Viet Nam News
QUẢNG NINH — Several cultural and religious activities will be held starting today at the Yên Tử historical site in the northern province of Quảng Ninh to celebrate the 710th anniversary of the attainment of Nirvana by King-Monk Trần Nhân Tông, founder of Việt Nam’s Zen Buddhism.
The celebration will kick off with a commemoration in the morning in the yard in front of the 12.6-metre bronze statue of the King-Monk, which is located on the holy Yên Tử Mountain at a height of 1,000 metres above sea level.
In the afternoon, a grand requiem ceremony will be held at Ngọa Vân Pagoda in the province’s Bình Khê Commune, Đông Triều Town, where the King entered Nirvana.
Also today, an international seminar entitled “Trần Nhân Tông and Zen Buddhism – Unique Cultural Thinking” will be held by the Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha Central Committee (VBS), the Hà Nội National University and the People’s Committee of Quảng Ninh Province at the Trúc Lâm Zen Commons. More than 400 researchers will attend the event and present 130 studies, 34 of which are by foreigners.
According to organisers, the seminar will highlight the significant role of Trần Nhân Tông’s cultural legacy and Zen Buddhism as well as its influence on Việt Nam’s history and culture from the past to the present.
The event will discuss Buddhism in its modern context and the differences in Buddhist practice in different countries.
In the evening, staff of Trúc Lâm Zen Commons will turn into performers, staging a performance featuring traditional music and art forms. A fashion show featuring pilgrim outfits by the An Lạc Tâm brand will also be held.
On Friday, a grand ritual will be held to celebrate the 710th anniversary of the attainment of Nirvana by the King-Monk. Taking place from 8:30am to 11am, the ceremony is expected to have thousands of attendees including monks, Buddhist followers and tourists. Also in the morning, an inauguration of phase one of the Trúc Lâm Palace in the Trúc Lâm Zen Commons will be held.
During the celebration on Friday, all visitors to the Yên Tử site will enjoy a 50 per cent discount on the return cable car fee, making it just VNĐ150,000.
Trần Nhân Tông (1258-1308) was the third king of the Trần Dynasty. As a young prince, he showed outstanding intelligence and had a thorough knowledge of Buddhism.
In 1274, when he was 16, he was given the title of crown prince by his father, King Trần Thánh Tông. Five years later, he took the throne. During his 15-year reign from 1279 to 1294, he defeated Yuan-Mongol invaders twice. Despite the demands of ruling, the king still had time for Buddhism.
After his abdication in 1299 at the age of 35, the former king left his palace to become a monk, spending the rest of his life on Yên Tử Mountain practising and teaching Buddhism. He founded the Trúc Lâm School of Zen and worked to unify different Buddhist sects into Vietnamese Zen Buddhism.
The VBS has long observed the day King Trần Nhân Tông attained Nirvana (the first day of the 11th lunar month) as a national anniversary for Vietnamese Buddhism. — VNS