Culture Culture

25/09/2022 - 10:39

The place where the precious treasures of Hue Buddhism are kept

Thousands of artifacts including Buddhist woodblocks, books related to philosophy, literature, Buddhism as well as disciplines related to a humane society, and recordings of Hue Buddhist events... which have been carefully collected by and donated to the Vietnam Buddhist Academy in Hue for many years are officially announced for the first time, surprising the public.

This precious archive has just been displayed and opened to the public on the occasion of the launch of the Research and Archive Center located at campus 1 of the Vietnam Buddhist Academy in Hue, 109 Minh Mang, Hue City.

Among more than 800 Buddhist woodblock prints, there are many rare and ancient ones

Valuable documents about Hue Buddhism

Although the Center for Research and Archives has just been launched with two original spaces, the material related to Hue Buddhism is classified as extremely rare. It is a storage space for Buddhist woodblocks and is a family library.

Visitors cannot help but marvel at the scientific and methodical way the Buddhist woodblocks are stored. This woodblock space, which was previously stored at Tu Dam pagoda, has more than 800 panels and more than 1,300 engraved facets, diverse in categories such as sutras, laws, essays, writings, sects, shaving heads to become monks, and ancient paintings…

This is considered the largest woodblock collection of Hue Buddhism, spanning from the late 17th century to the early 20th century and collected from famous temples and ancient pagodas in Hue such as Ky Vien, Duc Son, Thien Lam, Vien Thong, Thuyen Ton, Bao Quoc, Bao Lam, Ba La Mat...

Notably, among them, there is the Kim Cang Bat Nha Ba La Mat Kinh (Vajraprajā-pāramitā-sutra)(under the reign of Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu) - an ancient Buddhist carving board of Hue and the Central region.

Meanwhile, the family library is the place where thousands of precious donated books and magazines related to philosophy, Buddhism, literature and social sciences and humanities before 1975 are displayed. In addition to books, families also donated recording materials of Buddhist events, lectures, Buddhist music (new and traditional Hue Buddhist ceremonial music)…

The Venerable - Dr. Thich Khong Nhien, Deputy Executive Director of the Center for Research and Archives said that there are currently 5 families who have donated books to the center. The books are extremely rare and have been carefully preserved by the families for a long time.

The Buddhist family Tran Phu Trac (Thuan Hoa ward, Hue city) is one of five families that have donated books to the center, with a massive volume of more than 1,800 volumes with over 2,900 books. These are extremely valuable books that Mr. Trac collected and accumulated during his life from when he was studying, and teaching to retirement.

More related exhibition spaces will be opened

Mr. Tran Phu Tuan (son of Mr. Trac) said that his father considered books to be a treasure of human knowledge, a common property, so he discussed it with his children and came to an agreement to donate the books to the center. Hopefully, these books will share knowledge with future generations of studious and research enthusiasts.

 According to Venerable Thich Khong Nhien, not stopping at these two spaces, in the near future the center will continue to open more spaces to display and store dharma statues - dharma tools, classics, ancient Buddhist documents, digital archives, etc. In particular, all digitized documents of Lieu Quan journal collected in the past 10 years will be transferred to this space.

Most Venerable Thich Hai An, President of the Vietnam Buddhist Academy in Hue, and Director of the Center for Research and Archives, said that the establishment of the center is aimed at gathering, archiving, researching and promoting heritage values, Buddhist cultural documents and national culture to meet the research needs of monks and nuns and the whole society.

“Not only that, the center is also a place to connect students of precepts, Buddhist schools, educational and cultural centers, and archives in the country as well as in the region, through research activities. From there, the value of heritage, Buddhist cultural documents and national culture, especially Hue Buddhist cultural heritage, will be introduced to domestic and international universities," Most Venerable Thich Hai An shared.

An important milestone in the world of culture and research

Standing Deputy Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee Phan Ngoc Tho emphasized so when talking about the establishment of the Research and Archive Center of the Vietnam Buddhist Academy in Hue.

Mr. Phan Ngoc Tho recalled the Politburo's Resolution 54 on "Building and developing Thua Thien Hue province to 2030, with a vision to 2045" with the goal of building the province into a centrally-managed municipality on the foundation of preserving and promoting the values ​​of the ancient capital heritage and Hue cultural identity.

 The province determines that it will develop quickly on the basis of knowledge and sustainably on the basis of culture. And in the flow of Vietnamese culture, Buddhist culture is indispensable. Buddhist culture has blended into that flow to create Vietnamese national identities and Hue cultural identities. Therefore, according to Mr. Phan Ngoc Tho, we need to make efforts to preserve that identity.

Commenting about the establishment of the Center for Research and Archives, Mr. Phan Ngoc Tho personally expressed his gratitude and joy. He said that this is a very important premise for the establishment of a national Buddhist research center and a museum of Vietnamese Buddhism in Hue in the near future.

Story and photo: Nhat Minh