QUANG NINH – Ngoa Van Pagoda, where Buddha Emperor Tran Nhan Tong entered nirvana in 1308, is known as the holy place of the Truc Lam Zen sect.
Ngoa Van Pagoda is located at Ngoa Van peak of Bao Dai mountain, more than 500 m above sea level, in the territory of Binh Khe commune, Dong Trieu town. With beautiful terrain, in 1037, King Tran Nhan Tong chose this place to meditate.
According to Dai Viet historical records, on November 1, 1308, Buddha Emperor Tran Nhan Tong passed into nirvana here. After that, Ngoa Van Am, where he lived, was reused for worship. Ngoa Van Pagoda was built after the death of the Buddha Emperor, also in the Tran Dynasty, to worship Buddha and practice religion.
According to Dong Trieu Town Relic Management Board. In the 2000s, the Ngoa Van Pagoda relic area began to receive funding to build and embellish on the old ruins. In 2006, Ngoa Van Pagoda was recognized as a national historical and cultural relic.
Ngoai Van relic today has three layers. The lowest layer is 15 small relic points at the foot of the mountain that connects to a winding road up to the top of Ngoa Van. This is a walking path about 3 km long that many people choose for pilgrimage.
If you are not able to walk, you can take the cable car for 220,000 VND round trip and it only takes about 15 minutes to get to near Ngoa Van Trung Pagoda. Sitting on the cable car, you will enjoy the view of the mountains and forests.
From the cable car end station, you will walk about 300 meters and then 109 steps to reach Ngoa Van Trung Pagoda. This is considered the second layer of the relic.
Ngoa Van Trung Pagoda was restored and built on the old pagoda’s foundation in 2014, with the architectural style of Nhi type in accordance with the architecture of the pagoda from the Le Trung Hung period. Ngoa Van Trung Pagoda is the center of the Ngoa Van Spring Festival, which takes place from the 9th of January to the end of the third lunar month.
From the right of Ngoa Van Trung Pagoda, you follow a small stone-paved path, lined with trees to go to Ngoa Van Thuong Pagoda and Ngoa Van Am.
This is also the last and highest layer of the Ngoa Van relic. This area was praised by the ancients with the verse “Forever, the pagoda is inspired. Four seasons of fresh scenery”.
According to legend, at the top of this sacred mountain, Buddha Emperor Tran Nhan Tong entered nirvana on a large rock in the form of a lion. The ancient tower in the middle, in front of Ngoa Van Thuong Pagoda, is where a part of the Buddha’s relics are kept.
With great cultural-historical – religious significance, every year, Ngoa Van relic welcomes tens of thousands of tourists to visit and worship. Ngoc Hieu, 68 years old, in Ho Chi Minh City with friends first came to Ngoai Van Pagoda impressed with the architecture, topography, and wonderful space of the place where the Buddha Emperor chose the last stop in his religious life.
Keyword: Sanctuary of Truc Lam Zen School