info VIETNAMESE TEMPLES AND PAGODAS

Vietnam

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Jun 28, 2020
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Pagodas and temples reflect the cultural diversity of religious practice in Vietnam and are a focus of social, political and religious life

Each Vietnamese village has its own complex of temple buildings, including the dinh (communal house), where the village founder is venerated and the village council, an assembly of male leaders, traditionally met to debate local affairs.

Vietnamese religious practice is eclectic, and this is reflected in the layout of the temple buildings. Large temple complexes may also include a phuong dinh (front hall); ngoai cung (central hall); a noi cung or main altar hall; and a cay tien huong, which acts as a gate to the main temple complex.

The choice of temple gods also varies from one village to the next. In some temples, statues of Confucius sit alongside Daoist or Buddhist images. In the north, it is common to find Vietnam war heroes joining the statue line up. More than one dinh offers the chance to burn joss sticks before a life-size statue of Ho Chi Minh.

After 1945, religious activity was discouraged but since the 1980s there has been a revival and many Vietnamese have donated money towards temple renovations in their villages.

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CHUA MOT COT First built in wood in 1049, Ha Noi's Chua Mot Cot (One Pillar Pagoda) was destroyed in 1954 and has since been rebuilt in sturdy concrete.​
 

Vietnam

Administrator
Jun 28, 2020
8
1
3
Pagoda or Temple?

Traveling around Vietnam, one continually encounters the terms ’pagoda' and ‘temple’. The Vietnamese use these terms somewhat differently to the Chinese and, as a result, it can be confusing (particularly if you've just come from China).

To the Chinese, a pagoda is usually a tall eight-sided tower built to house the ashes of the deceased. A Chinese temple is an active place of worship.

The Vietnamese regard a pagoda (chua) as a place of worship, and it's by no means certain that you'll find a tower to store the ashes of the dearly departed. A Vietnamese temple (den) is not really a place of worship, but rather a structure built to honor some great historical figure (Confucius, Tran Hung Dao and even Ho Chi Minh).

The Caodai Temple seems to somehow fall between the cracks. Given the mixture of ideas that is part and parcel of Caodaism, it's hard to say if this is a temple, pagoda, church or mosque.