Thursday, 16 June 2016

The 15 Day trip to Vietnam - The Mandarin Route - Day 9 (morning) - Hanoi - the Tran Quoc Pagoda - The 26th of May 2016

Early in the morning we headed to Ho Tay or West Lake, one of Hanoi's two beautiful lakes separated by the Red River. Ho Tay is siad to be associated with the Trinh Lords who built palaces and Buddhist Temples and pavilions along its shores, many of which no longer exist.

The Tran Quoc Pagoda, which we visited was built during the reign of the Trinh Lord Ly Nam (544-8) on the banks of the Red river and later (in the 17th century) moved to the current location.

Designed according to the strict rules of Buddhist architecture, the precinct of Tran Quoc comprises a stupa composed of 11 floors, each of which with a vaulted window holding a statue of Amitabha made from gemstone. The huge number of lotus flower statues symbolize purity of mind, body and speech, with the lotus flowers symbolizing enlightenment and achivement.

In the pagoda's garden stands a bodhi tree said to be grafted from the holy bodhi tree where Sakyamuni sat in zen position and achieved enlightenment 25 centuries ago. Female Buddhas, known as "Mothers" ae worshipped here with Green Mother having the domain over the mountains and forests, the White one the water and the Red Mother over the sky.

The whole ensemble has a great deal of Buddhist symbolism but the fact is that despite creeds and any other religious inclinations it is a site that sets a tone for reflexion because of its peaceful surrounding atmosphere. 


(To be continued)

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