Giac Ngo Pagoda is located at 92 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Ward 3, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City. The pagoda campus has an area of 695m2 and was firstly built in 1946. In the present, it is famous because this place has many practical and helpful activities for society. This is also the living and working place of Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Tu, who has profound Buddhist knowledge.
1. History of Giac Ngo Pagoda
In 1946, Tran Phu Huu, a Buddhist and also a government official, built Giac Ngo Pagoda on a land lot of 695m2 to help everybody improve their minds to gradually erase the pains in life.
In 1956, Tran Phu Huu donated all the land and Giac Ngo Pagoda to the South Vietnam Sangha. The chief of the Sangha at that time was Venerable Thich Thien Hoa, also the director of the Buddhist School of the South Vietnam Sangha, representing for the Sangha to receive. Later, Tran Phu Huu became a Buddhist monk.
In 1964, the pagoda was rebuilt by Venerable Thich Thien Hoa, Deputy Chief of the Unified Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam. In 1970, the pagoda was newly built to a grandiose appearance by Thich Nhat Niem. In 2013, the pagoda was newly built by Philosophy Ph.D., Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Tu.
2. Architecture of Giac Ngo Pagoda
The current construction of Giac Ngo Pagoda consists of a basement for parking and 7 floors, with a total construction area of 3,476m2. The main hall of the pagoda consists of 2 floors, the 1st floor consists of 412m2 and the mezzanine on the 2nd floor consists of 300m which can accommodate about 700 people at the same time. The third floor is the meditation hall. The 4th floor is the library. The remaining floors serve Buddhist education activities and worship other Buddhas. Beside the 7-floor building mentioned above, the back also has a monk house row and from the left looking from outside, there is a house row worshiping the bones of the dead Buddhists.
3. Activity at the pagoda
In 1959, the Nam Viet Sangha established the Cholon Bodhi Secondary and Primary School. This is the first private school in South Vietnam of Buddhism. In 1979, Venerable Thich Tri Tinh founded the Thien Hoa Buddhist Primary Institution.
In the present, the pagoda has practical and useful activities for society. The temple regularly organizes various types of retreats, suitable for each age group such as the “One Peaceful Day” retreat for people aged 40 and over, the “Buddha Oriented Youth” retreat for people from 13 to 39 years old, “compassionate lotus bud” retreat for children from 3 to 12. The pagoda regularly organizes the wedding ceremony for Buddhists, helping them build happy families.
4. Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Tu
Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Tu has the birth name as Tran Ngoc Thao, born in Saigon on April 1, 1969. He joined the monkhood in 1984 at Giac Ngo Pagoda with Venerable Thich Thien Hue at the age of 14. He led this pagoda from 1992 to 1994. After that, he studied abroad in India and got a Ph.D. in philosophy in 2001. He then returned to lead the pagoda until now. He is a Buddhist monk having profound knowledge about Buddhism. He advocated bringing Buddhist thought closer to people.