Located near the train rails, Phap Hoa pagoda in Ho Chi Minh city is famous for the beautiful designs and the dedicated medical treatment. I and my mom often pay a visit to this pagoda in the Lunar New Year.
Phap Hoa pagoda was built by Dao Ha Thanh monk in 1928. At first, it was just a small cottage, but after being renovated for many times, it becomes a beautiful pagoda with a lot of impressive designs. The history of Phap Hoa pagoda is very special. According to Thich Hanh Thu monk, this pagoda gave the free medical treatment to people since 1989. Furthermore in the war, many soldiers used to work secretly in this pagoda.
At the main entrance to the pagoda is a huge Buddha statue hidden in the greeneries and colourful flowers.
In the new Lunar New Year, the pagoda is decorated with many spring trees. The first one is the yellow apricot blossom which is often planted in the South of Vietnam.
The second one is the peach blossom which is often planted in the North of Vietnam. These trees are the symbol of Tet, Vietnam Lunar New Year.
There are many other ornaments that brings the spring spirit to the pagoda. For example, the red firecrackers are hung loosely on the orchid trees. The poetic parallel sentences also create a special atmosphere.
The main colour of this pagoda is the light blue. Therefore, it makes a peaceful impression on the visitors. The blue towers with the curved roofs mix well with the blue sky.
The main hall of the pagoda is designed with many complex and beautiful designs. I was impressed with the big circle pattern of dragons on the ceiling.
The most famous feature of Phap Hoa pagoda is the Sutra (sacred texts or sayings of the Buddha) called “Dieu Phap Lien Hoa’ carved on a big stone for the first time in Vietnam. This Sutra was carved by the monks during 6 months. They used the black granit stones from India and the white granit stones from Thanh Hoa province. The stones were carved with words of Buddha and designed as an open book.
On the first full moon of the Lunar New Year, there is a special festival called Thuong Nguyen festival. The monks of this pagoda serve the free noodles for every one. The noodles are so delicious and have a special taste.
They even give us the sticky rice balls called “Banh troi nuoc”. This dessert is made of glutinous rice and the filling is made of sweet green beans. The sticky rice balls are dipped in the sweet ginger coconut sauce and become the favourite dessert on the full moon of the Lunar New Year.