded a degree at the Sorbonne University in France in 1977 to convince the audience. Is it reasonable? Firstly, I affirmed that your argument is not consistent to evidence of authority in logic (which is the base of Buddhism). Who is Thich Thien Chau? Is he a holy monk or simply a monk? If he is not a holy monk so it is not worth taking his words as beau ideal in order to cover the view of Nagarjuna Bodhisattva and Guru Padmasambhava.

Moreover, the recognition of this thesis was made by a mundane university, not a Buddhist institute like the Sera Tibet Institute, or the Buddhadharma in Taiwan, so the basis of the accreditation is definitely unreliable. You are a Buddhist monk so you should have a full understanding that all the students, practitioners, and commentators’ statements have to be certified by the Buddhist monks and nuns, who are trustworthy in Buddhism. Then I would like to ask who had checked and approved the doctoral dissertation that you mentioned?

Therefore, it is not accidental that K.Max, a German philosopher wrote, “You must be an artistic to have the ability of appraising art”. Not to mention about Buddhism which is the highest level of all arts. From these point of reference, I think that the argument of Dr. Thich Nhat Tu was lacking dialectical basis, which can be considered neglected and careless. Are they a board of Buddhist sutras? Of course they are not because it is a mundane university. Even though it is well-known to the world, it is still not related to the spiritual field which requires internal spiritual force to be appraised.

Dear Dr. Thich Nhat Tu!

You concluded that Buddhism borrowed the image of hell and bhikkhu’s teachings for the purpose of education. So that the evil people shall decrease their bad acts because they will not ever shed tears without seeing a coffin (again I think this kind of conversation does not suit an academic level as your degree). You made such a serious mistake. The Buddhist’s wisdom is at high level more than any of 96 other religions, that is also a reason that it has been resonating abundance of skillful means (which called the Six paramitas). Moreover, the Buddhism has been driven by the four elements of popularity (four ways of leading human beings to emancipation – also called four means of integration) and the Buddhist is usually well-equipped with the five sciences of studies which help people to improve their knowledge or wisdom (including Sabdavidya (grammar and composition), Silpakarmasthana (the arts and mathematic), Cikitsa (medicine, or the learning of medicine, or the knowledge of curable diseases), hetuvidya (logic) and Adhyatmatidya (philosophy or the knowledge of the supreme spirit ot atman). Are there any reasons Buddhist monk go borrow more effective means from other religion? If you really think so, I am afraid that you had very much underestimated many benevolent predecessors. If what you were saying may be true, it is the situation of only one or a few nationalities. I couldn’t see any reason that may jump to your conclusion which cover all the Buddhist scriptures. You did take a small puzzle to decide the whole picture which definitely show how subjective your statement is. That is also a serious mistake that was shown in the sutra of forty-two sections by the Buddha.

Lotus Flower Estrade in Song Nguyen Tantra House

Dr Thich Nhat Tu afterward affirmed that the Buddhist keep believing in hell because of the effect of Earth-store Bodhisattva’s original vows which was originated from China. For that reason, it is untrustworthy. There is no reason to be dogmatic with such a statement. Though there were more than 500 apocrypha found in China (fake sutras or fabricated sutras); we cannot give the conclusion that every sutra that originated from China is not the Buddha’s teachings. What a sweeping claim that was! As a Buddhist, especially being a monk that awarded a doctor degree, you must understand that the only standard to evaluate a sutra or a page of it to see if it is the Buddha’s teachings is the seal of four dogmas (was taught in the Great Nirvana sutra). I am wondering why you are so negligent. This made me doubt the authenticity of your doctor degree and your knowledge on Five Buddhist sciences. The act of defaming the Buddhist sutras and the Buddha cannot be an appropriate attitude of a true Buddhist. Therefore, the consequence is accordingly unavoidable.

From what I have said above, there is a basis for giving a conclusion that the hell is real. The only concern is that how we understand about that realm. In the original view of Buddhism, it is considered there are five realms which are hell, ghost, animal, human and heaven. In the view of Mahayana Buddhism, there is a cluster of “six paths of reincarnation” including hell, ghost, animal, human, god and heaven. As a Buddhist, you must definitely believe in the existence of Buddha realm and the heaven, why don’t you believe in the existence of hell realm? Then what religion are you dedicate yourself to? Just let you know that the concept and definition of hell is real in any orthodox religion. The only difference is the description and their understanding of this realm depending on their spiritual level. I am wondering is it unreasonable that you keep holding Ullambana event every year in which confirmed that Moggallana visited the hell?


