Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tradition of the spirit in new year Part 2

3. Chùa Tảo Sách
After the lunch, leaving from the crowd of Phu Tay Ho, we headed to Tao Sach temple - a 600 year old temple.

The afternoon in West Lake was quiet. We got the photo shoot of the governmental guest houses. They will look amazing when lotus blossom in summer, believe me.

On our way, we passed by the Sen restaurant - a destination for whom loves Vietnamese cuisines. Sen means lotus. No wonder because West lake area is also the lotus land of Hanoi. Sen today were unfrequented unlike usual, because most Vietnamese were now busy visiting temples during these weeks
 If you are lucky, you can meet some local go fishing. Some stands in a "bamboo bridge" like the way we saw. Some choose their stand in a stable big stone just right underneath the water surface. We see the later more in other days of summer
Tao Sach temple, also called as Linh Son Temple or “Linh Sơn tự”, built  in 15th century of Tien Le period of time, to dedicate to Uy Linh Lang Prince, the seventh prince of Kinh Tran Nhan Tong, is situated on 386 Lac Long Quan str. , Nhat Tan ward.  

The breeze from West Lake made us a bit uncomfortable but when reaching to Tao Sach's main gate, it seemed nothing more interesting now than coming again into the temple with a special name: Tao Sach  means reading books early in the morning. If you are the person who likes reading, the temple is a popular reading place to local people around here since long time. It is a quiet temple with a huge valuable library for any Han Nom researchers. The temple has retained many documents of Hán Nôm and other artistic relics such as: 42 couplets or “câu đối” among of which 39 ones are Chinese and 3 ones are Nôm, 23 pieces of capital letters or “đại tự”, 2 bronze bells one of which was molded in 1822, 29 inscriptions or “văn bia” among of which 12 ones were established in 1941,40 Buddhist statues from 17th to 20th century.

Unlike the crowded Phu Tay Ho, Tao Sach temple was much less crowded & peaceful. Even the offering sellers across the main gate were nicer to tell you the right price of their things. We headed to the main shrine house of Tao Sach. After its renovation in 1941 of Bao Dai period of time, the temple has been remaining as now & was recognized as national relic place in 1994. Due to its antique, impressive Buddhism space among the green garden with a lot of high trees in the temple, many art students or architects, painters really like to come here for their painting, reading & research, especially in summer, when the weather brings the wind from the lake & the quietness of the temple is an ideal atmosphere of learning.
The unique thing among the temples we visited is that Tao Sach is the only temple having lying Buddhist statue or “Phật Nằm” in the shrine of the main house in Tao Sach. 
Here once graciously welcomed the Ngọc Quan Âm statue who is one of sacred statues in Buddhism philosophy and was sent from Bangkok, Thailand - the country of many temples. This statue is 1.15m high and 251 kg weight being kept here for a period of time before being back to Thailand so that local people could come worship. I hope the statue will be delivered again soon in future to Hanoi. Definitely I would like to see in person.
One more thing about Tao Sach temple is they offer free Japanese evening class from 2009, cooperated with Trường Minh Language Center. This information interests me so much because I need to start ABC Japanese soon. Well, I should ask the nuns there next time when being back.

4. Chùa Vạn Niên

About 200m far from Tao Sach temple in the Lac Long Quan Str., we came to Van Nien temple , the last destination of our today tour. Unlike Tao Sach’s large area, Van nien temple is small but very close to West Lake, only less than 100m, dedicating to Buddhist and Lieu Hanh Princess. Among the composition of famous temples/pagodas directed to West Lake, Van Nien - a thousand  year old temple is the oldest one.

While people who want to wish good luck in business will go to other temples, they will visit Van Nien to pray for their peace, good health for family members. Van Nien, previously called Van Tue, means remain for ever with the time. Built during the 1014 of Ly Dynasty, the more than 1000 year-old Van Nien Temple has been  renovated many times & holds the Nguyen dynasty’s architectural style now.

The name "Vạn Niên tự" in the main gate of the temple
Here also reserves  the Phat Ngoc Tuong statue, which was sculpted from a 1 ton of the most precious gem from Myanmar when Đại đức Thích Minh with his nuns searched and asked for Chinese artists to help sculpting.
The view of Van Nien on the back side to West Lake.
As a small temple but long history, the temple  received the recognition as national relic place in 1996.
Visiting the temples in the beginning days of a new year is the Vietnamese popular custom. Taken in the yard of Van Nien temple.
A Buddhist statue in middle directed to the back gate of the temple to West Lake surface. Even though it is small yard, I love to walk around.
We left Van Nien with a great peace & happiness after spending whole day visiting temples around West Lake.  It was fun because we even made a ride around West lake, experiencing the daily life  surrounding. Behind the different beauties each temple has, there are their own historical values that every time visit, we’ve learned more their interesting stories. Thanks  for the warmhearted welcome & smile from whom work & keep the temples always clean & warm when we visitors come, thanks for a great accompanion I had today. Without that, our trip couldn’t have been such enjoyable.

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