Quoc An Temple

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Quoc An Temple is a Buddhist temple in the city of Hue in central Vietnam.

In the main hall is a banner, containing a verse of praise of the temple and its founder, written by Nguyen Phuc Chu, one of the Nguyen Lords who once ruled central and southern Vietnam and the city of Hue.

The Quoc An Temple is situated on a small hill in the ward of Trường An in the city of Hue. It is located about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) along Nguyen Truong To Street from the Phu Cam Bridge that spans the Perfume River, which passes through the city of Hue.

The temple was founded by Zen Master Thích Nguyên Thiều, who lived between 1648 and 1728, some time between 1682 and 1685 and it was known as the Vĩnh Ân Temple.

Thích Nguyên Thiều was originally from China, and was a disciple of Thích Khoáng Viên, from Guangdong in southern China. In 1677, he immigrated to southern Vietnam by boat, to settle in territory ruled by the Nguyen Lords. He had initially arrived in Binh Dinh Province further south, founding the Chùa Thập Tháp Di-đà (Vietnamese for Temple of the Ten Towers of Amitabha). After building his first temple, he travelled the region expounding the dharma, before travelling to Huế to found the Hà Trung Temple in Vinh Hà district before moving to the Ngự Bình mountain district to build the Vĩnh Ân Temple.

In 1689, the Nguyen Lord Nguyễn Phúc Trân had the name of the temple changed to the Quốc Ân Temple, and gave the temple an exemption from the land taxation system.

Chùa Quốc Ân is the seat of a Buddhist patriarch lineage of central Vietnam, since Z en Master Thích Nguyên Thiều was the 33rd patriarch of the Lâm Tế Zen School. Today, the bulk of Buddhists in central and southern Vietnam are believed to have taken refuge under Thích Nguyên Thiều’s lineage of disciples and students.

After the passing of Thích Nguyên Thiều, the ruling Nguyen Lord of the time, Nguyễn Phúc Chu posthumously conferred him with imperial titles.

During the time of the Nguyen Dynasty, which was founded in 1802 and was derived from the Nguyen Lords, the temple was renovated many times. In 1805 Long Thành, the elder sister of Emperor Gia Long personally funded a renovation project.

At the time, the temple was a modest and simple. In 1822, the temple was the subject of another imperial funded renovation project, this time funded by Gia Long’s son and successor, Emperor Minh Mang. In 1825, the abbot died and a stupa was built in the garden of the temple, in which his remains were interred. The temple was the subject of another phase of expansion and renovation between 1837 and 1842.

From 1846 to 1863, a triple gate was built, along with further shrines.

At the front of the temple complex is the main ceremonial hall, while the patriarch hall is at the rear, while the sangha’s quarters are at the sides. The main hall has a shrine commemorating the birth of Prince Siddhartha, who went on to achieve enlightenment as the Buddha.

In the front yard of the temple, there is a plaque in 1729 erected by the Nguyen Lord of the time, Nguyễn Phúc Chu, praising the spiritual achievements of the temple founder, Thích Nguyên Thiều.