Sacred temple of Saint Nguyen Ninh Binh

The Temple of Saint Nguyen is an ancient temple in Diem village, ancient Trang An district (now in Gia Thang and Gia Tien communes, Gia Vien district, Ninh Binh). The temple was built on the foundation of a pagoda called Vien Quang, founded by Nguyen Minh Khong in 1121. When he died, the people of Dam Xa gratefully turned Vien Quang pagoda into a temple to worship Saint Nguyen. Saint Nguyen Temple was ranked as a National Architectural and Artistic Monument in February 1989.

Sacred temple of Saint Nguyen Ninh Binh
Sacred temple of Saint Nguyen Ninh Binh

Facing south, parallel to King Dinh Street towards the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, the Temple is considered a relic in the four towns of Hoa Lu. The temple is located on a plot of land 100m long and more than 40m wide. The overall architectural work is quite large-scale, built in the style of foreign internal construction. Entering the temple, take two paths, East and West, with two soaring flagpoles on both sides. The first thing we see is Vong Lau with a stone lamp standing on the gable end over a meter high. This is the symbol of the lamp that Nguyen Minh Khong used to light in the past to meditate. Legend has it that the lamp naturally grew. Nguyen Minh Khong often sat next to the lamp at night and was surrounded by birds and animals. The light of the lamp illuminated the clouds in the sky, so people around the area worshiped him as Zen Master Minh Khong.

The Temple’s architecture has 4 buildings made in the first and later style. The five front halls are made in the style of stacking beams, with large roofs, rat-tail beams, pairs of longitudinal beams, horizontal beams, and underarm beams, attached to strong columns like tight, precise ridges, distributed in each direction. location so as not to affect the load bearing of the column. The high middle space on the outside has a scroll carved with four Chinese characters, “Heaven gives birth to Saints”. Inside, there are two very rare drums with a diameter of 1.4 m. In the innermost part is the main mausoleum with 5 compartments worshiping Nguyen Minh Khong and his parents. Behind the main temple is a two-story bell tower with eight roofs, also made entirely of ironwood. The steeple hangs a bell weighing more than 1 ton and 1.60 m high. Around the temple there are many ancient trees with green foliage, shading a large space. Ornamental flower pots adorn the Temple with a gentle, pure beauty… All create an extremely solemn and quiet village landscape.

Like the temples worshiping Cao Son god, Thien Ton god and Quy Minh god in Hoa Lu four towns, Thanh Nguyen temple festival takes place on the same occasion as the festival of Hoa Lu ancient capital every year.

Saint Nguyen Minh Khong was born on October 15, 1065. After his death (in 1141), he was given the title Ly Quoc Su by the Ly dynasty (a high monk with the leading position in the Ly dynasty in Vietnamese history). . Thanks to his great contributions in curing King Ly and the people, he and Tran Hung Dao were honored by the Vietnamese people as Saints: Saint Nguyen, Saint Tran.

National teacher Nguyen Minh Khong is the bearer of the Ly dynasty. He has researched, learned, and collected traditional medical knowledge. Every day, he diligently searched for medicine in the Sinh Duoc garden to cure the strange disease of King Ly Than Tong and his people. In addition, he was also instrumental in learning the techniques of burning and mixing bronze to revive the craft of bronze casting – the quintessence of Dong Son civilization – ancient Vietnamese civilization. He was a man of profound education, a good physician, a Zen master, and then from a monk in his hometown of Trang An, he was invited to the capital city of Thang Long to become a National Master – a leading mandarin in the clergy. domestic.

In his hometown of Ninh Binh, there are many other temples dedicated to Saint Nguyen. Among them is the temple of Saint Nguyen in the Bai Dinh Pagoda Mountain Spiritual Cultural Area, where he discovered caves and turned them into pagodas when he came here to find medicinal plants to cure King Ly Than Tong. At Dich Long Pagoda in Gia Vien district, which is known as the third “Nam Thien Cave”, or the third most beautiful cave of the Southern Heavens, there is also a temple and statue of him. Hoa Lu cave relic area worships his statue together with the statue of King Dinh Tien Hoang in the ancient temple. Ly Quoc Su is also worshiped at Ngo Dong communal house, Gia Phu commune, Gia Vien and To Hien Thanh temple under Cam Guom mountain on Hoang Long river, Nhat Tru pagoda and Am Tien cave in Hoa Lu ancient capital. At Thuong temple in Khanh Phu commune and Tam Thanh temple in Khanh An commune, Yen Khanh, he is honored as the Great Saint.

In addition, Saint Nguyen is also worshiped at a number of pagodas in the North such as: Quynh Lam Pagoda – Trang An Commune, Dong Trieu, Quang Ninh; Co Le Pagoda – Co Le Town, Nam Ninh, Nam Dinh; Keo Pagoda – Duy Nhat Commune, Vu Thu, Thai Binh.

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