During the visit by Swedish doctors led by Dr. Rolf Johansson, Thich Truc Bao Luc the Buddhist Monk introduced interesting facts about Buddhism and places of worship at Ba Vang Pagoda.
The Special Meaning of the Incense Stick and the Curved Roof
Starting the trip around Ba Vang Pagoda, Monk Bao Luc guided the group to the Patriarchs’ Shrine where He presented the history of Truc Lam Zen sect in Vietnam and its founder—King Tran Nhan Tong. On hearing about the King who renounced His throne to become an ascetic, the doctors showed their great surprise and respect to Him. Here, the delegation was instructed to offer incense to the Three Jewels there and told about the meaning of offering incense. “An incense stick is like a spiritual connection between the living and the deceased. It is usually used for praying for peace, too,” said the Monk.
“Why are the roofs of the Pagoda designed with curved lines?”, Dr. Rolf Johansson wondered when observing the structures in front of the Patriarchs’ Shrine. Monk Bao Luc answered, “Like many Asian countries, Vietnam has been heavily affected by the rice civilisation. It is quite different from European civilisation. In ancient times, people used boats (or ships) to travel from one place to the others. And their prows have curved lines. This image has been carved into the Vietnamese’s mind, so almost all ancient houses in Vietnam had their roofs designed that way.”
The Meaning of the Compassionate Mind of Bodhisattvas
One-Pillar Pagoda was one of the destinations of the delegation on touring around Ba Vang Pagoda. Monk Thich Truc Bao Luc said this construction was inspired by an original work in Hanoi, whose structure is said to represent a lotus flower growing up out of the water.
Inside is the precious statue of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara—Bodhisattva of Great Compassion—with one thousand hands and one thousand eyes, who was enlightened and compassionately vowed to rescue all sentient beings from sufferings. Monk Bao Luc indicated the differences between the love of an enlightened one and that of a normal person. As a normal person, usually, we are just able to love and take care of our own family, while an ordained Buddhist can spread his love to all beings without discrimination. This love contains no ownership and requires no reciprocation. Those who have practised this love can be said to have observed the precious Path.
The Delegation’s Gratitude Towards Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh
During the trip, the delegation was told about how Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh—the respectful Abbot of Ba Vang Pagoda—determined to become a Buddhist Monk and His challenging Dharma path. Over 10 years ago, Thay first came here with His bare hands and started the construction of Ba Vang Pagoda from a small temple like a small room. Moreover, He encountered countless difficulties on His path of Buddha Dharma dissemination. His first Buddhists were not many and were mostly old people. Now looking at His current achievements, the delegation showed deep respect and gratitude to Thay for His great merit, and they were even more surprised at the fact that Bhikshus and Bhikshunis of Ba Vang Pagoda strictly practise the Dharma in the meditation forest and eat only one meal a day at noon.
Ending the tour, Monk Bao Luc invited the doctors to have a vegetarian dinner at the 1st floor of the Main Hall which was well prepared by lay Buddhists of the Pagoda. Afterwards, the delegation and representatives of Ba Vang Pagoda including Monk Thich Truc Bao Luc took some photos at the Main Hall of the Pagoda. Before leaving, the Sweden doctor expressed his deep thanks to Ba Vang Pagoda and promised, “I hope that we will have more opportunities to come back to Ba Vang Pagoda in the near future. Thank you very much!”