Xa Loi Pagoda
the largest pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City
"But we know it has to be very close to the Xa Loi Pagoda and that 15,000 is really way too expensive and we bargain to 7,000 dong pp. We sit down in the cyclo and I have to say it is quite pleasant, not five minutes later we are there. The cyclists don't want us to pay yet and say they'll wait until we get back from the Xa Loi Pagoda, but don't feel like it and we just pay.
We are directly approached by people who want to sell us incense and we almost have to make an effort to get to the Pagoda. What is striking is that you do not have to pay an entrance fee and that it is very quiet inside, so no hassle from sellers on your mind. We look around a bit and relax here. After we put some money in a donation jar we leave the Pagoda."
Xa loi Pagoda (HCMC)
De Xa Loi Pagoda - is the largest pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City. It is as famous for its dramatic history as it is for its beautiful statues, towers and intricately carved panels. Once the pagoda was the center of Buddhism and the complex was home to the famous Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc.
The pagoda was built in 1956 and is located in district 3 (Ho Chi Minh City is divided into 19 districts).
The Main Hall with the Golden Buddha
On August 21, 1963, truckloads of armed men attacked the pagoda, which had also become a center of opposition to Ngo Dinh Diem's government. The temple was ransacked by the soldiers. The raid was organized by President Diem's brother. About 400 monks and nuns, including the country's 80-year-old Buddhist patriarch, were arrested.
This raid strengthened opposition to the regime. It was a crucial factor in the US decision to support the coup d'état against Roman Catholic President Ngo Dinh Diem.
There were also a number of self-immolations at the pagoda, in which monks tragically set themselves on fire in protest against the regime of Ngo Dinh Diem. Xa Loi Pagoda is also the final resting place of Thich Quang Duc after his world famous self-immolation to protest the oppression of Buddhists. Although the memory is still alive, today it is a peaceful place of worship with a large golden Buddha statue in a seated position atop a lotus blossom. Beautiful panels in the pagoda
When visiting the temple, make sure that you are not wearing shorts and that your shoulders are covered. The pagoda is designed according to a modern architectural style, but still has features of Vietnamese traditional architecture. It has the second tallest bell towers among Vietnamese pagodas and some treasures, including a relic of Buddha and the more than 1,000-year-old prayer book in the Pali language.
Women enter the main hall of Xa Loi Pagoda through the stairs on the right as you enter the gate. The men use the stairs on the left.
This hall has a gigantic golden Sakyamuni (Buddha). There is only one large statue of the Gautama Buddha in the Main Hall. In 1969 the statue was completely gilded with gold. The walls of the great hall are decorated with 15 large panels. The hall can accommodate 400 people. Behind the main hall is another hall with a panel by Bodhidharma, an Indian monk, who is celebrated as the father of Zen Buddhism. He is depicted here with a shoe on a stick (the story goes that when Bodhidharma's casket was opened after his death, it was empty except for one shoe). The library, back rooms and a dining room surround the great hall.
The tower houses a large bell of two tons with a diameter of 1.2 meters and a height of 1.6 meters. The bell is made of copper and resembles the design of the bell at the famous Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue. The tower is 32 meters high and has seven floors.
Outside in the garden is a bodhi tree that was brought from Colombo, Sri Lanka. At the base of the tree is a statue of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, consecrated in 1958.
In Buddhism, the bodhi tree is a sacred tree because Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, reached bodhi (enlightenment) under a bodhi tree. There is a bodhi tree in many Buddhist temples.
At the Bodhi Boom