The Lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh


Zen Master Li?u Quán (1670-1742)December 17, 2009. New Hamlet. Plum Village.

Thay tells the story of the beginnings of the Lieu Quán Dharma Line, of which Thich Nhat Hanh is the 8th generation of this Vietnamese branch. Our lineage is also traced to through the Lâm Te Dyana School (Linji), of which Thich Nhat Hanh is the 42nd generation.

The talk begins with the gatha given to our main root teacher, Zen Master Lieu Quán (1670-1742), by Zen Master Tu Dung in Thuan Hóa, Vietnam in 1702.

All phenomena rely on Oneness, what does Oneness rely on?

Thay then traces all the teachers through the generations and how they each received their name from a gatha of Zen Master Lieu Quán. The classical Chinese characters of the gatha represent the name given to each of the generations.

The English translation of the gatha is as follows:

The great way of Reality,
Is our true nature’s pure ocean.
The source of Mind penetrates everywhere.
From the roots of virtue springs the practice of compassion.
Precepts, concentration and insight –
The nature and function of all three are one.
The fruit of transcendent wisdom,
Can be realized by being wonderfully together.
Maintain and transmit the wonderful principle,
In order to reveal the true teaching!
For the realization of True Emptiness to be possible,
Wisdom and Action must go together.

Students of Thich Nhat Hanh are encouraged to memorize this gatha.

Editorial Note: not all the accent marks are correct in this post.

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By Chan Niem Hy

Dharma Teacher.


  1. dear ajarn. how are you there, i would like to say happy to you, you are was very kindness monk in the work right now, nice to meet you, i am buddhist student study in thailand, am come from south of vietnam.i hope that see you next time. thank venerable thich nhat hanh, i loke your ideal so much in life when i reading abook your own ipinion.

  2. If Thay Nhat Hanh is 42nd generation while Master Nguyen Thieu was 33rd generation, how come there were nine generations between them (Tu Dung, Lieu Quan, Luu Quang, Chieu Nhien, Pho Tinh, Nhat Dinh, Cuong Ky, Thich Tue Minh, Thich Chan That)?

  3. Hello, Kenley – I am working on a graduate project that in part details the history of the sangha. Would you please be able to repost the document you included in the previous commentary? Or you do recommend any additional resources to consult? Many thanks and deep bows.

  4. My deepest appreciation – this is greatly helpful! Sending well wishes and much gratitude.

  5. RE: purchasing a Buddha

    I asked a person from the nearby sangha I have attended here locally where, what website, I could buy a Buddha so that it would help the monks in Thich Nhat Hahn’s lineage. He replied :”In Thich Nhat Hanh’s tradition there aren’t practices involving the crafting of Buddhas or the use of mantras or mudras as far as I know. That’s typically more in the Tibetan lineages, I believe, which have more mystical aspects. I’m sorry I’m not much help. Wishing you peace this lovely sunny day.”

    I am still wondering if anybody else knows where I could buy. Buddha and in the process help Buddhist monks

    Anyone knows?


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