Celebrating Buddhist culture

VietNamNet Bridge, Feb 26, 2013

Hanoi, Vietnam -- Much of Viet Nam’s most famous, traditional and valued cultural heritage has been provided or inspired by Buddhism, a religion which has for centuries been deeply embedded in the national psyche.

<< Visitors contemplate Buddhist statues on display in the Ha Noi-based National Museum of History. The exhibition will last until August this year.

An extensive exhibition at the National Museum of History in Ha Noi is currently presenting and celebrating many varied examples of Buddhist culture which offer a reflection of the county’s development for over a thousand years.

Titled Vietnamese Buddhist Culture Heritage, the show introduces many valuable physical objects such as pagodas, towers, worshipping statues and paintings alongside examples of intangible heritage such as ceremonies, music and ethics.

With common cultural themes including humanity, humility and harmony, Buddhist heritage can be considered beautiful works of art, according to Nguyen Van Cuong, the museum’s director.

“Vietnamese Buddhism has left a rich and diverse history of material and spiritual cultural heritage throughout the country,” he said. “Through nearly 200 objects dating from the first to the 20th century, just a small selection in itself, we desire to introduce some general features and unique values of Buddhist heritage to the public and to contribute to efforts to preserve and raise awareness of Vietnamese culture.”

One of the most remarkable exhibits is a Canh Thinh bronze drum (dated from 1800), which was recently certified by the Prime Minister as one of Viet Nam’s National Treasures. It was discovered at Nanh Pagoda in the capital’s Ninh Hiep Commune before being moved to the museum for display.

The artefacts have been arranged according to the different time periods that they belong to. It is believed that Buddhism spread directly from India to Viet Nam via a sea route around 2,000 years ago. The Luy Lau region, which now belongs to Bac Ninh Province in the north, soon became a significant Buddhist centre. Many important vestiges of the religion have been found in the region, including notable discoveries at the pagodas of Phat Tich and Dau which are now being exhibited.

<< Still life: Gilded wooden statues dating from 17th-18th century are on display at the exhibition titled Vietnamese Buddhist Culture Heritage.

Items created in the first ten centuries of Vietnamese Buddhism soon formed part of the Cham and Oc Eo cultures in central and southern Viet Nam, with unique sculptures and statues carved from gold, stone, sandstone and wood inspired by Indian arts.

The most prosperous period for Buddhism in the country arrived during the Ly and Tran dynasties (11-14th century) when it became the national religion, and this is reflected in the cultural artefacts remaining from that time, which begin to merge religious meanings with a more unique national identity.

Although Confucianism became the official ideology under the Le and Mac dynasties in the 15th and 16th centuries, and so Buddhist relics from this period aren’t as varied as in others, visitors can still see objects from this era that have been collected by museum staff. These include statues, lamp stands and incense burners marked with clear inscriptions and dedications.

In the past, many wealthy men ordered artisans to make worshipping objects to be donated to pagodas. As a mark of thanks for the donation, the name of every benefactor would be emblazoned on stone steles at the places of worship. The exhibition has interested historians by displaying statues bearing the names of female donors, which is a unique discovery according to Cuong.

The exhibition will run until the end of August at the museum, which can be found at 25 Tong Dan Street in Ha Noi.

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv. Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/norbuchatbot. Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv