Yen Tu The Zen Meditation Cradle Religion Of Vietnam
The Tran dynasty start invested to build the pagoda temples chain in this area. The first started by King Tran Thai Tong who arrived to Yen Tu in April 1236 and then continued by King Tran Nhan Tong, who was the national hero in the two wars against the invader Nguyen Mong in 1285 and 1288. The latter brought peace to the country and led the dynastry to prosperity before handing over the throne to his son, in order to emphasize researching and practising Buddhism in Yen Tu.
In 1299, Tran Nhan Tong founded Truc Lam "Zen Meditation style', the philosophy was popular and well development of Vietnam in 12nd, 13rd and 14th centuries. This large pagoda complex was located in a spectacular and poetic landscape which spreads over a dozen of kilometers, forming the Yen Tu complex of histotical heritage and beautiful landscape.
The historical site of the Tran dynasty in Dong Trieu is located in old An Sinh communue, now known as Dong Trieu, and covers an area of about 11,000 hecta of which the majority belongs to the An Sinh, Trang An, Tan Viet, Thuy An and Binh Khe communes, the Dong Trieu district and Quang Ninh province. The site is a complex of graves of Kings, temples, shrines, pagodas and towers.
Among them, Vinh Nghiem pagoda stands out as a religious center and ancestral land in the history of Vietnamese Buddhism. Many types of sacred Buddhist statues, especially the valuable wooden blocks of the Buddhist scriptures, are safeguarded there. Another important pagoda is Am Vai, which is built on a great geographical position and within the beautiful native forest.
Not so far from there is Suoi Mo, another well-known landscape. It is a stream flowing down from Da Vach and Ho Chuoi through Huyen Dinh – Yen Tu Mountain, forming a marvelous waterfalls and stunning natural springs. Along the stream is Higher temple, Middle temple and Lower temple, built for the worshipping of princess Que My Nuong, who was the daughter of Hung Dinh Vuong and later nominated as the mother of the higher land.
- Heritage sites in Son Dong district: There are many beautiful spots such as Pine field, Vung Trong, Khe Ro in the commune of An Lac. Ba Tia waterfall in the commune of Tuan Mau and Thanh Son town right at the foot of Yen Tu Mountain, where the Dong pagoda is located. During cloudless days, standing at the foot of the mountain, one could see clearly the Dong pagoda on Yen Tu Mountain.
- Heritage sites in Luc Nam district: The heritage sites here have a strong connection with Truc Lam Zen Buddhism: Cao pagoda, Hon Thap pagoda, Non pagoda, Binh Long pagoda, Ho Bac pagoda and the relic-beautiful landscape Mo stream.
- Heritage sites in Yen Dung district: Entire this area was considered the first school to train Buddhist monks and nuns, the Vinh Nghiem pagoda in Tri Yen commune was the largest centers of Truc Lam - Yen Tu Zen Buddhism. Antiqueties are preserved in the pagoda: worshiping statues, worshiping objects, reliefs, carved panels, epitaphs, and building design patterns, etc. Especially, more than 3,000 wood blocks were found here and recognized in 2012 by UNESCO as part of the world documentary heritage of the Asia-Pacific region.
- Heritage sites in Luc Ngan district: Am Vai temple (Nam Duong commune) is situated on a great geographical position within the beautiful landscape of the mountain and forest. Legend has it that the pagoda was built by the Ly dynasty and belongs to the temple-towers along the West side of Yen Tu, developed by the Tran dynasty when Buddhism was in its prime.