Friday,  10/15/2021

Promoting the unique value of Amitabha Buddha statue at Tam Thanh Pagoda

(LSO) – Tam Thanh Pagoda is one of the famous historical – cultural relics of Xu Lang. In the temple, there is currently a statue of Amitabha Buddha with many historical and cultural values. In order to preserve it, over the past time, the City People’s Committee has been taking many positive actions to contribute to preserving and promoting the unique values ​​of this precious artifact.

Visiting Tam Thanh pagoda, in addition to being overwhelmed by the unique and sacred space, visitors are also attracted by a statue of Amitabha Buddha. Currently, the statue is being worshiped in the Forbidden Palace right after the Triple Jewels. The space of the stone together with the light has made the statue even more sacred and magical. Ms. Dao Thi Thuy, Dong Tam commune, Ninh Giang district, Hai Duong province, visitors to Tam Thanh pagoda relics shared: “This pagoda is very beautiful, sacred and famous, I and my relatives visit it every year. The pagoda has a very unique Buddha Amitabha statue, I have not seen it anywhere else…”

Staff of Nhi – Tam Thanh relic area cleans the altar at Amitabha palace, Tam Thanh pagoda

Master Nong Duc Kien, Director of Lang Son Museum, who dedicated for many of his years to researching Tam Thanh pagoda relic and festival, said: “Amitabha statue at Tam Thanh pagoda is very valuable in term of history and visual arts, with many feature from the layout to the lines, especially the face with the style of the Le Dynasty in the 17 – 18th centuries. This statue is a unique highlight of Nhi – Tam Thanh historical relic, To Thi mountain, Mac Citadel.”

In order to contribute to preserving and promoting the value of Amitabha Buddha statue at Tam Thanh pagoda, recently, the City People’s Committee has had many practical solutions. Specifically, in 2018, the City People’s Committee assigned the City Project Management Board to install a system of 4 lights around the statue; assigned the City Culture and Sports Center to print 10,000 leaflets introducing the beauty and value of Nhi – Tam Thanh scenic area and Amitabha Buddha statue. In 2019, the City People’s Committee coordinated with the University of Social Sciences and Humanities to organize a seminar on  Nhi – Tam Thanh relic, To Thi mountain, Mac Citadel with the theme “Cultural heritages and potential tourism” including research content to clarify the carving style of Amitabha statue at Tam Thanh pagoda. In addition, annually, the City People’s Committee also directs the Culture – Sports Center to promote the relic in general and Amitabha Buddha statue in particular to tourists.

According to historical documents, Amitabha Buddha was created in appoximately the 1677-1680 period, along with the time of restoration and repair of Tam Thanh Pagoda (Thanh Thien Dong) contributed by the family of  Vi Duc Thang, as known as Van Tho from Khuat Xa commune, Loc Binh administrative division (now Khuat Xa commune, Loc Binh district). The statue is carved in a standing position of more than 2 meter high on a small square platform of 15cm high, both the statue and the standing platform are carved in a standing bodhi leaf of 2.6 m high. Above the bodhi leaf stalk is connected to a bottle gourd with straps on both sides, the body of the bottle gourd is engraved with 4 Chinese characters “Amitabha Buddha”. Buddha has a round face, long ears and a large bun, high neck, low shoulders. His legs are upright, body is wearing a smock, his left hand hold as fist, holding the shirt cross, placed above the navel, the right hand is stretched out, the palm facing out.

Mr. Nguyen Hong Khanh, Director of the City Center for Culture – Sports said: “In the coming time, we will advise the City People’s Committee to continue researching, looking for additional documents related to Amitabha statue for more specific conservation plans. In addition, it is necessary to strengthen the promotion and introduction of the image and value of this statue to domestic and foreign tourists. In particular, it also needs to advise the City People’s Committee on plans to increase the value of this unique statue.

Amitabha Buddha, whose Sanskrit name is Amita Buddha, meaning Infinite light and Infinite Life, is the lord of the Western Polar Bliss world. In Vietnam, Amitabha Buddha statues usually have two forms including sitting and standing. Currently, Amitabha statues in the temples are often carved in a sitting position, large in size, belonging to the set of three-dimensional Amitabha statues including Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara – Amitabha Buddha – Great World Bodhisattva.Standing statues of Amitabha are rare and mostly made of wood.