SACRED BICH DONG PAGODA

Bich Dong Pagoda is one of the famous scenic spots of Ninh Binh province, where it is known as “Nam Thien De Nhi Dong” (meaning the second most beautiful cave of the South Heaven). Bich Dong Pagoda is one of the sacred places that tourists always find when they have the opportunity to visit Ninh Binh.

Bich Dong Pagoda is located in Dam Khe village, Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province. This is a historical and cultural relic that has been ranked as a special national relic and is located in the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

According to an old legend, around 1705, during the reign of King Le Du Tong, two monks with the legal names Tri Kien and Tri The met to become brothers. Tri Kien is from Vong Doanh, and Tri The is from Dong Xuyen, Nghia Hung, and Nam Dinh. Two like-minded monks wanted to spread Buddhism and build more temples everywhere. When coming to Ninh Binh, Bich Dong mountain has a beautiful terrain and an old pagoda is available. The two monks decided to repair the old temple. Then they went to ask for donations and built three ancient temples of Lower, Middle and Upper to practice.

In the year of the Horse Horse in 1774, Lord Trinh Sam visited the pagoda, looking at the panorama of mountains, caves, rivers, fields and trees, all green, the pagoda seemed to converge on the green background of the pagoda, so he named the pagoda Bich Dong.

Bich Dong Pagoda is located in a charming mountainous area, built in the style of “Tam” Chinese characters, three non-contiguous buildings, three levels along the mountainside, based on the mountain position from low to high into 3 separate temples. distinct: Lower, Middle and Upper. The unique thing of Bich Dong Pagoda is that the mountains, caves and pagodas complement each other, and are hidden among the green giant trees, making the pagoda blend with the spectacular natural scenery.

Bich Dong Pagoda is not only known as the most sacred ancient temple in Hoa Lu Ancient Capital from the past to the present, but also an ancient and dignified work of art of people in harmony with the bright natural scenery. Tranquility adds to the overall picture of a World Cultural and Natural Heritage region that is perfect and enduring at the same time. Bich Dong Pagoda is a typical scenic spot in the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex – a World Cultural and Natural Heritage that visitors cannot miss when coming to the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh.

The unique thing is that in Bich Dong mountain, there are 3 pagodas, there are 3 caves including 2 dry caves and 1 water cave formed in the style of “Tam” Chinese characters. Under the ground is Xuyen Thuy Dong, halfway up the mountain is Bich Dong embracing the Mother Palace and Trung Pagoda, above Trung Pagoda is Dark Cave.

The stone bridge leading to the Tam Quan gate of Bich Dong pagoda is made of green stone slabs. There is a road at the foot of the mountain about 55m long, paved with bricks, which is the “Nhat Chinh Dao” road to go to Ha Pagoda. The area of ​​Ha pagoda is facing northwest, located at the foot of Bich Dong mountain on a platform 2m higher than the brick yard, embanked with slate. Like other temples in Vietnamese villages, the architecture of Ha pagoda is also in the style of Dinh (Han character). In the Upper Palace, it is built entirely of stone columns, and the roof of the pagoda is curved in the shape of a blade, covered with yin and yang tiles. On the right hand side, there is a large stele made from the Nguyen Dynasty inscribed with the names of those who have merit to build and repair the pagoda. Inside the Lower Temple worship: At the top is the three worlds (representing the three generations of Buddhas: past, present and future); Next is the Western set of Three Saints (sitting in the middle is Amitabha Buddha, on the right is Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, on the left is Dai Thi Chi Bodhisattva); the next altar is Thien Thu Thien Nhan Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva sitting in meditation on a lotus with hand seals in his heart; The next altar is the newborn Shakyamuni statue, standing statue, small size. There is also an altar to worship the Holy Sangha and the Earth Land; There is a statue of Dharma protector in front of the temple

From Ha Pagoda, visitors step up 120 stone steps on the left, halfway up Ngu Nhac mountain range is Trung Pagoda. This is a very unique temple that few places can get, the cliff here is hollow like a dragon’s mouth, containing a part of the temple inside, only part of the roof in front of the temple is exposed. On the roof of Trung Pagoda, there are ten yellow Chinese characters, read in order: Gia Lam Than – Dai Hung Bao Dien – Nam Thien To. (Gà Lam Than: the place to worship Lord Ong; the god who looks after the temple, also known as Gia Lam Lord; Dai Hung Bao Dien: is the central architectural object of the entire temple. It is the place to worship the ancestors. Shakyamuni Buddha, “Dai Hung” is a way of respecting the Buddha’s ancestor, Shakyamuni, referring to him as a fearless warrior who has the power to subdue the four demons: the Five Yin ghosts, the Evil Ones, and the Tu. Ma, Thien Tu ma, In the Lotus Sutra, there is praise as follows: “Good ears, good ear Dai Hung World-Honored One (good, good, Lord Dai Hung); Nam Thien To: worships the ancestors of Vietnam, to distinguish it from the ancestors of other countries such as China, India, etc.).

The pagoda has 3 compartments to worship Buddha, in terms of decoration in Trung Pagoda, Buddha To Tathagata has a nine dragons. The two statues sitting outside are Manjushri Bodhisattva, on the left is Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, in the main palace is the Holy Sage… After paying homage to the Buddha in Upper Palace, walking up 21 stone steps is to Dark Cave. Dark cave has many stalactites carved by nature over millions of years to form fairies, dragons, elephants, tigers and eagles, vaults, granaries… All like a fairy-tale world. petrification makes you surprised by the fairy beauty of nature. Looking outside is the Giai Oan bridge, most of the visitors who come here often “request” three bells to ring as if to “clear” their souls at the Buddha’s door to be at peace. From the gate of Dark Cave, visitors follow the stone steps leading to Thuong Pagoda.

Up to Thuong Pagoda, visitors have to step up to nearly 40 stone steps along the mountainside. Thuong Pagoda is also known as the East Pagoda, the temple worships Quan The Am Bodhisattva. This is the temple located at the highest position, near the top of Bich Dong mountain. From Thuong Pagoda looking out into the distance, there are 5 independent mountains adoring Bich Dong mountain, which looks like 5 lotus petals, called Ngu Nhac Son, including Tam Sang mountain, Gia Dinh mountain, Con Lon mountain, Dau Cau mountain and Dau Cau mountain. Hang Based Mountain. Thuong Pagoda has two shrines on both sides: the right side worships Tho Dia, the left side worships Son Than. Next to the temple there is a water tank called “Cam Lo water tank” by Avalokitesvara.

Bich Dong Pagoda is not only known as the most sacred ancient temple in Hoa Lu ancient capital from the past to now, but also an ancient and dignified work of art of people in harmony with the green natural scenery. Tranquility adds to the overall picture of a world cultural and natural heritage region that is perfect and enduring at the same time. It must be said that Bich Dong Pagoda is a typical scenic spot in the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex – a World Cultural and Natural Heritage that visitors cannot miss when coming to the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh.

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