Coming to Sam Mountain area, after visiting Ba Chua Xu Temple and Thoai Ngoc Hau Tomb, you can visit Hang Pagoda, one Beauty spot hardly has which place being able to compare. This article helps you learn about the pagoda before you pick up backpacks to start the journey to explore it.
Hang Pagoda (The official name is Phuoc Dien Pagoda) is 1km from Ba Chua Xu Temple and Thoai Ngoc Hau Tomb and located in the slope of Sam Mountain. From the gate to the main hall, you have to pass 300 stone steps. The pagoda is built according to the ancient eastern architectural style – curved roof, red tile, but higher and more comfortable. It has a main face of 11m, a side face of 10 m, a high bluestone foundation covered brick, lime-covered brick walls, reinforced concrete pillars, tile roofs. In the pagoda, there are many horizontal lacquered boards and wood panel pairs with Chinese words carved skillfully. The middle at the back of the main hall has the statue of Shakiamuni Buddha with the gentle face. Two sides have the statues of Manjushry and Samantabhadra Bodhisattvas. Under has Amitabha Buddha, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, and Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattca. Especially, in front of the statue has 2 very high big candles.
In front of the pagoda, there are pillars higher than 20 m. Right under the pagoda, there is a pair of lively cement lion statues. Standing here, you can look at the mountains, or admire the vast green fields below. From the gate looking up the left and right side of the main hall, there are other works for study and activities of monks.
From the main hall, you can visit main 2 main caves. The first cave is called Snake Cave. Right inside the cave mouth is the place worshiping Shakiamuni Buddha, whose statue is made of white stone. The way going to the cave is rather dark, the light is only through the slits of the mountain. On the way, there are 2 big statues of snakes showing 2 gods protecting the cave. Inside the cave, there is the place worshiping Amitabha Buddha, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, and Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattca. The second cave is darker than the firt cave. Especially, in the cave, there is the Thousand-hand Thousand-eye Buddha statue. According to Buddhism, the Thousand-hand Thousand-eye Buddha is Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva. She sees all unhappiness of living beings and does every works to help them. Against the wall, there are some statues of Bhaisajyaguru Buddha, each of which has a particular color. This shows the Buddha is anywhere, curing any diseases to help living beings.
It is known that Hang Pagoda was founded by Mrs.Le Thi Tho (nicknamed Mrs.Tho) and the Buddhist name Dieu Thien. The pagoda was built 1840 and initially, the pagoda was just a small bamboo-leaf pagoda. From then until now, the pagoda was rebuilt and restored many times.
The story is told, in the past, Mrs.Tho had a family, but because her husband’s family was too harsh, she had to hide to this border area, just picked up medicine to treat illnesses for everybody, and just wished to end her misery.
It is also said that there was a deep cave and in which there was a pair of fierce large snakes. However, since Mrs.Tho came to the pagoda, the pair of pythons was no longer fierce, but often lied quietly listening to the Buddhist books. She named them Thanh Xa, Bach Xa. When Mrs.Tho passed away, the snakes disappeared. Nun Dieu Thien passed away on June 15, the year of the Pig (1899). At that time, she is 81 years old. Today, in the folk still exist the copies of the book of Mrs.Tho teaching people to make good and avoid evil, the words easy to understand.
Coming to Hang Pagoda in the early morning, admiring the majestic natural landscape of Sam Mountain, somewhere with the aroma of incense and the sound of Buddhist books, pagoda bells, you will feel peaceful calm in your mind. With the majestic mountain and the mysterious cave landscape combined with the ancient architecture and its historical length, Hang Pagoda (or Phuoc Dien Pagoda) was recognized a National-level Historical Monument by the Ministry of Culture and Information of Vietnam on July 10, 1980.
Address: Nui Sam Ward, Chau Doc City, An Giang Province.