Dear Dr. Thich Nhat Tu!

In your statement, you denied the symptom of demonic possession for the reason that “there is only one soul in each body”. I totally objected to your idea as it does not come from any argument or evidence of authority in logic, or that of the scared books. You also did not mention your statement under any of Buddhist scriptures. To give an explanation on this, a reference on modern medicine has been cited as “multiple personality disorder”. Then I would like to reconfirm your answer was given as a mundane or a Buddhist, a normal monk or a great monk? As a Buddhist, why you gave a medical argument to explain a spiritual problem? So you had better be a doctor of psychiatrist than a doctor of Buddhism. The audience needs you to explain under the Buddhist doctrine in order to point out the mentioned issue if righteous or superstitious; rather than to refer to an area that you do not fully understand (Is it a way of showing off your knowledge? Unfortunately, it did not meet the right context at all).

Back to the question of demonic possession which was denied by your medicine reference, I would like to remind a verse in Suramgama sutra in which the Buddha lectured on 50 Mara demon states shall damage the Buddhist. There were descriptions on the demonic possession which may cause the Buddhist going berserk, at least being burst out sexual excitement. How could you deny the Buddha’s teaching? Even in our real life, there are sayings that said “Cultivation insanity” (which means demonic possession cause madness).

Dear Dr Thich Nhat Tu,

Bui Lac Binh

While giving mention about “multiple personality disorder” to reject the existence of demonic possession, I would like to ask how possibly you explain the phenomenon of the “ghost” by means of spiritism? How do you consider the situation of a person being demonic possessed so that they can tell others’ past and present easily? If someone was really playing a role as your explanation, then why could they own to themselves super-natural power? According to your explanation, the reason of this kind of disease is the patient being suppressed or influenced by the surrounding bad environment. So why could they recall their past lives without being a great holy monk? In Vietnam, there was a case of Bui Lac Binh who was born in 2000 in Coi Village (Yen Phu Commune, Lac Son District, Hoa Binh province). Binh was born in a Muong ethnic group (one of Vietnamese ethnic minorities) but he can speak standard Vietnamese (Vietnamese majority). When Binh was 4 years old, he often recalled his previous life being a person that died of drowning 10 years ago. Particularly, he asked to come back to his parents’ home before his death which located just one kilometer away. He even described in details his previous life in the name and body of Nguyen Phu Quyet Tien, which made everyone amazed.

As mentioned above, Dr. Thich Nhat Tu uses the medical argument to explain the spiritual issues that have existed for thousands of years and written in Buddhist and non-Buddhist scriptures, so it is clear that this is a nonsense argument. It is like a farmer give a professional comment on ballet aspect which is so distant from his profession. From all the above proofs, I think you all can conclude to yourself that there is existence of demonic possession or not. Dr Thich Nhat Tu’s statement was not derived from the Buddhist views and not presented by the evidence of Buddhist authority in logic so it is hard to convince the audience.


Dear Dr Thich Nhat Tu,

From the failure happened in Quan Yin Temple caused by a monk named Thich Giac Nhan, you totally denied the effect of conducting supportive recitation. Thereby you recommended that people should remove that kind of spiritual activities in their lives. The reason for this is to not encourage the Buddhist followers to be “dependant” on Amitabha Buddha in the Western heavens of Amitabha. The usage of your conversation seems contradictory to the spirit of Buddhist practitioners and bring the sarcastic comments especially to the Pure Land Buddhism. I would like to confirm that those Buddhists do not “depend” on but base on 48 vows of Amitabha Buddha. This is one of the best practices that Pure Land Buddhist monks have thoroughly analyzed and at the same time guided in detailed. This was recorded in “Ten main exercises in intonating the Buddha’s name” and “Ten doubts about Pure Land”, etc. There are countless of people who recited the Buddha’s name and successfully reborn in high realms, even gained rebirth in the Amitabha’s land. In Taiwan, there are Bodhisattva layman Li Bingnan or Master Chin Kung. In Vietnam, we have Hoang Phap pure abode in Ho Chi Minh city, etc. You are not a Buddhist monk of Pure Land, how can you understand and experience the effect of their practices?

