Vietnam Famous Ancient Pagodas | The South
TÂY AN PAGODA (Meaning of the name: Pagoda on the west of An Giang Province )
Tây An Pagoda is situated on the crossroads of Sam Mountain, about five kilometres from Châu Đốc town, An Giang province, Phone number:(076) 863216.
The pagoda is famous for its historical and architectural values, among one of the most ancient and famous group of relics in the An Giang Province as Pagoda Tây An, Pagoda Phước Điền, Pagoda Hang (Cave), Sir Thoại Ngọc Hầu Tomb and Lordess of the Region Temple (Bà Chúa Xứ). The pagoda has been built since Thieu Tri resign of 1847 by Doan Uẩn Governor. In 1861, the main hall and its Patriarchal House were restored by the Most Venerable Nhất Thừa After many times of renovation, the present-time architecture was restored by the Most Venerable Bửu Thọ in 1958.
The two words of Tây An which has many different meanings. It is argued that the word Tây (West) meaning the materials to build the Pagoda coming from the West Town, West City on the land of An Giang ; other meaning is that the pagoda build on the west of An Giang or that Tây is the southwest of the country, the desire to explore the new lands, from now people will settle permanently settling.
Standing on a mountain overlooking the town, leaning against a mountain range in the rear and surrounded by dense ancient trees, the pagoda is indeed a beauty spot amidst nature. The pagoda architecture now is a combination of Hindu and Islamic arts coloured by Vietnamese national features.
At the main triple gate is the Statue of the Holy Lady Thị Kính carrying Thị Mầu’s infant represent for the infinity compassionate of the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva. On the veranda stand two elephant statues, a two tusks black one and a six tusks white one. The white Elephant refers to the story of Maya Queen dreamed the 6 tusk white elephant carrying a Bodhisattva on the back and then give birth to Siddhartha Prince, that is Shakyamuni Buddha. The 2 tusk black elephant named Ô long, a royal one, has led the state army to attack the enemy, and thorough burial after death.
2 black & white Tay An Elephants at the gate
In the main hall, there are more than 200 wooden statues, most of these are highly-valued works of art, each of which represents a Buddhist philosophical attitude. The most lively ones are the Four Celestial Kings’ Statues, namely, Dhatarattha, King of the East, Virupakkha, King of the West, Kuvera, King of the North, Virulhaka, King of the South, and a set of the Eight Vajras (the Diamond Gods), Dharma- Guardians. Besides, there are many gilded and vermillion-painted horizontal panels with elaborate carvings and vertical ones with parallel sentences engraved by expert craftmen from An Giang and Đồng Tháp province in the 19th century. The most remarkable among the stupas behind the Pagoda is that of the Tay An Buddha Monk (Phat Thay). The Buddha Monk, whose lay name is Doan Minh Huyen of Tong Sơn (Sa-Dec) origin, was born in the year of the Cat (1807) and died in the Dragon year (1856). As a progressive Buddhist monk, founder of the Buu Son Ky Huong Buddhismin 1849, he set out on his preaching tour propagating the Dharma and treating countless patients around the countryside and became very popular since then. Also the Finally he lived in seclusion at Tay An Pagoda, where he was so much admired for his virtue and talent that he became well-known as the Tay An Buddha Monk. Every year, these main holidays are celebrated at Tay An Pagoda: the Full moon Day of the First lunar month, the Full moon day of the Tenth lunar Month, and the Death Anniversary of the Tay An Buddha Monk () on the Twelfth Day of the Eighth Lunar Month.
Countless pilgrim from different towns and cities come to visit the pagoda on these occasions and attend the Mount Sam Festivals lasting from the First lunar month to the Fourth lunar month in Chau Đốc County
This Buddhist Pagoda is the national historical and cultural relic.
Translated and adapted from Trần Phuong Lan – Danh Lam Vietnam, Pictures: Võ Văn Tường