Thiền Viện Trúc Lâm Phương Nam or South Truc Lam Zen Buddhist Temple
Vietnamese Buddhism has a famous Zen sect is Trúc Lâm Yên Tử. This Zen sect has existed since the Trần Dynasty (1225 – 1400), when King Trần Nhân Tông left the throne, came to Yen Tu Mountain to live a religious life and founded Trúc Lâm Zen sect. From Yen Tu, this Zen sect spread everywhere, even abroad. If the Southeast of Vietnam has Thiền Viện Trúc Lâm (Truc Lam Zen Buddhist Temple) in Dalat being the largest, the Mekong River Delta has Thiền Viện Trúc Lâm Phương Nam (South Truc Lam Zen Buddhist Temple) in Cantho being largest. Traveling Cantho, we cannot ignore visiting this Temple.
Thiền Viện Trúc Lâm Phương Nam is located in My Nhon hamlet, My Khanh commune, Phong Dien district, Can Tho city, Vietnam. It is the largest Zen Buddhist Temple in the Mekong river delta, up to the time of 2014. The Temple was started building on July 16, 2013, on an area of 38,016m2. After several months of construction, it was inaugurated on May 17, 2014.
Coming to Thiền Viện Trúc Lâm Nam Phương Nam, hitting the visitor’s eyes is a three-entrance arched gate. The gate has three paths: a central path and two symmetrical paths. It is made of reinforced concrete. The roofs are bent and covered tiles, on the top and at the ends are decorated with patterns. The above, the middle of the central path is the name of the temple inscribed with gilded letters. The two sides of the main path have 2 Dharmapalas protecting the temple.
Stepping into the yard, we see the two sides are the statues of The Eighteen Arhats made of stone. Each god practiced according to a virtue and succeeded. In front of Chánh Điện (the main building), the two sides have 2 towers of bell and drum. Each tower has 3 floors and bent tile roofs. The drum tower and the bell tower are made in the style of Keo Pagoda in North Vietnam. The big bell has the weight of 1.5 tons.
The main Work of the temple is Chánh Điện. Chánh điện has an area of 600m2. The roofs are covered with tiles and bent at the ends. Inside Chánh Điện, there are big pillars made of ironwood imported from South Africa. They are decorated with panels carved skillfully. In the middle is the statue of Buddha Gautama Buddha is made of bronze, having the weight of 3.5 tons, carved in the sitting and flower holding posture. The two sides are the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra and Bodhisattava Manjushri made of wood.
Through the two hallway lines, coming to Nhà Tổ (Ancestor House). Nhà Tổ worships Bodhidharma, Trúc Lâm Tam Tổ (King Trần Nhân Tông before), Pháp Loa and Huyền Trang. The statues made of wood having the age of 800 years.
In the campus of the temple, there are 2 Tỉnh Tâm lakes. These lakes have lotuses and colorful fish making the campus fresher and cooler. The summerhouse on the right has Guanyin statue and the summerhouse on the left has Maitreya. Besides, there are other works such as One Pillar Pagoda, Lecture Hall, Guest House, Library, Oriental Medicine Room.
Thiền Viện Trúc Lâm Phương Nam is the largest Truc Lam Zen Buddhist Temple in the Mekong River Delta. The temple has a spacious campus, the landscape is fresh cool, the bell sound spread far. This is a destination for those who want to look for peace for a mind.