On the other hand, you cannot refuse the conduction of supportive recitation at the end of the Buddhist’s lives by labelling it with a “dependant” reason. Then you refuse a chain of other activities such as philanthropy, social activities and the self-reliance of self-cultivation attempts. How can you know what and how those people who was laying in bed had done in their past lives? (to conclude that they totally kind of “dependant” ones). Furthermore, you should know that the Buddhist of any school must accumulate two kind of jewelries which are wisdom and merit. Is it reasonable that the sect that you are currently in has its own standards but other sects don’t have any? Though I am a Tantric practitioner, I acknowledge that as a Pure Land practitioner, they will recite the Buddha’s name in order to accumulate the wisdom, maintain the right conduct of the actions of the body in order to taking merits. The conduct of right actions is practicing the six perfections (Paramita), which is to practice blessings (offerings and charity) and wisdom (meditation) at the same time. Then why did you conclude they only rely on the effect of supportive recitation? By that way your comment is kind of unsound and one-sided. At the same time, you pay such a disregard to the practice of Pure Land Dharma which has been praised and followed by many Buddhists. You totally forgot that all the sects of Buddhism will lead to the liberation. But to achieve that liberation path is depending on the essence of each individual, and it is not related to the disciple of one particular Buddhism.

Amitabha Buddha and Pure Land Buddhism

According to the Pure Land practices, people who is at death will need supportive recitation activities in order to reassure the dead so that they will have a peaceful death. So doing the supportive recitation is not wrong; in the opposite it brings out effective results. The most important thing is that how we conduct to achieve high effective results. On the contrary, you recommended to cease this kind of practices, or at least try to reduce the tense of this practice and increase the “self-cultivation”. It is none of your business to care about other Buddhists’ spiritual decision. Assuming that you are a Tiantai Buddhist monk, and there will be someone with a Doctor degree come to recommend that you should not chant the Lotus Sutra and spend that amount of time to do Buddhist charity or offer the sutras. I would like to give you an advice: do not depend on the phenomena but consider the essence in order to make an appropriate statement. In order to enjoy the art, you should be an artist at first. I am afraid that you did abuse the art of Dharma.

Dear Dr Thich Nhat Tu,

It is not wrong to say that you abused the truth of Dharma because you once gave a teaching on Five conditions to be reincarnated into the Western heavens of Amitabha. It is inaccurate and incomplete, especially when you discussed on “one-pointedness”. According to the teachings of Pure Land Buddhism and the great vows of Amitabha Buddha, all the Buddhist who lay their faith in Buddhism and in the Buddha will be able to lead to salvation in the Western Paradise. The level of their achievement on 1-9th level depend on their effort, not necessarily the one-pointedness. Moreover, if they will not be reborn in to the Western Paradise, they will be reborn into high realms. Therefore, supportive recitation is a good Dharma practice, it is expressing the Bodhicitta application. So, your point of view is somehow limited and not so objective.


As a Buddhist, I pray for all Buddhists of any school will achieve the Buddha nature’s happiness. The only problem is that a number of practitioners keep doing and spreading wrong views. Therefore, in the spirit of upholding the Buddha’s teachings, I do not approve your objective views which may affect many others’ sects by your sectarianism. Though I am a Tantric practitioner, I still pay a respect to the teachings of Pure Land Buddhism and feel great admiration for the vows of Amitabha Buddha. Hua-Yen Sutra has said: “The Dharma is like an immense ocean, only by faith you will overcome it”.

I would like to finish this article with an old saying:



Phuoc Thanh Village, 29 Nov 2014.


The following link is the video that feature Dr Thich Nhat Tu interview with An Vien TV:

Translated by Mat Tu.



  1. Tantra Mahavita says:
    Querido Santo Guru : Muchas Gracias por compartir tan interesantes articulos . El Dharma es un Oceano inmenso , solo por la fe lo superaras. Rezo para que todos los seres sintientes logren la felicidad de la naturaleza de Buda. Me gustaria terminar este articulo con un viejo dicho : Trabaja duro en Silencio, deja que el exito sea tu ruido. Que nuestro Amado Guru , tenga salud y pueda vivir muchos años para beneficio de todos los seres . Que todos los seres esten libres de sufrimiento y sus causas. Que todos los seres encuentren la felicidad y las causas de la felicidad . Que todos los seres vivan en ecuanimidad , libre de apego y aversion . OM MANI PADME HUM
  2. Salvatore Antonio Fois says:
    Venerebol GURU;

    My name is Tantra Siramitra.

