Today: 17/02/2020 09:01:41 (GMT+7)

Legend of Buddha’s footprints on stone

(BGO) – Buddhism entered Bac Giang province very early, reflected through the history of Bo Da Pagoda and stone worshipping ritual in Viet Yen district. Particularly, the legend of a giant footprint on stone, which is known as the Buddha’s foot, shows the early introduction of Buddhism in the province.

Legend, Buddha’s footprints, Bac Giang province, Bo Da Pagoda, stone worshipping ritual, giant footprint, Buddha’s foot, Am Vai pagoda

Am Vai pagoda.

People in Kham Lang region (Luc Nam district) have told stories of Non Cave’s mother who lived in the time of Hung Kings more than 1,000 years ago. The woman, whose first name was Tong, put her foot on a footprint on the stone near a Truc well in Kham valley and got pregnant. She gave birth to three snakes.

Every day, when their mother went to the market or the field, the three snakes turned into three handsome and intelligent boys and helped her with housework.

One day, she suddenly returned home early. The three boys got panic, jumping into their snake covers and ran to Lam Son Mountain. The mother ran after to call them back, but they continued running and huddling into a giant cave. The mother desperately got her children back and unintentionally stamped on the tail of one of the snakes. Since then, the cave has had three chasms connecting to Luc Nam River. The place where the mother died was named Dam (stamp) chasm. People called the snake with the broken tail Coc (short), and the other two Dai (long).

Meanwhile, Am Vai pagoda locates in a system of towers and pagodas built during the Tran dynasty along the western side of Yen Tu Mountain. The legend has it that the pagoda was initially a small pagoda with one head monk. There were two caves streaming out money and rice just enough to feed the monk. One day, the monk had a visitor, so he expanded the caves in a hope to have enough rice and money for two. Then the caves never gave rice and money anymore.

A daughter of one of the Tran kings chose the pagoda to lead a religious life. People said that at that time, the pagoda was enlarged. After being destroyed, the remaining of the pagoda are now two towers, which contain votive tablets of a monk of Truc Lam Zen who was entitled Ty Kheo Nhu Lien, belonging to bodhisattva class of Buddhism and entering Nirvana.

Around the pagoda are traces of money and rice caves, fairy well and two fairy footprints on stone. It is said that two fairies descended to Am Vai pagoda to play chess. They were fascinated by the landscape and forgot to return home. The Jade Emperor was angry and asked the God of Thunder to break the chessboard into the half. The fairies were so panic that they stepped on the stone and left the footprints as today.

Legend, Buddha’s footprints, Bac Giang province, Bo Da Pagoda, stone worshipping ritual, giant footprint, Buddha’s foot, Am Vai pagoda

the Buddhist footprint on stone.

In front of the pagoda, there is a big stone like a three-room house piled on top of each other. There is a very flat one called the fairy chessboard. The large one has a dent in the middle of a giant footprint. Water is normally stored here. The common people call it the footprint of the God or the Buddha on stone.

Kem pagoda, or Sung Nham pagoda, is located at the foot of Nham Bien Mountain in Nham Son commune (Yen Dung district). Behind the ancient pagoda is a large flat stone with a huge dent in the middle. Legend has it that eleven fairies flown down to the Nham Bien Mountain to enjoy the scenery and play chess on this stone. One day, they were discovered by a local resident while playing chess. They hastened back to the heaven and unintentionally stepped on stone creating a big dent in a footprint. The water in the mountain kept flowing, creating a well, which was called the fairy well by the next generations.

According to researchers, the stories about the fairies descending on earth and playing chess and the giant footprints on the stone in various places are cultural symbols, demonstrating that the gods have inscribed deep into the mind of the folk. The stories aim to honor the Shakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. The giant footprints on stone have come into the legend as a miracle in Buddhism. It reflects the early development of Buddhism in Vietnam. Indian missionaries have brought the Buddha’s footprint in their journey as a spiritual symbol of Buddhism when entering Vietnam, including the land of Bac Giang.

Quoc Khanh

Legend, Buddha’s footprints, Bac Giang province, Bo Da Pagoda, stone worshipping ritual, giant footprint, Buddha’s foot, Am Vai pagoda
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