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One of the 3 largest monasteries in Vietnam
Truc Lam Tay Thien Zen monastery, built on the foundation of Thien An Zen ancient temple, is a monastery of the Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen group, and is located in Dai Dinh commune, Tam Dao district, Vinh Phuc Province, about 85 km from Hanoi to the west. Along with Truc Lam Dalat, Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen monasteries, Truc Lam Tay Thien is considered one of the three largest Zen monasteries in Vietnam today.
This is one of the earliest places where Vietnam Buddhism was originated and is associated with religious life of monk Khuong Tang Hoi. Legend has it that, in about the 3rd century, the enlightened monk of Khuong family- an Indian monk, saw the majestic mountains and forests in his journey to the East; therefore, he chose this place to set up tents to stay and spread Buddhism. Thien An pagoda built by monk Khuong Tang Hoi is also associated with the legend of King Hung VI whose name was Hung Chieu Vuong. Accordingly, the king once came here to pray for a child, and when the King returned, he met Ms. Lang Thi Tieu, a beautiful, intelligent woman who was good at strategy. After getting married to King Hung, she helped the King to rule the country, and protect the land of Van Lang.
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Despite being a temple containing many historic values, Thien An pagoda lost its traces for centuries until monk Thich Thanh Tu chose this place to build a monastery in Vietnam Zen Buddhism line in 2004. On the base of the ancient pagoda, the monks discovered a multitude of broken bricks and tiles with patterns of Tran dynasty. This demonstrated that Tay Thien had been a large cultural – religious center in feudal time but was faded by the time. Over 15 months of construction with a total cost of VND 30 billion, the basic categories of Truc Lam Tay Thien were quickly completed in 2005. Thanks to the contribution of Buddhists all over the country, the monastery became one of three biggest monasteries in Vietnam.
Not only owning the record for the area, Truc Lam Tay Thien also has statues sculpted from sapphire, a precious, hard and solid stone only to diamond. The statues carries the spirituality, art and soul of Vietnam. The statue of the Buddha Shakyamuni holding a ruby in his hand symbolizes the Buddhist historical references. The statuary spent more than one year sculpting successfully this statue.
The “Lotus” on Thach Ban peak
Truc Lam Tay Thien is compared to a “lotus” on Thach Ban peak, one of three mountains forming Tam Dao mountain range. At the height of 300m, the monastery was built in the Buddhist architecture of a temple in Vietnam with three-door gate, the main hall, the bell- tower and drum- tower, and a hall worshipping the passed away nuns of the monastery. To reach the three- door gate of the monastery, visitors must go through hundreds of stone steps followed by a few dozen steps more leading to Dai Hung Bao Dien.
Truc Lam Tay Thien Zen Monastery has many large buildings under construction, including the Buddha Dai Ho Quoc An Dan which is estimated to be the biggest stone Buddha Shakyamuni statue in the world upon completion.
With its unique architecture, its location on a sacred mountain, the monastery is a spiritual destination attracting people throughout the country. Many people come here to immerse themselves in the space of the Tam Dao mountain and feel the stillness of the bell, the sound of wooden bell in the Buddhist temple.