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 Vinh Nghiem Pagoda

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PostSubject: Vinh Nghiem Pagoda   Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:44 pm

Story written by Nyugen Ngoc Thanh Mai

Address: 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Road, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City

The 39 year-old Vinh Nghiem pagoda is the largest and tallest pagoda in the city, measuring an area of 6,000 square meters. It was built by craftsmen all under the age of 30. The name “Vinh Nghiem” came from an 11th century pagoda in Bac Giang province. The idea of building a large Buddhist center in Southern Vietnam was originally conceptualized by two Vietnamese monks, Thich Tam Giac and Thich Thanh Kiem. The monks modified a version of wooden Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in Bac Giang built during the Ly Dynasty (1010-1225). The newly-built pagoda soon became a popular place of worship for Buddhists, especially on the first and fifteenth of the lunar months.


Popular place of worship

Located on the north of town on the road to the airport, the pagoda was built for 7 years from 1964 to 1971. The pagoda is noteworthy for its ancient Asian architecture and the seven-storey Kwan-Yin tower, largely influenced by a fusion of both Vietnamese as well as Japanese culture.

The dominant feature of the pagoda is a seven-storey observation tower built with contribution by the Japan-Vietnam Association. In 1982, A four-storey Devotee Relic Tower (Thap xa loi cong dong) was added to the rear of the building. Carved on the walls of the tower were a pair of large dragons and 27 pairs of small dragons and phoenixes, decorated with countless lotuses, bodhi leaves, waves, and bats. A large bell which sits inside the temple was given by Japanese Buddhists during wartime to symbolize prayers for peace. Vinh Nghiem Pagoda is also a campus of the HCMC University of Buddhism whose classes are held weekly.


Symbol of close Japan-Vietnam ties

Surrounding the pagoda are several major tourist attractions such as Saigon Citadela (about 2.2 km), Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica (about 2.2 km), Temple Mariamman (about 2.5 km), Saigon Central Post Office (about 2.3 km), Ho Chi Minh City Opera house (about 2.8 km), Pagoda Giac Lam (about 3.9 km), Ben Thành Market (about 2.6 km), Hoi Khanh Temple (about 2.1km), Pagoda Xa Loi (about 1.5 km), Tinh Xa Trung Tam (about 2.4 km).
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