Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Confucius & The Temple of Literature!

The Temple of Literature was on everyone's bucket list upon our arrival in Hanoi.

Dedicated to Confucius -the temple also hosts the Imperial Academy -Vietnam's first national university. 

The temple was built in 1070 at the time of Emperor Lý Thánh Tông. It is one of several temples in Vietnam dedicated to Confucius, sages and scholars.

I don't know about you, but places that are well over 1,000 years old fascinate me.

The various pavilions, halls, statues and stelae (stone monuments placed on the back of stone turtles) of doctors are places where offering ceremonies, study sessions and the strict exams of the Đại Việt took place.

Waving at my group just inside the courtyard at the pond named "The Well of Heavenly Clarity."

We came through this entry -

Note the beautiful banyan tree on the right - I love these!

The gardens were just gorgeously lush (Thanks to so much humidity!) and I found this to be a place of peace and reflection.

More courtyard and the well with koi.

I also love to look at architecture and find the rooflines fascinating - those turned up corners are sometimes decorated - the attention to detail was beautiful.

Looking back up at the gate tower we walked through -

Sometimes if you don't look back, you'll miss the best shot!

Manicured trees and beautiful stonework.

These are the stone stelea or tablets -

These tombstone-like monuments honor graduates and sit atop turtles, representing longevity and wisdom. The shape and size of the turtle changed with the passage of time.

The names on the tablets commemorate more than 1,300 students who attained doctoral ranks in the triennial royal court exams held at Quoc Tu Giam and provide details about the greatness of the monarch issuing the exam, as well as some regional history. 

Over time, the turtles’ foreheads have become burnished by the touch of thousands of hands. It was considered good luck for students to rub the heads of the statues before their exams, but now there is a fence to preserve and protect the turtles. 

On the backs of turtles!

There are several pavilions containing these monuments.

The construction of the stone stelae began in 1484 under the Emperor Lê Thánh Tông. He erected 116 steles of carved blue stone turtles with elaborate motifs to honor talent and encourage study. The Turtle  is one of the nation's four holy creatures - the others are the Dragon  the Unicorn and the Phoenix.

The doctors' steles are a valuable historical resource for the study of culture, education and sculpture in Vietnam. 82 stelae remain. They depict the names and birthplaces of 1307 graduates of 82 triennial royal exams. Between 1442 and 1779, eighty-one exams were held by the Lê dynasty and one was held by the Mạc dynasty. 

The ancient Chinese engravings on each stele praise the merits of the monarch and cite the reason for holding royal exams. They also record the mandarins who were tasked with organizing the exams. 

They are a valuable historical resource for the study of philosophy history, culture, education, society and sculpture in Vietnam. 

The stelae were inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2011.

I found the last paragraph interesting - they buried the monuments in the sand during the Vietnam war to protect them from being destroyed during bombings. 

Tablets from another angle.

Confucius wrote:
  1. "Study the past if you would define the future."

And more beautiful trees and gardens around the pond.

Check out the dragons on the roofline!

Just beautiful!

The fourth courtyard is where you’ll find the Ceremonial Hall and Dai Bai Duong, the Sanctuary of Great Success, which was once considered so sacred that even the emperor was forbidden entry. Today, anyone may enter.

Inside is an elaborately decorated altar to Confucius and his four disciples Yanhui, Mencius, Zisi and Zheng Shen. On each side stands a bronze crane atop a turtle’s back.

I guess it's also good luck to rub the crane's bellies and also the turtle heads at the bottom - look at them shine!

One of the altars for four disciples Yanhui, Mencius, Zisi and Zheng Shen.

“The journey with a 1000 miles begins with one step.”

The Sanctuary of Great Success houses a shrine to Confucius.

"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated."

More flowers, fruits and offerings.

“I followed my heart without breaking any rules.”

Dragon incense burner.

Beautifully manicured bonsai tree - look at the little house!

I love these little details!

Roolines, burners, and dragons - oh my!

From the opposite side, catching the dragons on the roof.

Stone statue - are these dogs?

Another bonsai and beautiful detail

Everywhere I looked - there was something beautiful to admire.

"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."

Isn't this just gorgeous?

If it is a temple, there must be a gong!

This kind of roofline detail I love!

"Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart."

Sample writings of students.


Did you know it was Confucius who first said:
  1. "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."

“We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.”

Where there is a gong, there is also a drum!

“And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.”

"It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop."

But maybe this one sums it up best: 

“If your plan is for one year plant rice. If your plan is for ten years plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years educate children.”

And yes there is more to share, but this got kind of long as it is so I'm going to stop here.

It's Wednesday!  The May Quiltvillians will arrive this afternoon and we'll have all things ready in time.

What are your plans for today?

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

This was a hard realization. If someone's unkindness causes you to also be unkind - they win.
It can cause a domino effect of unkindness to spread.
Resist engaging in unkindness!
That said: Sometimes being kind is the last word and action before disengaging and moving on for my own mental health.

Lots to think about today!


No comments:

Post a Comment

If you are commenting as "anonymous" please leave your name at the end of your comment.

Did you know that ad space on this blog provides for all of the free patterns and free mysteries and challenges at no cost to you? Without ads, this blog would not be possible.

Thank you for understanding the many hours that go into this blog 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year. :)