During the time of the Nguyen Lords and the Nguyen Emperors, many pagoda and tombs were built to the south and southwest of Hue, their capital city. At the time, Tuong Van was but a small temple near Tu Hieu Pagoda, about 5 kilometres southwest of the city.
A stele marking the construction of the pagoda recounts that in those days the area around the temple was uninhabited, few people passed by, and the calls of birds’ and monkies could be heard all year round. The Venerable Hue Canh of the 39th generation of Lam Te school founded the pagoda in the middle of the 19th century. The first renovation of the pagoda was undertaken in the third year of the regin of Emperor Thanh Thai (1891). Tuy Ly Vuong Mien Trinh wrote: “the pagoda had seriously suffered through year of neglect. The superior monk Khai Toan make an oath to raise money to foin the temple with Tu Quang Pagoda and form the present pagoda, and he named it Tuong Van in honour of the founding merit of the VEnerable Hue Canh”. In 1972, the superior monk of Tuong Van, the Venerable Tinh Khiet, understook the complete restoration of the pagoda, creating the magnifiture seen today.
To get to the pagoda, visitors should follow Dien Bien Phu street, passing Tu Dam pagoda and descending the hill. At the foot of the hill, a narrow dirt road runs past Kieu Dam pagoda and Huong Son pagoda. Tuong Van pagoda is 400 meters further along this road.
Though neither the larg+est nor most ancient of Hue pagodas, in the fied of Buddhist studies and the propagation of the faith, Tuong Van pagoda has a prominent position. Some of the pagoda’s monks have become leaders of the Vietnamese Buddhist Association, and others have made great contributions to the development of the Association.
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