One Pillar Pagoda
- Officially known as Nam Thien Nhat Tru, most people call this Buddhist temple the One Pillar Pagoda of Thu Duc (Chua Mot Cot Thu Duc; 1/91 Ð Nguyen Du, Thu Duc district). Modelled on Hanoi’s One Pillar Pagoda, the complex is similar but not identical, including a small, one-room temple hall rising on a pillar above a pond, containing a multiarmed image of Quan Am, Goddess of Mercy. There are tombs at the rear of the compound which hold urns containing bones of monks and other Buddhist faithful.
- Hanoi’s original pagoda was constructed in the 11th century but rebuilt after destruction by the French in 1954. As Vietnam was partitioned at the same year, a lot of Buddhist monks and Catholic priests fled south to avoid persecution they might get. One monk from Hanoi, Thich Tri Dung, petitioned the South Vietnamese government for allowance to build a replica of Hanoi’s famous One Pillar Pagoda. However, it was not allowed by President Ngo Dinh Diem, who is a Catholic with little tolerance for Buddhist clergy. However, Thich and his supporters raised the funds and they constructed the pagoda in 1958, in defiance of the president’s orders.
- At one point the Diem government ordered the monks to tear down the temple yet they didn’t agree to do this, although they were threatened with imprisonment. Faced with significant opposition, the government’s dispute with the monks reached a standoff. However, the president’s efforts to harass and intimidate the monks in a country that was 90% Buddhist did not go down well and ultimately contributed to Diem’s assassination by his own troops in 1963.
- It is 15km northeast of the pagoda from central Hochiminh city. Traveller cafes and travel agencies in HCMC should be able to put together a customised tour to the pagoda or to get a car and driver for you.