Visit the ancient Bai Dinh pagoda in Ninh Binh

Ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda is a special temple of our country, when all Buddha and Mother altars are placed in the heart of the caves. This has contributed to deepening the sacred and mysterious atmosphere of this place of practice. Besides, the pagoda is also the place where many antiques with bold imprints of the Ly Dynasty are kept. So, friends, today let’s take a walk with Bike around an ancient temple that has existed for more than 1000 years in the heart of the mountain.

The ancient Bai Dinh pagoda is located halfway up Dinh mountain. The pagoda was founded by Zen master Nguyen Minh Khong. He was a famous Zen master from Dam Xa commune, Truong Yen district, now Gia Thang commune, Gia Vien district. He is the one who laid the foundation, built the Buddha statue and opened the Buddha land here.

Legend has it that, when going to the mountainous land of Bai Dinh pagoda, realize that this is a fairyland, immense mountains with countless precious medicinal plants. He decided to choose this place to practice and named the mountain Bai Dinh, then turned this place into a “biotic garden” (meaning a precious medicinal garden) to save the lives of all people.

The ancient Bai Dinh pagoda has many architectural details and antiques bearing the bold imprint of the Ly Dynasty. The pagoda here does not have a large, massive pillar or a magnificent upper hall. Which is built in the style of cave pagoda architecture, which is quite popular like other ancient pagodas in Ninh Binh. To visit the cave in Bai Dinh mountain, visitors have to step on 300 stone steps, through Tam Quan gate in the middle of the mountain. Going up the slope is to the junction of the temple of Saint Nguyen, on the right is the light cave to worship Buddha, on the left is the dark cave to worship the Mother. Each cave has its own legend and legend that creates mysterious and sacred features at the gate of meditation.

Ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda is located at the western gateway of Hoa Lu Ancient Capital and is perched on the slopes of Bai Dinh Mountain, surrounded by vast, lush valleys with rolling lagoons and lakes. even majestic limestone mountains. With charming scenery and great spiritual values, the pagoda has always been one of the attractions in Ninh Binh that is loved by many people.

Few people expect that this ancient temple has existed for more than 1000 years in the middle of the ancient capital, and is also a “historic witness” watching the ups and downs of all three great feudal dynasties in the past, including the imperial dynasty. Dinh, Tien Le and Ly dynasties. 

The pagoda was officially laid with the first stones in 1136, founded by Zen Master Nguyen Minh Khong. Therefore, this ancient temple is the place associated with anecdotes and old stories about the famous Zen master throughout the South sky in the past. It was he who laid the foundation for Buddhism, at the same time, built the Buddha statue and opened the Buddha land in this place. 

Legend has it that in the Ly dynasty, he went to Bai Dinh mountain with the intention of finding medicine for the king’s illness. When he passed this mountain, he realized that this was a fairyland, the mountain could be facing the west as if he was adoring the land of Buddha. In addition, along the mountains and forests in this place, there are also many precious medicinal plants, so the Zen master decided to stop practicing and build a temple here.

The reason the pagoda is named Bai Dinh is because, according to the ancient concept, Bai means worshiping, worshiping the land of the time, the Buddha. Meanwhile, Dinh is the top, which is located on a high place. Therefore, Bai Dinh dog means worshiping heaven and earth, and the Buddha is on high. In addition, the pagoda’s name also means towards Dinh mountain – a mountain associated with heroic events of our country’s history in the previous period. 

Around the time Dinh Tien Hoang stood up to put down 12 warlords and ascended the throne, he went to the place where the ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda was located to set up an altar to sacrifice to heaven, pray for favorable rain, peace, and worship. soldier. Later, King Quang Trung also chose this sacred mountain as a place to set up a chess altar, to encourage generals and soldiers before conducting a quick march to the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, destroying the Qing army. 

The ancient Bai Dinh pagoda owns the typical architecture of the Ly Dynasty, and is considered the standard of ancient temples in our country today. The pagoda does not have curved roofs or large, majestic pillars or magnificent and decorated upper halls. In the place of the ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda, we can only see the works built in the traditional cave pagoda architecture, simple but no less majestic and mysterious.

There is a special thing in the ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda that all the Buddha and Mother altars are placed in the heart of the dark caves. This has contributed to highlighting the mysterious and majestic beauty of this place. If you want to go to the cave, you will have to go through more than 300 stone steps to be able to reach the cave entrance with 4 words carved here by King Le Thanh Tong: “Minh Dinh Danh Lam”, which means to save a beautiful name. This place is the cave that places the Buddha altar and worships the God of this ancient temple. If you turn to the right, you will reach Sang cave where Buddha and God are worshiped, and on the left side is Dark cave worshiping Mother and Fairy.

From Dark Cave, if you go a little further, you will easily see the Ngoc Well lying peacefully surrounded by lush vegetation. The water of the Jade Well is cool and clear all year round. People here often ask for water to drink or use to make offerings to the temple. Most importantly, the well is always full, but never emptied.

If you go all the way to Sang Cave, you will come to a valley with lush green plants. Going all the stone steps here, you will reach the temple of God Cao Son. The temple was built with its back to the mountain, the place to worship the god who ruled the Vu Lam mountain region in the south of Hoa Lu capital in the past.

Legend has it that Cao Son Dai Vuong was Lac general Vu Lam, and also the 17th son of King Lac Long Quan. God Cao Son and god Thien Ton and Quy Minh were the three gods who ruled at the three gateways of the West, East and South of Hoa Lu Ancient Capital in the past, so they built a temple to burn incense early in the morning to express their sincerity. .

This is the place to worship Zen Master Nguyen Minh Khong, the founder of the ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda. He was conferred a national teacher by the king and was worshiped by the people as Saint Nguyen.

Nearly 1000 years have passed, the ancient Bai Dinh pagoda is still there as a proof of the enduring vitality of Buddhism in the spiritual life of Vietnamese people. The pagoda includes attractions such as: Jade Well, Buddha’s Cave, Mother’s Cave, Saint Nguyen Minh Khong’s shrine and Cao Son’s shrine. In 1997, the pagoda was recognized as a national historical and cultural relic. 

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