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Update: 07/06/2024
The historical complex of Thuong Temple - Phuc Long Pagoda is located in the southeast of Quan Trung hamlet, Yen Ve village, which is the present-day Phu An village of Khanh Phu commune. The entire relic is perched on a high land, approximately 1000 meters square.

The relic of Thuong Temple in Khanh Phu commune is a place of worship and commemoration of the great Zen master Giac Hai of the Ly dynasty. He had meritorious services to the Ly Nhan Tong dynasty and the land of Yen Ve.

( Phúc Long pagoda – Khánh Phú commune – Yên Khánh district)

The complex of Thuong Temple and Phuc Long Pagoda was built during the Ly Dynasty. On the uppermost beam of the roof, it is inscribed that the pagoda was restored in 1829. In addition to worshiping Buddha, the pagoda also worships Zen master Giac Hai's mother. Within the courtyard of the relic, one could also see a palace worshiping Princess Lieu Hanh, a Patriarch house, a mausoleum, and a tower. Giac Hai's mother was born in Yen Ve (present-day Khanh Phu commune). At the end of her life, she became a monk at Phuc Long Pagoda. According to tradition, after his death, people built a temple during his time next to Phuc Long pagoda in Yen Ve, now Khanh Phu. After the reign of King Ly Nhan Tong (1060-1127), about 1000 years ago.

(Thượng Temple – Khánh Phú commune –Yên Khánh district)

The Thuong Temple mainly worships Zen master Giac Hai. In addition, the Central Hall of the temple worships Tu Dao Hanh and Duong Khong Lo, two  contemporary monks as well as close friends of Giac Hai. Three monks used to travel together, regardless of difficulties and hardships, to find a way to China to study Buddhist teachings. In addition to studying, they often invited each other to visit landscapes, discuss life matters, and compose poems.

In the years before the August Revolution of 1945, on January 4th  every year, people in the area held a large ceremony and festival at Thuong Temple. They would organize a water procession from the centre of the Day River, followed by the custom of offering Banh Giay (rice cake), and organize contests for delicious and beautiful rice cakes. They would also organize folk games, not least wrestling competitions between wrestlers in the region. The wrestling competition was held in front of the temple yard to commemorate the merits of Mr. Giac Hai, who was instrumental in teaching and arousing the martial spirit of the people. Today, on the 4th of the first lunar month every year, the local people still hold sacrificial offering with rice cakes and  organizes the Divine wrestling contest.

The complex of Thuong Temple and Phuc Long Pagoda relics boasts typical architectural and artistic features of the Later Le and Nguyen dynasties. Despite experiencing many times of restoration and embellishment, from all outward appearances of the monument, the artistic decoration still features the bold architectural sculptural style of the Nguyen Dynasty.

The relic is associated with the name of Zen Master Giac Hai's mother, who had meritorious service to the Ly Dynasty, during the reign of King Ly Nhan Tong. The Thuong Temple and Phuc Long Pagoda are a testament to the land of the millennial culture of Ninh Binh province, of Yen Khanh district, Khanh Phu commune with relics and famous people that were written in the history book as well as passed down by folklore.

The entire relic area is relatively large in scale, combined with the open and rich natural landscape, this will be an attractive and interesting tourist attraction, thereby giving visitors a better understanding of the historical period. This was recognized by the Ministry of Culture and Information as a National Historical and Architectural Artistic Monument on December 12, 1994.

Source: Huyện đoàn Yên Khánh
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