An Quang pagoda is located at No.243 Su Van Hanh street, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City. Established in 1948, An Quang pagoda played a special role in the history of South Vietnamese Buddhism in particular and modern Vietnamese Buddhism in general.
Establishment of An Quang pagoda, Saigon
An Quang pagoda was established by the monk Thich Tri Huu from Linh Ung pagoda in Ngu Hanh Son, Da Nang in 1948. Initially, it was a small pagoda covered with thatch with the name of Ung Quang. After having completed the main shrine and a monastery, all of which were made of bamboo and thatch, the monk gave a lecture for monk students of the neighboring pagodas. As a result, Ung Quang pagoda became a small Buddhist school.
In 1950, the monk Thich Thien Hoa, a member of the Lam Te, was responsible for Ung Quang Pagoda to propagate Buddhism. As the head of the pagoda, Thich Thien Hoa built the main shrine following the style of Tu Dam pagoda in Hue. Since then, Thich Thien Hoa devoted all his mind to the embellishment of the pagoda and the establishment of a Buddhist school to educate and propagate Buddhism.
In early 1951, Thich Thien Hoa advocated merging Lien Hai, Mai Son, Sung Duc and An Quang school into Nam Viet Buddhist school. Since then, Ung Quang pagoda was renamed An Quang pagoda and was selected as the headquarters of the Buddhist school.
An Quang pagoda was also the headquarters of the Tang Gia Nam Viet sangha, which was established in 1951.
During the period that the monk Thich Thien Hoa worked as an abbot, An Quang pagoda gave the training to hundreds of monk teachers and thousands of monk students that worked as the messengers of the Tathagata and the abbots of the pagodas in the southern provinces.
After 1975, An Quang pagoda was still an important center of educating Buddhism in the South. With its location, the pagoda was chosen to be the location of the Buddhist Association Office in Ho Chi Minh City directly under the Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam.
The restoration of An Quang pagoda, Saigon
In term of architecture, prior to 1975, An Quang Pagoda underwent large restorations in 1955, 1959, 1966 and 1967. In 1967, the architecture of pagoda was redesigned in the architectural style of the architect named Nguyen Huu Thien.AnQUan
In term of the interior, a lot of statues and architectural decorations of the pagoda had high artistic values. They were made by the artisan Truong Van Thanh and the professor Truong Dinh Y at Fine Arts school in Gia Dinh.
In 2006, An Quang pagoda was rebuilt in the worship place of former abbots and monastery. In 2009, the stupa inside the pagoda was constructed to honor Amitabha Buddha, Ksitigarbha, Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva and sarina.
Nowadays, An Quang pagoda is considered to be one of the most famous spiritual destinations that attract a great number of Buddhists all over Ho Chi Minh City, especially on holidays such as Tet.