Jade Emperor Pagoda, also called Ngoc Hoang Pagoda and Phước Hải Tự in Vietnamese, locates in District 1, the central city of Ho Chi Minh City. The ancient temple with more than 2,000m2, which was built in 1892 in 16 years to complete, welcomes hundreds of people coming to visit and pray every day.
Ngoc Hoang Pagoda
- Address: 73 Mai Thi Luu Street, Da Kao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (on Google map)
- Opening hours: 8:00 am – 17:00 every day
- Entrance fee: It is free to visit.
- The 1st and 15th day of the lunar month is very busy with the prayers.
The pagoda becomes a famous destinations in Ho Chi Minh City. Many stories live in the Jade Emperor telling about the spiritual belief of the local people. Here are some of them that are interesting to read.
1. Praying for children
The Ngoc Hoang Pagoda is a well-known place to pray for having a new child. Many people believe that they will get lucky to have pregnant of a baby when wishing at the temple.
The area where Buddhists pray to get a bay is on the left of the main hall with a sign of the Golden Goddess (Kim Hoa Thanh Mau) and 12 midwives.
The Golden Lady, also called the Holy Mother of Children, is the saint who considers childbirth on earth. Below here are 12 midwives, each side has 6 people with different positions. Every woman takes care of a job, the person for controlling the hand, another for manipulating the head, one for adjusting the eyes, one for teaching children how to walk, how to speak …
When praying, a person in the temple gives the prayer a red thread to wear on the wrist and wish. If you pray for a son, you will hang the thread on the right after wishing. If you want to have a girl, hang it on the left.
Then, you rub the belly of midwives with 3 times and rub your bell with 3 times. Next, rub the baby’s stomach 3 times at the feet of the midwife, and then 3 more times on your stomach. After that part of the ritual, the person who helps the prayers lights the lights and reads the names of the prayers.
2. Getting the truth of paying for babies
Praying for children is a spiritual belief. It becomes true or not, the story depends on each person. But when asking people around the temple, many people said: “Praying here is very effective.”
Many couples have come back to the Jade Emperor Pagoda to say thanks after having new children. They shared their joy and their devotion to the temple.
Each year, on the day of their children’s birthday, they come here to give thanksgiving. No matter how far away, in the South, the North, or overseas Vietnamese, they have returned to the ceremony.
With the people have more conditions, they may sew clothes and participate in the dressing ceremony for 12 midwives, which are held annually. If they are not rich, they can carry fruits to worship.
“It’s very miserable when having no children. It’s tired to ask a doctor. I can only put my faith in spirituality. Maybe it is lucky to have a child, so life should have hope.”A prayer said
Actually, a person of the temple also suggested: “Religious beliefs are inherently meant for people when suffering, the most desperate to entrust faith and the support. But trust does not mean superstition, so bad guys can take advantage of the belief to earn money. Infertility should first use medicine from doctors. Praying is a measure to help calm in the mind and increase trust. At the same time, Buddhists should do many good deeds, then the peace, luck, blessings will come soon”.
The Jade Emperor Pagoda is to pray for children. If you want to wish for peace and tranquility, the local people tell you to come to Thien Hau temple at Nguyen Trai Street.
3. Visiting the water pond full of fishes and turtles
It is no coincidence that the ponds in the Pagoda of Jade Emporer are releasing many fish and turtles. Previously, every lake in the temple was full of fish, and some big tortoises. Now their number has been limited less than before.
The reason for such a thing is because many people think that, when they come to the temple to pray, it depends on what they wish, then release the animal accordingly.
For example, releasing yellow carp is for good business and fortune; catfish for health and overcoming difficulties; Tilapia and tortoise for overcoming a difficult year of the age; releasing birds to pay for the dead… especially, to put turtles to pray for children.
A couple who comes here often drops a pair of turtles with their names on them. If the pair of turtles get pregnant, it will be a good signal.
Looking at the crowded turtles in the pool, which shows how many people come to this temple for luck.
4. Worshipping the statue of the Jade Emperor
The other pagodas in Vietnam often worship Buddhist statues. But, this temple worships the statue of the Jade Emperor in the central area.
Many people believe that the Jade Emperor has the top rank in heaven. Praying him can support life and business to develop better. This purpose is also the original target when a Chinese businessman had the pagoda built in 1892.
So, plenty of Buddhists come to this pagoda to pray for smooth business and lucky life. The spiritual belief sill lives strongly in the mind of the local people. And the pagoda still a preferred destination during the 1st and 15th day of the lunar month.
5. Welcoming the VIP to visit the temple
In 1994, Jade Emperor Pagoda was recognized as a national architectural monument. The current abbot of the temple is Thích Minh Tông.
Inside, there are still artic word lines, old worshipping paintings and incense urns. This place is the only temple in Vietnam with ancient paper statues representing the gatherings of the deities with the Jade Emperor.
The temple warmly welcomed the US President Barack Obama on 24 May 2016. This thing is one of the proud of Phuoc Hai pagoda. After this event, the site has become more and more famous.
With the rich value of architecture, the art of the temple, and especially the unique paper statues, Ngoc Hoang Pagoda is a holy place and spiritual destination of the local people. Every year of January 9, the pagoda organizes a Jade Emperor ceremony, which is truly a festival in the first days of the new year for prayers to wish good lucks.