    Very good response by hours venerebol Guru appsolutaly right 100% how can a doctorate in Buddism dany the hell realms what about avici hell then I just can’t believe souch rowng view!

    Walldone venerebol Guru.

    OM Amidewa HRIH OM Amidewa HRIH OM Amidewa HRIH….


    • Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con xin phép dịch comment của đạo hữu Tantra Siramitra (Salvatore Antonio Fois) sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      “Kính bạch Thầy tâm linh tôn quý!

      Con là Tantra Siramitra.

      Bài đối luận của Thầy tôn quý với đầy đủ luận cứ, luận chứng 100% chính xác ạ. Con không hiểu tại sao một vị tiến sĩ, một Phật tử lại có thể phủ nhận địa ngục. Vậy vị này nói sao về địa ngục vô gián mà đức Phật thuyết trong kinh? Con không thể tin nổi một vị tăng mà lại tà kiến như vậy!

      Con hoan hỷ tán thán công hạnh của Thầy tôn quý.

      Om Amidewa Hrih. Om Amidewa Hrih. Om Amidewa Hrih.

      Con kính đảnh lễ Thầy!”

  3. Tantra Upatissa says:
    Dear Guru thanks for sharing this article.

    Many people in ignorance and from sticking to their wrong views give false statement towards dharma and it’s followers. May dharma be protected from evil eyes of others.

    May Guru live long for other beings and protected.

    May all beings and Guru be protected and get enlightened.

    Om Mani Padme Hum..

  4. Tantramikaya ( Jane) says:
    Thank you very much to your holy Guru for your very interesting and insightful article. I have read this article several times and I would like to comment on it. I think there are true Buddhists who devote themselves to the Buddhist path and there are monks who interpret their own experiences or ways of thinking into Buddhism. The Buddhist teachings have existed for 2000 years, and if Buddhism is properly practiced and taught using the right methodology then Buddhism is wholesome and fulfilling. We experience physical suffering, mental suffering, suffering that can be described as psychosomatic. We suffer from the incompatibility of our hopes and wishes with reality. If these discrepancies are no longer to be overcome, neuroses, psychoses and unusual states of mind arise. These models of life have failed. The symptoms of this suffering are inner restlessness, dissatisfaction, too much or too little discipline, greed, bad thoughts and thereby bad deeds and doubts .. We seek our happiness and may not be aware of the small things and amenities often enough. We often think in the past or the future instead of being in the here and now. The spiritual path is the most effective way to free us from suffering. Mental illnesses have different causes. But the spiritual path should not be questioned. We determine our karma ourselves through our actions, and in our daily lives we can help to train our minds. A Buddhist should always choose the spiritual path and give no medical arguments. Explanations should be seen from a Buddhist point of view, and a spiritual teacher should use spiritual doctrine to pass on the teachings of Buddha. As a true Buddhist, we define ourselves in the truths of Buddha and Buddha’s Nature. May all be free from suffering. May our holy Guru life long for the sake of being sent. May all sentient beings in the happiness of buddhas Nature. Om Mani Padme Hum
  5. nyimasangpo says:
    Dear Guru Thank you so much  for the Article  and  also to giving us the knowledge  thank you so much once again 🙏🙏
  6. Dear Holy Guru,

    I would like to thank Guru for this wonderful article. You gives us much profound knowledge on Buddhism in order that we can distinguish between the virtuous  actions and evils doings.

    Your argument under Buddhist basic against Dr. Thich Nhat Tu’s statement has been made clear that Dr. Thich Nhat Tu’s statement is not right view. He denied the existence of hell realms which is contrary to Buddhist teachings. In sutra of Dhammapada, the Lord Buddha said that:

    “Many with a yellow robe on their necks

    are of evil disposition and uncontrolled.

    Evil-doers on account of their evil deeds

    are born in a hell.”

    It is clear that the Lord Buddha mentioned samsara including the hell realms in many sutras and teachings. I do not know why Dr. Thich Nhat Tu insisted on no hell realms. In addition, he was not able to present a single argument from sacred text to support his statement.

    Besides, he refused the conduction of supportive recitation at the end of the Buddhist’s lives by his own words, not quoting from any sacred texts. His statement could lead to the loss of Buddhist’s deep faith in Buddhism and made a denial of the support of the Sangha for their last journey to the Pure Land.

