The entrance to the Ky Quang 2 stone pagoda is door-less, following the Buddha’s precept of welcoming all sentient beings.
The Ky Quang 2 Pagoda in Saigon’s Go Vap District, built mostly of stone, has no doors. Instead, two statues of the Buddha stand and sit at the entrance.
Venerable Thich Thien Chieu, the pagoda’s abbot since 1975, said the architecture was a harmonious combination of Buddhist teachings and Vietnamese culture.
“The pagoda has no roof to see in every direction, no doors to welcome all beings, no walls and no pillars that separate and limit human beings.”
A three-meter tall gold-plated Buddha statue on a lotus is placed on top of the pagoda’s gate. The work is called Thien Tam Linh or Divine Spirit, which resides between heaven and earth.
Built in 1926, the Ky Quang 2 Pagoda started out as a village pagoda in Go Vap District and was originally named Thanh Chau Tu. In 2000, it was completely rebuilt on an area of nearly 7,500 square meters. The complex was designed by the abbot.
Different Buddha statues are placed underneath the Bodhi tree inside the pagoda.
The entrance to the main building is a series of steps inside a rock cave.
Inside the hall of the main building is a series of marble Buddha statues. This is the place of chanting and meditation for monks, nuns and worshippers. The two sides of this dome are stylized in the shape of a lotus.
La Thi Xuan Ly, 82, a resident of Go Vap District, said: “I come here every week to pray. The pagoda looks beautiful and has a calm feeling as if it is our house.”
A shrine dedicated to worship the Hung Kings (2879-258 BCE), the nation’s mythical founders, and Mother Au Co, a mountain fairy honored as the mother of Vietnamese civilization.
The shrine is also decorated with banh chung (square rice cake) and banh day (round rice cake), Vietnam’s two traditional cakes.
A section of the pagoda is decorated with Bodhisattva Buddha statue litted up with colorful lights.
The pagoda also has Tran Nhan Tong, third emperor of the Tran Dynasty, reigning Dai Viet from 1278 to 1293 as a deity. The emperor and his father were supreme commanders who led the Tran Dynasty to final victories against the Mongol invaders, ushering in a long period of peace and prosperity in the country.
The pagoda is also a shelter where abandoned and disabled children are cared for. The abbot said that this activity started in 1994 and the pagoda currently takes care of more than 240 children.