Mountain-peak pagoda to get facelift

VNA, Oct 23, 2005

Quang Ninh, Vietnam -- The upgrade of the Dong (Bronze) pagoda, part of the 11-pagoda Yen Tu complex, kicked off at Yen Tu mountain, some 15km northwest of Uong Bi township in northeastern Quang Ninh province, on October 23.

Under the project, a new bronze pagoda, covering 20 sq. m. and weighing up to 70 tonnes, will be completely re-cast at the peak of the 1,068m Yen Tu mountain.

Other auxiliary works including the stone staircase leading to the pagoda and its backyard for worship activities will also be upgraded.

Funding for the project, estimated at more than 13.2 billion VND (over 800,000 USD), will be contributed by businesses and individuals at home and abroad.

The upgrade is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2006 and is expected to open to pilgrims at the 2007 Yen Tu Spring Festival, which often lasts for two months from the 15th day of the first lunar month.

In a letter sent to the ceremony, Most Venerable Thich Thanh Tu, Vice President of the Executive Council of the Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha and President of the executive board of Quang Ninh's provincial Buddhist church, expressed his hope that the Dong pagoda project and the upgrading of the entire Yen Tu relic site will help turn Yen Tu into a popular tourism attraction.

The Most Venerable called on all people who are interested in Viet Nam's traditional culture to contribute in various ways to the project.

The Yen Tu historical relic and scenic site was the cradle of Truc Lam, a Buddhist sect founded by Viet Nam's King Tran Nhan Tong (1258-1308). The King decided to establish the Truc Lam sect, characterised by the spirit of serving the interests of both Buddhism and the nation, after he had defeated the Mongols and passed the throne to his son. Since then Yen Tu has been considered as Viet Nam's Buddhist centre.