Vietnam Famous Ancient Pagodas | Central Area |
THIÊN MỤ (Heaven old Lady) PAGODA
Location: Hà Khê hill, on the left bank of the Hương (Perfume) River, Nguyễn Phúc Nguyên Street, Huế City, Thừa Thiên Huế Province, 5km from the Huế City. An oldest pagoda in the Hue area.
The name Thiên Mụ (meaning Heaven old lady) comes from the legend that when Lord Nguyễn Hoàng came and governed the Thuận Hóa area, on tour to this place there was an old lady on the hill said to build a Buddhist Pagoda here to gather the supernatural power of the land in order to prolong forever the existance of the country. In 1601 (the buffalo year of Lunar calendar), Lord Nguyễn Hoàng ordered the Pagoda built and named it Thiên Mụ Tự (Pagoda of Heaven Old Lady).
Under the reign of King Tự Đức it was again renamed Linh Mụ Tự. In 1665, it was again renovated by Lord Nguyễn Phúc Tần. In 1695, Thạch Liêm Zen master from China was invited by Lord Nguyễn to be its abbot.
In 1710, Lord Nguyễn Phúc Chu had a bell cast weighing 3285 kilograms and measuring 2.5 meters in height. Four years later, the lord had the Pagoda broadly renovated and sent delegates to China to obtain the 1.000-volume “Three baskets of Sayings” for safekeeping in the Pagoda. In 1715, the lord erected a 2.58m-high memorial steles, which rests on an marble tortoise and is inscribed with verses of praise for this scienic Pagoda.
In 1844, King Thiệu Trị had a octagonal , 7-storey, 21m-high tower built outside of Nghi Môn (Ceremonial Gate) gate, then called Từ Nhân (Compassionate) tower, later renamed Phước Duyên (Good fortune)Tower.
Arriving Thiên Mụ Pagoda, after climbing many veranda steps to reach the Phước Duyên Tower and after that is Nghi Môn gate leading to the Buddha hall. In the back is a dinning room, a flower garden and a quiet beautiful pine park.
By 1943, however, the Pagoda lay in ruins until the Most venerable Thích Đôn Hậu began it`s a 30-year renovation 1945. On the 28th of August 2003 the Pagoda was again undergoing renovation.
This Pagoda is the national historical and cultural relic
Text & Pictures extracted from 108 Famous Ancient Pagodas in Vietnam by Võ Văn Tường & Trần Phương Lan and N Photogapher , our special thanks.