Three-door gate of Ong Nui Pagoda (Photo: hiquynhon.com)
Lying on Chop Vung Mountain, the highest in the Ba mountain range, and in an old forest with diverse and plentiful trees, Ong Nui Pagoda is over 300 years old and is a national historical relic.
The pagoda worships Buddhist monk Tinh Giac-Thien Tri who was called “Ong Nui” (Old Nui) by local people. Old Nui gave medicines to local people to cure them from diseases and epidemics.
Another legend has it that in the seventh year of King Minh Mang’s reign, the king had a serious disease that none of the royal physicians could find the remedy for. One night, the king dreamed of a Buddhist monk wearing tree skin with an areca spathe fan in one hand and medicine in the other hand. When waking up, the king felt stronger and his disease was no longer serious. The king asked courtiers and some told him the legend about Old Nui. The king granted Linh Phong Pagoda a new monk’s robe among other valuable gifts.
The pagoda has its rear to a high mountain. Water pouring from the top of mountain is divided into two when it reaches the pagoda. The two big branches include smaller branches flowing into the back yard, the kitchen and the Lotus Lake in front of the pagoda and locals believe that the water here has never run out.
There is a big cave in the mountain side to the North.
The campus of Ong Nui Pagoda (Photo: hiquynhon.com)
From Ong Nui Pagoda, looking down to the Southwestern direction, visitors can see immense rice fields while a boundless blue sea is visible in the East. To the Southeastern direction stand the Thi Nai lagoon and a willow forest stretching from Cach Thu to Go Boi.
Also from this pagoda, tourists could view the whole coastal city of Quy Nhon, feel a little of the sea-breeze and see the waves crashing onto the shore; all forming a most romantic scenery.
During festivals yearly hosted by Ong Nui Pagoda on the 24th and 25th days of the first lunar month, the pagoda welcomes a large number of domestic and international tourists. Sea-breezes from Cach Thu together with cool water around the pagoda help tourists soon get their energy back after stepping more than 250 stairs from the foot of the mountain to the pagoda, if energetic visitors choose to walk to the pagoda by the old path. These days, visitors find it easier to reach the pagoda by car on the new road.
Ong Nui Pagoda is included in the VND 500 billion project to build a historical, ecological and spiritual tourism complex carried out by the Binh Dinh provincial People’s Committee and the provincial Buddhist Sangha. Under this project, a Buddha statue area, Thach Lam park, and a resort are being built to bring into play the values of Ong Nui Pagoda.
With its values and unique architecture, the historical, ecological and spiritual tourism complex named Ong Nui Pagoda is promising to be a tourist attraction in Binh Dinh, also known as ‘the land of martial arts.’