In 2007, the local authorities and people in Uong Bi city, Quang Ninh province invited Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh to Ba Vang Pagoda. With the permission of Most Venerable Thich Thanh Tu, Thay came to the Pagoda and started His journey of reconstructing the old Pagoda and propagating Buddhism.
At the photo exhibition, visitors could have an overview of the building process of the Pagoda, which was difficult and arduous. Talking about the very first days of the Pagoda, Thay shared: “… No electricity. There were only the foot trails. Mr. Tap (one of Thay’s first supporters) managed to collect just a little amount of cement, and he could only cement a small part of the trail. It was so slippery on rainy days that it could make us fall easily. There was no running water, either. The water we collected was from the Godly Well, and it was shallow. Some Buddhists and I had to dig a hollow beside the well in the hope that some water may seep from it. It was so tough! I had a washtub of water for personal hygiene. Many times I had to wash my face first and then use the same water to brush my teeth. Then, I would have to spit the water into the root of an apricot blossom tree or else it would wither…”
However, with the noble wish, which is “above to seek Buddhahood, below to transform all beings”, Thay overcame everything. “If it’s true that the Buddha assigned me to come here, even having to die with shattered flesh and bones, I vow to die here,” Thay prayed to the Buddha. And today, Ba Vang Pagoda has become a peaceful place for many practitioners who want to practise the Buddha Dharma.
During Ba Vang Pagoda’s Chrysanthemum Festival 2020, Buddhists and tourists were able to visit the photo exhibition which displayed images of the old Pagoda and Monks’ Buddhism practice. Those are true images of Ba Vang Pagoda, of a simple but very noble life of the Monks.
Visiting the exhibition, many visitors showed their respect and admiration for the Buddhist practice and life of the Pagoda’s Sangha.
“I think it’s very difficult to be a monk. It takes a lot of mindfulness, a lot of sacrifice and they are very inspiring. Not many people can do what they can do. They are so calm,” shared Chasley Zervos, a tourist coming from South America.