ExperiencesCity & CultureContemplating the New Year's Buddha ceremony at Huong Pagoda
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City & Culture

Contemplating the New Year's Buddha ceremony at Huong Pagoda

Translated by Bing
Every Tet to spring, people across the country make pilgrimages to the land of Buddha and to Huong Pagoda. This year, due to the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, on February 16, 2022 (ie January 16), Huong Son scenic relic (Huong Pagoda) officially opened.

Huong Pagoda is located in Huong Son commune, My Duc district, Hanoi city. This is a famous cultural and religious complex with many temples and pagodas. Over hundreds of years, the Perfume Pagoda Festival has become a beauty in the culture of the nation, imbued with folk beliefs associated with agriculture.

Huong Pagoda consists of 4 pilgrimage routes: Huong Tich route, Thanh Son route, Long Van route and Tuyet Son route. In particular, Huong Tich route is chosen by more people. With this itinerary, you will go from Duc pier to Trinh Temple, Thien Tru pagoda, Huong Tich cave to Gia Oan pagoda. Each location has a different way of shopping and celebrating.

From the gathering place is Duc wharf, you will be able to go down the Yen stream to enter the pure realm. Yen Stream is the only route that anyone who wants to make a pilgrimage must go through. The stream is not too long but enough to captivate anyone with the poetic scenery of the mountains and forests. During the water lily season, the purple flowers bloom to add to the gentle beauty of this stream.

After taking a ferry through Duc wharf, Yen stream, you will reach Trinh temple. As the name suggests, this is the place where you "present" to the gods on Mount Five Music, which is a temple to a mountain god. Here, the offerings are salty such as chicken, pork, spring rolls ... This is also the only place of salty worship in the complex of destinations at Huong Pagoda.

Leaving Trinh temple, you board the boat to continue up the Yen stream towards Huong Pagoda. In spring, the spring water is clear and cool. Sitting on the boat, you will have time to enjoy the chilly and calm atmosphere. The two sides do not see the shore, but only vast rice fields. The spring rain makes the scenery of Huong Son blurry.

Get off the boat, follow the big bluestone road, you will reach Thien Tru Pagoda. When passing through the South Tianmen Gate, please note that you enter the door on the right (pseudo-mandarin) and exit through the door on the left (no mandarin). The main door (center) is only for Heavenly Prince, the higher rank, the entrance and exit steps. t offerings, burning incense and officiating at the altar of Monsignor. This is followed by placing the ceremony on the incense court of the main hall, lighting incense lamps, and making offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Incense offerings at Thien Tru Pagoda can only be purchased for vegetarian ceremonies such as incense, fresh flowers, ripe fruits, short products, sticky rice tea ... It is strictly forbidden to offer salty offerings in the area of the main Buddhist hall, which is the main place of worship of the temple. 

Continuing the journey, you will see Tien Son Pagoda located on the high mountain slope on the right. Tien Son Pagoda has the main hall leaning on the side of the mountain, the front courtyard is very airy and can cover a deep green mountain forest. To the left of the main hall is a cave with nearly half a meter tall Buddha statues of clear white stalactites, seen through from front to back. In addition, there are stone slabs that when knocked on emit an echo like a bell, bass like a drum, and a cup like a muzzle.

Leaving the stone cave, perhaps at this time, continue to climb two more slopes, you will see the five words "Southern Heavenly First Cave" penned by Lord Zheng Sam at the entrance of Huong Tich cave. On the ceiling of Huong Tich cave hangs down nine stalactites shaped like nine dragons adoring a block of stalactites under the cave floor, called "Kowloon Painting Chau". In addition to offering incense, prayerfully towards Buddha, some people have the habit of catching drops of water falling from the stalactites on the roof of the cave to pray for a blessed and peaceful New Year.

Perfume Pagoda smokes all year round, not only a tourist attraction but also a spiritual destination for many people, who want to return to the land of Buddha. The Huong Pagoda Festival is also a place to converge and preserve unique national cultural activities with unique activities such as boating, climbing, paddling, singing,... 

Photo: Internet

Image source: Multiple authors
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