Tu Quang Pagoda

Tu Quang Pagoda, also known with the full name as “To dinh Sac tu Tu Quang”, is an over 200-year ancient pagoda. It is located on a land filled with white stones in Can Luong village, An Dan Commune, Tuy An District, Phu Yen Province, about 500 meters apart from National Highway 1A to the west.

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The Tu Quang pagoda has a total area of 5,000 meter squares. It also has another name, which is “Da Trang” (literally “White Stone”) or “Bach Thach Tu Quang tu” because the pagoda was built on a beautiful hill filled with white stones

 

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The mango orchard area in the Tu Quang Pagoda

 

According to the introduction of the superior monk Thich Dong Giai, who is currently the abbot of Linh Dai Pagoda (Hoa Da Commune, Tuy An District, Phu Yen Province), To dinh Sac tu Tu Quang was founded by the Zen master Dieu Nghiem in 1797.

 

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The main worship place with a simple and rustic architecture

 

Master Phap Chuyen – Luat Truyen – Dieu Nghiem (1738-1810) was the 36th-generation heir of the Lin-chi Chuc Thanh Zhen Buddhism (Lam Te Chuc Thanh). The Lam Te Chuc Thanh Zen Buddhism was a subsidiary of the Lin-chi tsung in China.

 

In 1793, Master Phap Chuyen – Luat Truyen – Dieu Nghiem came to this land and built a small leaf house. He wanted to find a peaceful place for translating the Hoa Nghiem Sutra. 4 years later (1797), the Master set up a leaf pagoda. In 1889, the pagoda was conferred by Emperor Thanh Thai of the Vietnamese Nguyen dynasty. In 1929, the pagoda was damaged by a fire. The monks had to run a campaign to motivate Buddhists everywhere to donate to rebuild the pagoda.

 

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Buddha statues are organized solemnly in the pagoda

 

Visiting Tu Quang pagoda, you will not only hear about the history of Emperor Nguyen Quang Toan – the third and last emperor of the Tay Son dynasty, but you can also admire the impressive stony path, the garden where the antique To Tower of Dai Thua sect located or the great Buddhist bell which weighs 330 kilograms and was molded by the monk Phap Ngu in Phu Xuan capital during the 9th Duy Tan period. Moreover, referring to To dinh Sac tu Tu Quang – White Stone Pagoda, people usually remember one famous kind of mango which has been a subject in Vietnamese folk poems or folk tales. In the past, this kind of mango was used as one of the valuable items to dedicate to the emperor. People named it after the place where it grew – “Da Trang” mango (literally white stone mango)

 

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One of the 200-year old mango trees in the Tu Quang’s Pagoda ground

 

The Da Trang mango has a mild aroma and freshly yellow color when it is ripe. During the Nguyen dynasty, the mangoes were usually dedicated to the emperor. Each year, Phu Yen Province’s people had to dedicate from 1000 to 2000 Da Trang mangoes. The mangoes were valuable but they were rare as well. There were times that the authorities forced their servants to carefully watch under the trees and pick up whenever they saw any ripe mangoes.

 

In 1997, To dinh Sac tu Tu Quang was nominated as a national historical site.

 

Recently, the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment organization said that among 13 kinds of trees that the Vietnam Heritage Tree Council recognized this time, the group of Da Trang mango trees was included as well. The group of Da Trang mango trees has 20 trees in total which are over 200 years old. They were planted in the ground of the National Historical Site To dinh Sac tu Tu Quang.

 

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The ancient To Tower is still remained sound after years

 

The “old” Da Trang mango trees have less fruits nowadays. The Phu Yen people are currently researching to preserve and propagate this valuable kind of mango tree.

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