Located in Truoi Lake, at the foot of the Bach Ma Range, Truc Lam Bach Ma Zen Monastery is an ideal place to visit and meditate.
Fog of Truoi Lake and Bach Ma clouds create a blurry, out of habit. The ancient grounds of the monastery appears like a fairyland. Visitors coming here are as if they are getting rid of their usual troubles, immersing themselves in the magical space of this Truc Lam Zen monastery.
1. About Truc Lam Zen and Truc Lam Bach Ma Zen Monastery
The Truc Lam Zen sect is a Vietnamese Zen lineage that dates back to the Tran dynasty (1225 – 1400), founded by King Tran Nhan Tong (1258 – 1308). Truc Lam was originally the title of Tran Nhan Tong, and also the title of Zen Master Dao Vien, the predecessor of Tran Nhan Tong, the second Patriarch of this Zen.
The Truc Lam Zen sect has three outstanding Zen masters, namely Nhan Tong (Truc Lam Dau Da), Phap Loa, and Huyen Quang, generally known as Truc Lam Tam To.
This Zen sect is considered to be the continuation and merger of the three Vietnamese Zen lineages of the 12th century: the Thao Duong, Vo Ngon Thong, and Ti-ni-da-luu-chi. With the establishment of the Truc Lam, Tran Nhan Tong unified the Zen sects that existed before and the entire Tran Buddhist religions on one match.
Truc Lam Bach Ma Zen Monastery is a Zen monastery of Truc Lam Yen Tu sect, a scenic spot in Thua Thien – Hue province, Vietnam.
Truc Lam Bach Ma was founded by Venerable Master Thuong Thanh Ha Tu. This temple is the first Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen monastery built in Central Vietnam. Construction started on the monastery on March 30, 2006. Now, it has been completed with three areas with over 20 buildings, including external monasteries, monks and nuns’ houses.
2. Journey to Truc Lam Bach Ma Monastery
Truc Lam Bach Ma Monastery is located at the foot of Bach Ma mountain, in the heart of the Truoi lake in Loc Hoa commune, Phu Loc district, Thua Thien – Hue province, Vietnam.
2.1. The way to Truc Lam Bach Ma Zen Monastery:
- From Hue City, go south about 30 km, to Truoi bridge,
- Turn right onto the path for about 10 km,
- Follow the river through a bend to Truoi dam,
- About 500 meters away from the dam base is Truc Lam Bach Ma Monastery, and you need to take a boat to come.
2.2. Fee to visit Truc Lam Bach Ma monastery
- There is no ticket cost to enter the monastery area. But you will have to spend money on a boat to cross the river.
- The boat ticket is about 30,000 VND/person, plus an insurance fee.
- If renting a full boat through the monastery, it is 240,000 for a boat under 12 people.
- If you rent a boat to visit around the Truoi Lake tourist area, the price is 600,000, a maximum of 20 people.
- The price here is for reference, it can change.
2.3. Explore Truc Lam Bach Ma Zen Monastery
The climate in the Bach Ma Range is quite mild, due to its location near the sea (5 km from the East Sea) and at an ideal height (1,450 m). Thus, it welcomes both winds from the mainland and the sea.
The average temperature is from 19 – 21 degrees Celsius, so the climate is suitable for relaxing and visiting.
The hill of Truc Lam Bach Ma monastery appears in the heart of Truoi lake like a pristine lotus, leaning against the green mountain Bach Ma forest.
The sacred mountain of Bach Ma and Truc Lam stream seems to be interfering with each other to create a charming, poetic, and quiet landscape in the wild jungle.
While taking a boat to Truc Lam Bach Ma Monastery, you will see the 24-meter-high Buddha statue, weighing 1,500 tons in stone, meditating on the hill facing the lake.
Truc Lam Bach Ma Monastery is divided into 3 areas: the Outer Monastery (Ngoai Vien) where the main temple is, worshiping Buddha sitting under the banyan tree. Behind the main hall is the area where Patriarch Dat Ma of the Truc Lam Zen is worshiped. The monastery (Tang Vien) is a religious place for male monks and male Buddhists, and the nunnery (Ni Vien) is a specialized area for female nuns.
To get to the monastery, you have to pass 172 stone steps. The quietly majestic three-door gate waiting for you above will gradually show up with each step. Surrounded by mountains of primeval forests, lush trees, flower gardens are carefully cared for the beauty of the campus.
In this area, you feel like getting lost in the immaculate pure Nirvana, temporarily setting aside all worldly troubles, breathing in the cool air that calms the bottom of your soul.
Coming to Truc Lam Bach Ma Hue Monastery, you will admire the artistic masterpieces of Buddhism and the ancient motifs on the temple roofs.
The temple’s bell tower is designed in the traditional style of temples in Vietnam, consisting of double yin-yang tile roofs, carved flowers, and vivid dragon shapes.
Inside the temple is airy and cozy, designed with wood, bearing the Vietnamese architectural style. The main wooden door can open all with a wide pace to welcome the guests. And, the windows on both sides for ventilation and light.
Standing here in the meditation space, smelling the incense, listening to a meditation bell, people seem to be gentle and calm in the tranquil of the mountains and lake.
There are also short-term meditation courses and practices at the monastery. Here, you are not affected by any electronic objects, no phones, computers, completely relax your body and enjoy the peace among nature.
2.4. Some notes when visiting Truc Lam Bach Ma monastery
- There are no food stalls in the temple area, so bring your own food and drinks.
- In the monastery, there was no requirement to keep silent. However, you should not talk aloud, because this is a place to meditate and calm your mind.
- If you go in the wet season (October – February), you should bring warm clothing, a scarf, and a light waterproof jacket. It is because there is often fog and drizzle.
Truc Lam Bach Ma Zen Monastery is one of the eight most beautiful monasteries in Vietnam. The water and forest are painted in harmony, and the climate is cooling.
If you like to explore the peaceful land or meditation and ancient architecture, you should visit this place at least once to experience the tranquil feelings, and immerse yourself in the bell sounds in the calm wild nature.
3. Frequent asked questions to visit Truc Lam Bach Ma Monastery
Can I visit Truc Lam Bach Ma Monastery by myself?
Yes, you can. You can hire a private car and driver or motorbike with a rider to help you to go there. And then, you take the boat to cross the temple. However, if you have a tour from Hue to Hoi An, it is good to combine it on this journey.
When is the best time to visit Truc Lam Bach Ma?
Truc Lam Bach Ma Monastery is in the mountainous area, so from March to September is the dry season that is a reasonable period to visit this place. That is also the time without rain to take beautiful pictures.
How long can I visit Truc Lam Bach Ma Monastery from Hue City?
The time to visit Truc Lam Bach Ma Monastery takes you around 4 hours at least with traveling by a car. The scenery is peaceful and lovely, so you need time to rest and enjoy the tranquility of nature. Also, take your time to breathe the fresh air created by the Bach Ma mountains.
Are there hotels and restaurants near Truc Lam Bach Ma?
No, there are not. It is better to stay in Hue City where has a lot of nice hotels, and beautiful restaurants with a lot of flavorful local Hue food to taste.