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Thich Minh Tue, Wandering Buddhist Ascetic in Vietnam, Gains a Following

From rfa.org

Thich Minh Tue, born Le Anh Tu, a 43-year-old man from central Vietnam, has been walking across the country as part of his personal pilgrimage. Earlier this month, Tue reached Cam Xuyen District in Ha Tinh Province, where he was met by hundreds of supporters who had gathered to hear him speak.

Tue clarified that he is neither a Buddhist monk nor affiliated with any institution under the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha. Over the past few years, he has studied Buddhist teachings and practiced asceticism, which involves renouncing material comforts to embrace hardships, such as abstaining from food and wearing simple clothing, in order to attain enlightenment.

Originally from Ha Tinh Province in north central Vietnam, Tue moved with his family to Gia Lai Province in the Central Highlands in 1994. A former monk, he adopted the Buddhist name Thich Minh Tue. “‘Minh’ means bright, while ‘Tue’ means intelligence,” Tue explained, noting that he kept his Buddhist name after leaving his pagoda (monastery). “The whole name means ‘the shone way.’” (VnExpress)

Thanh Do, a former head of a Buddhism research organization and a lecturer at the Paris Buddhism University, suggested that Thich Minh Tue’s popularity was due largely to his adherence to Buddhist ideals. “The core of Buddhism for a clergy person consists of precepts, determination, and wisdom,” he said, adding that by following the precepts, clergy become more determined, which meant that they gained wisdom, which in turn inspired lay followers. (Radio Free Asia)

From vnexpress.net

Tue has been walking across Vietnam since 2017 as part of his ascetic practices. In the early days, he occasionally traveled by bus, but since 2020 has traveled solely on foot, except when using marine vessels to cross waterways. He stated that he had visited nearly all of Vietnam in his travels.

“My journey is a lifelong walk,” he said. “I don’t intend to spread any message as everything in Buddhism has been taught by the Buddha. I just want to practice per the teachings of the Buddha to complete myself. When I walk, I pray for everyone to always be happy with their families.” (VnExpress)

Tue stated that he had previously doubted the Buddhist teachings, but now that he was more mature, he wished to follow them to seek greater happiness. He noted that he had spent considerable time contemplating his decision before seeking the approval of his parents to leave home and pursue his path.

During his journey, Tue collected rags from roadsides and trash bags to stitch together as clothing. He explained that he ate only one meal a day, bathed in rivers and streams, rested by roadsides, and used gas stations for relief.

“For me, the walking journey is not difficult. When I’m on the move, if my mind is peaceful and happy there are no obstacles in my way,” he said. (VnExpress)

As Tue’s journey has continued, many people dressed like monks have joined him. While Tue does not consider them his disciples, he welcomes anyone wishing to join his journey, asking only that they seek family approval. He encourages followers to return home whenever they feel ready.

Recently, Tue has been approached by people asking to take pictures and record videos with him. He expressed a preference for people to walk alongside him rather than creating scenes.

Although he has not been in contact with his own family for six years, as he avoids telephones and social media, Tue expressed gratitude for his parents. He emphasized that he has never called himself a monk and does not feel worthy of the title.

Tue’s 84-year-old father, Le Xuan, said the family had four children. Tue, the second-born, joined the army after high school, pursued vocational education, and later worked in Phu Yen Province. In 2015, Tue returned home and asked his parents to be “released” to follow the ascetic path. After consideration, his parents gave their approval.

Le Xuan revealed that he was only able to learn of his son’s whereabouts through media-released videos of Tue’s journey. “We saw that he was skinny and wasn’t eating well, so we felt pity for him. But this is his path and we support him,” he said. (VnExpress)

See more

Buddhist pilgrimage by unrecognized ‘monk’ goes viral in Vietnam (Radio Free Asia)
Pilgrim spends 6 years traversing Vietnam on foot (VnExpress)

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Đỗ Thị Ngọc Nga
Đỗ Thị Ngọc Nga
1 month ago
I am Vietnamese, and we are extremely proud of Thich Minh Tue, he has spread the magic of Buddhism throughout Vietnam and the world.
THI THU TRANG NGUYEN
THI THU TRANG NGUYEN
1 month ago

Thich Minh Tue has radiated the wonders of Buddhism. His presence has enlightened and awakened millions of Vietnamese people, leading them to live more meaningful and better lives. We are proud that Vietnam has him.

Đặng Ngọc Thanh Thảo
Đặng Ngọc Thanh Thảo
1 month ago

Yes, Ngọc Nga, me too

pramod garad
pramod garad
1 month ago

Bhanteji, I wish you all the best for your future endeavors on behalf of my Bharatiya Janmat TV channel

THI THU TRANG NGUYEN
THI THU TRANG NGUYEN
1 month ago

Thich Minh Tue has radiated the wonders of Buddhism. His presence has enlightened and awakened millions of Vietnamese people, leading them to live more meaningful and better lives. We are proud that Vietnam has him.

Nguyễn Văn Hiếu
Nguyễn Văn Hiếu
1 month ago

He is a person respected and admired by many Vietnamese people