    In conclusion, Dr. Thich Nhat Tu’s statement against the Buddhist teachings made a bad effect on the Sangha and made difficulties and barrier for Buddhists on the path to enlightenment.

    May Holy Guru and your consort have a good health and live long for the sake of all sentient beings.

    May all sentient beings free from suffering and its causes.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  7. Tantra Amishuta says:
    Dear Holy Guru,

    Thank you for this interesting article. It always amazes me to read that there are people who claim to be well versed in Buddhism or anything really that contradict themselves and make learning about the subject more difficult than it needs to be. It is a shame that it can effect so many people so negatively. I’m glad to have this site and the lessons contained here in. I appreciate your teachings and your dedication to the right view and right practice.  Thank you for taking me and many many others under your wing and teaching us Buddhism in the right way. We could all so easily be on the wrong path if we had not found you and this site. May you be well for the sake of all sentient beings and may your disciples find enlightenment as we continue to follow the Buddhist path. Om Mani Padme Hum

  8. Dr. C H Lakshmi narayan. says:

    Buddha is my life

    Dharma is my way

    Sangha is my spirit

    Respected Guruji, I bow my head at the lotus feet of Guruji.

    I am Tantra Nirvadeva.

    This  point to point  debate like article is very interesting to read which at the same time enriching our knowledge on Buddhism sharpens our brains too.!

    Only dilemma we face here is  “Hell and Heaven”  , ” gods and demons ” and ” Soul” found in  Buddhist teachings and Scripts are not supported by scientific evidences.!

    Not only in Buddhism, in almost all the Religions, they have strong belief and faith in these and we find them in their Dharma Scriptures!

    Guruji rightly says, ” Dharma is like an  immense ocean, only by faith you will overcome it ”

    The great Scientist Alfred Einstein said Buddhism is the only religion suitable to all beings and added ” where science ends, philosophy begins.” !

    In such circumstances, the right action ,as Guruji says, would be :

    ” Work hard in Silence

    Let success be your voice “!

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Long live our beloved Guruji for upholding Dharma.

    Dr C H Lakshminarayan.

    • Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con xin phép được dịch comment của đạo hữu Tantra Nirvadeva (C H Lakshminarayan) sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      “Phật là cuộc sống của con.

      Pháp là con đường của con.

      Tăng là tinh thần của con.

      Kính bạch Thầy tâm linh tôn quý!

      Con cúi đầu đảnh lễ dưới chân san của Thầy.

      Con là Tantra Nirvadeva.

      Từng điểm lệch quỹ đạo chánh Pháp mà Thầy chỉ ra trong bài đối luận này thuyết phục và rất thú vị, giúp chúng con có thêm kiến thức Phật đà cũng như giúp chúng con có được tư duy sâu sắc, nhạy bén hơn.

      Trong bài này, một điều nổi trội gây ra tranh cãi đó là “cõi địa ngục và cõi trời” có thật hay không? “thần và quỷ” có tồn tại hay không?  Mặc dù “linh hồn” được nhắc đến trong kinh điển Phật giáo nhưng hiện nay khoa học chưa chứng minh được có sự tồn tại của cõi địa ngục và cõi trời.

      Không chỉ ở đạo Phật mà ở một số tôn giáo khác, đồ chúng cũng tin rằng có sự tồn tại của địa ngục và cõi trời. Trong kinh điển Phật giáo cũng đã ghi rõ sự tồn tại của các cõi này.

      Thầy hoàn toàn đúng khi trích dẫn kinh Hoa Nghiêm: “biển Phật mênh mông, chỉ có niềm tin mới nhập hải”. Và nhà khoa học Alfred Einstein đã từng khẳng định rằng: “Đạo Phật là đạo duy nhất luận giải được mọi hiện tượng của chúng sanh.  Kiến thức siêu phàm của Phật giáo bắt đầu ở chỗ kết thúc của khoa học.”

      Và trong trường hợp này, hai câu ca dao Thầy trích dẫn đã thể hiện quan điểm đúng đắn của Thầy:

      “Dù ai nói ngã nói nghiêng

      Lòng ta vẫn vững như kiềng ba chân.”

      Om Mani Padme Hum.

      Con cầu nguyện Thầy trụ thế lâu dài vì sự nghiệp hoằng dương chánh Pháp.

      Con – C H Lakshminarayan.”

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