Nearly 300 archives and photos featuring the most outstanding features of Vietnamese Buddhist architecture are being exhibited at the Vietnam National Museum of History (VNMH), No. 25 Tong Dan street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi.
The exhibits are from three surveys conducted across the nation by the Central Culture Department of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha in collaboration with the Institute of Religious Studies, the Institute of Monuments Conservation, the VNMH, as well as many monks, nuns, and specialists.
They also include documents preserved by the Vietnam National Museum of History and the Institute of Monuments Conservation.
The exhibition, entitled Kien Truc Phat Giao Viet Nam – Thong Nhat Trong Da Dang (Vietnamese Buddhist Architecture – Unity in Diversity), is divided into three sections; Buddhist architectural images and artefacts currently kept at the VNMH; typical features of Vietnamese Buddhist architecture; and images of Vietnamese Buddhist architecture built in recent years.
Since Buddhism was introduced to Vietnam more than 2,000 years ago, many Buddhist facilities such as pagodas, towers or monasteries have been constructed across Vietnam.
Over time, Buddhist architecture has become diverse in different regions and manners of worship. Still, they have always contained and inherited the beauties of traditional national architecture, creating an overall religious picture of unity in diversity.
According to Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon, Chairman of the Executive Council of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, many traditional Buddhist buildings have been weathered by time, ravaged by wars and affected by urbanisation, meaning many have been severely degraded or lost.
On the other hand, the new constructions have met the needs of spiritual practice and activities. Still, some of them might not have properly inherited the traditional values and characteristics, as well as Buddhist thoughts and spirits.
Therefore, the Executive Council of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha approved the project Characteristic Orientation of Vietnamese Buddhist Culture on Costume, Language, Architecture and Heritage in 2015. The exhibition Vietnamese Buddhist Architecture – Unity in Diversity and a scientific conference of the same theme are part of the project.
According to Nguyen Van Doan, director of the VNMH, the exhibition contributes to providing materials for the scientific conference and supporting the implementation of the project in the upcoming years.
At the same time, it helps Buddhists and communities nationwide to realise the characteristics of Vietnamese Buddhist architecture and the need to adapt it to contemporary society.
Therefore, he added that it is expected to raise awareness about preserving and promoting Vietnamese fine cultural traditions.
The exhibition runs until May 15./.