Trúc Lâm Temple: A Look Inside the Buddhist Pagoda On Hon Tre Island
One of a few parts of Vinpearl Island that doesn’t go explored as much is the temple that rests at the top of the cliff, overlooking the ocean. This is Trúc Lâm Temple. The building itself is more difficult to see than the statue that stands tall beside it (as you can see from my view of the place, as I’m standing on the beach outside the Vinpearl resort hotel). From the hotel, anyone who wishes to visit the temple can do so either by vehicle transport up the road, or by climbing the 222 stairs that weave their way up the side of the mountain. Seeing as though we had my grandma with us at the time, and we’re a bit more lazy than we should be, we opted for a car ride to the temple.
There’s a dress code here that should be obeyed. No shorts, skirts, sleeveless shirts or even tops that show a fair amount of skin. Ladies shouldn’t wear any clothing that reveals their shoulders or upper arms too much. Basically, dress must respect the code of the temple. If you are staying at Vinpearl resort, the details of what were allowed and not allowed are explained to you. We mostly wore blue jeans and t-shirts, which are fine. They also had no problem with me bringing my camera inside, so I was able to capture a lot of photos of the place.
I don’t have any video, however I still want to give you an idea of what the temple is like. To do this then, please play the audio file linked below while viewing the image gallery. The audio is a direct recording of what I heard while walking around this peaceful place. The recording is 3:38 long, so if you’d like to continue listening longer than that, simply restart it.
Notice that there are dozens of wind chimes throughout the pagoda, and since there is a breeze here year round, this pleasant chime rings loud throughout the temple’s exterior. Trúc Lâm Temple is a place of peace, promoting the objectives of recreating the spirit of Zen Buddhism during the Trần Dynasty, which ruled the lands from 1225 to 1400. The architecture is fascinating, with each building having similarly styled walls and roof. The pagoda structure emulates the shape of “quo,” which translates to “the nation” – the traditional architecture of Northern pagodas with shoe-shaped tiles, bow roof and curved endings in the shape of crane, lion and tortoise etc. The whole architecture is featured by ironwood sculptured with patterns of 4 natural sacred animals, cement walls, perrons made of Ninh Binh stone, worship statures and horizontal boards and parallel sentences made by gilded lacquer wood.
Trúc Lâm Pagoda is composed of a number of buildings namely Dai Hung Sanctuary, Hau to, Western Lean-to, Eastern Lean-to, Dia Tang temple, Buddist house etc. The highlight of this architecture is the outdoor statue of the Goddess of Mercy, whose left hand lifts a jar and right hand bears a willow branch. She stands with a solemn posture and merciful facial expression while overlooking the sea. The statue is carved from the white stone of Nghe An, with an 8 meter high body and 4.3 meter high pedestal that’s shaped like the waves of the sea. It’s made from cement and iron (total length of the statue is 12.3 meters) is solemnly positioned in the flower garden on the right hand side of the pagoda.
You can read some more about the temple from the official page on the Vinpearl website.