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Me Tri Thuong Temple

History

Formerly, Me Tri area had mostly low-lying fields, in front of the village’s gate, there was a mound which looked like a turtle crawling out of the water onto the land. In Ly dynasty, the mound is called Quy Son (Turtle Mountain). Me Tri, at that time, was famous for the delicious rice selected to offer to the King, so the King named this village Me Tri (which meant the Pond of Rice in Chinese). In the beginning of the Nguyen Dynasty, the population of Me Tri was increasingly crowded, and Me Tri were divided into two villages of Thuong and Ha (Upper and Lower), in Dich Vong, Tu Liem, Hoai Duc, Ha Noi.

Me Tri Thuong temple

Me Tri Thuong Pagoda was built in Le Dynasty. Legend has it that a monk whose name is Lo Quang Thich Duong, passed the area and saw the convenient and well located land; therefore, he asked the village to permit him to build a temple to worship the Buddhist. Supported by the villagers, the monk had the temple built and named it Thien Truc temple. Quang Lo Thich Duong himself became the abbot (the head monk) here.

In 2014, Me Tri Thuong temple was restored. In addition to the massive triple gate which was completely built new, the other items such as moon pool, main hall, the Ancestral altar and the Mother altar were embellished and upgraded. The old trees as well as the basic architecture has been preserved.

Architecture

Undergone several reconstruction, restoration, today, the temple basically keeps the architectural features of Nguyen Dynasty in a fairly extensive campus. The main works include the gate, the forecourt, the main worship hall and the corridor running along the backyard, along with the back area forming a surface in form of  “nội công ngoại quốc” (internal shape looks like Chinese character “cong” 工, and external shape looks like character “quốc”国), the main gate faces the southwest.

The three- door gate of Me Tri Thuong Pagoda consists of floors with a bell and a musical stone upstairs on two sides. The main entrance is between two rows of small areca trees, on the right, there is a  lake and there is also a newly built rain praying tower. Next, there is a 2-storey hall standing on 16 stone columns and borders the yard. In two sides of the yard, there are graves tower and trees on the ground in front of the forecourt area.

Wood architecture of the temple, in general, is simple with mainly smooth shaving. Particularly, the junction between the forecourt and the main hall, there are 2 pictures carved with images of Tứ linh (four supernatural creatures of dragon, unicorn, tortoise and phoenix). Along the front yard, there are the two doors leading into the temple courtyard. In the back court, there are Ancestral and Mother worship halls.

Values

Me Tri Thuong temple has stilled preserved 33 Buddha statues, 8 Ancestral monk statues and 5 statues of Holy Mother. They are mainly the typical representatives of work architecture and art of the 19th century; in addition, there are a few more ancient statues dating from the late Le Dynasty (18th century). The Buddha statues were carved with the chiseled look and lines such as, most notably, the three Buddha statues of Tam Thế (the representatives of three worlds: Past- Present and Future) and  Di Đà tam tôn (The three Bodhisattvas).

In the temple, there is a bell casted in 1830 (under the reign of King Minh Mang), a copper “khánh” (musical instrument) made in 1855 (under the reign of King Tu Duc) and an incense censer produced in the beginning of Nguyen Dynasty. Artifacts having longer history include 2 stone steles from King Duy Tan time (in early 20th century) and some wooden worship items such as altars, 4 “cửa võng” (doors painted in fresco), 8 “hoành phi” (horizontal lacquered boards engraved with Chinese characters), 12 “câu đối”(pairs of wood plate inscribed parallel sentences). Recently, on the right side of the forecourt, the statue of standing Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva overlooking the lake was placed.

On 22nd April, 1992, Me Tri Thuong temple was recognized as a national art architecture heritage by the Ministry of Culture and Information. Previously, the temple was not massive, but the overall architecture was completely in harmony with the landscape including ponds, bamboo and surrounding fields. Especially, on the left of the forecourt, there is a big Thị (Gold Apple) tree with green leaves and lush foliage, the elders said that the tree is more than two hundred years old.

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