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Efforts made to promote values of Vinh Nghiem pagoda woodblocks

(BGO) – Vinh Nghiem pagoda in Tri Yen commune, Yen Dung district of Bac Giang province houses a collection of carved woodblocks which was recognized by UNESCO as a world documentary heritage. These woodblocks are valuable documents for scientific studies on history, culture, education, languages, medicine and Buddhism. They are a precious heritage of the nation that needs to be preserved and promoted.

 

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Woodblocks at Vinh Nghiem pagoda (Photo: BGP/ Dieu Hoa).

Nation’s precious heritage

Vinh Nghiem pagoda’s woodblocks are the only collection of Truc Lam Zen Buddhism – an outstanding zen of Vietnam Buddhism. The collection includes Buddhist texts, sutras, the writings of the patriarchs who founded and developed Vinh Nghiem Buddhism Centre for decades and influenced socio-cultural development in the Vietnamese history such as Tran Nhan Tong, Phap Loa Dong Kim Cuong, and Huyen Quang Ly Dao Tai.

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Woodblocks at Vinh Nghiem pagoda are considered national treasures (Photo: BGP/ Dieu Hoa).

The collection contains 3,050 woodblocks with nine main groups of sutra and textbooks carved in different periods. All Mahayana Buddhist dignitaries and followers in Vietnam and overseas used these woodblocks. Therefore, the collection is a valuable cultural heritage of Mahayana Buddhism all over the world and Vietnam’s Truc Lam Zen Buddhism in particular.

The woodblocks were made from the timber of a tree scientifically named Diospyros decandra with different sizes. Each woodblock consists of two faces inscribed with Han-Nom scripts containing rich information in various fields.

Most Venerable Thich Thanh Vinh, vice head of Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, said that at present, Vinh Nghiem pagoda is preserving 3,050 woodblocks, in which there are 34 books. The contents of the woodblocks focus on Buddhism practice methods and dissemination of belief culture of the Tran and Le dynasties and Buddhism’s morality.

On December 17, 2017, the People’s Committee of Yen Dung district coordinated with the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha – Bac Giang chapter to inaugurate a preservation and exhibition house for the set of woodblocks at Vinh Nghiem pagoda.

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Most Venerable Thich Thanh Vinh, vice head of the Vinh Nghiem pagoda (Photo: BGP/ Dieu Hoa).

The house aims to better preserve the world documentary heritage and to introduce the values of the set of woodblocks to the public.

Promoting woodblock values in association with tourism development

Vinh Nghiem pagoda, woodblocks, Bac Giang province, carved woodblocks, UNESCO, world documentary heritage, valuable documents, scientific studies, precious heritage, socio-cultural development, tourism development

Woodblock preservation and exhibition house at Vinh Nghiem pagoda were inaugurated and put into use on December 17, 2017 (Photo: BGP/ Dieu Hoa).

According to Truong Quang Hai, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Yen Dung district, to promote the values of woodblocks, the committee promulgated a communication campaign to raise public awareness of tourism conduct through popularising historical and cultural relic sites, particularly Vinh Nghiem pagoda - a special national relic site.

Vinh Nghiem pagoda, woodblocks, Bac Giang province, carved woodblocks, UNESCO, world documentary heritage, valuable documents, scientific studies, precious heritage, socio-cultural development, tourism development

Some objects dating back to the Le dynasty (1428-1527) displayed at the woodblock preservation and exhibition house (Photo: BGP/ Dieu Hoa).

In the coming time, the committee will issue a project organizing festivals at the pagoda in 2018-2025, increasing its scale to the district level and mapping out specific orientations in promoting the pagoda as a special national relic site with valuable woodblocks.

Vinh Nghiem pagoda, woodblocks, Bac Giang province, carved woodblocks, UNESCO, world documentary heritage, valuable documents, scientific studies, precious heritage, socio-cultural development, tourism development

Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Yen Dung district Truong Quang Hai (Photo: BGP/ Dieu Hoa).

After the launch of the woodblock preservation and exhibition house, the district will build a project preserving all woodblocks and select an outstanding one printed with Buddhist Sutras for display and introduction to visitors and students across the district.

Local authorities will coordinate with the pagoda to select the best artworks to translate their contents to introduce to visitors on the occasion of festivals. The district will instruct the pagoda’s management board to increase the quality of presenters to serve this purpose.

Vinh Nghiem pagoda, woodblocks, Bac Giang province, carved woodblocks, UNESCO, world documentary heritage, valuable documents, scientific studies, precious heritage, socio-cultural development, tourism development

Promoting the values of woodblocks aims to draw more visitors to Vinh Nghiem pagoda (Photo: BGP/ Dieu Hoa).

The district will work with the mass media to raise public awareness of the values of Buddhist Sutras woodblocks and with the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to complete dossiers to seek the recognition of the woodblock collection at Vinh Nghiem pagoda as a world heritage.

Dieu Hoa

Vinh Nghiem pagoda, woodblocks, Bac Giang province, carved woodblocks, UNESCO, world documentary heritage, valuable documents, scientific studies, precious heritage, socio-cultural development, tourism development
 
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