|Long Truong pagoda (Photo: Ngoc Anh/VOV5)
Long Truong pagoda was built in 1868 on a small plot of land. In 1928 the family of Thach Saray and Thach Thi Em donated 25,000 sqm of land and the other villagers contributed labor and money to enlarge the pagoda, which has undergone many restorations, most recently in 2005.
Long Truong looks similar to other Khmer pagodas – a main hall, a flag pole, a monastery, and towers. The main hall stands out in the center of the pagoda. The design incorporates the isosceles triangle, a symbol of the Khmer spirit and the Buddhist philosophy.
Venerable Thach Sa Vane, the head of Long Truong pagoda, said: “Monk Thach Prum built the pagoda for the local people to practice religious activities. In Khmer pagodas the main hall is the most important place, where monks perform ceremonies such as offering robes. In the main hall there is a 19 m statue of Buddha entering Nirvana, surrounded by 80 arhats. There are statues describing Buddha’s enlightenment and birth. Buddhist followers often go to the pagoda to offer rice to the monks, her sermons, and chant sutras to pray for blessings for themselves and the spirits of their deceased parents and relatives.”
|A construction at Long Truong pagoda (photo: Ngoc Anh/ VOV5)
Long Truong is a religious, cultural, and educational center of the Khmer community. During the wars it was one of the hubs of the Khmer’s national patriotism movements and provided shelter to revolutionary soldiers. Many revolutionary cadres who took shelter in the pagoda later held important positions in state agencies.
Thach Ngoc Bien, Martyr and Hero of the People's Armed Forces, Thach Minh Man, former Chairman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee of Tra Vinh province, and Son Tho, former Deputy Head of the Ethnic Affairs Committee of Cuu Long province, the old name of Vinh Long and Tra Vinh province. Venerable Thach Sa Vane has received many certificates of merit for his contributions to social work.
Son Nhan, a member of the Executive Board of Long Truong pagoda, said: “The head monk has encouraged kindhearted people to help unfortunate and lonely people. He communicates the policies of the State and province on social security, hunger eradication, poverty alleviation, and religious affairs. Every year, the pagoda helps the poor and the disadvantaged. Each year the pagoda builds 40 to 50 houses for the poor, each worth about 2,000 USD. This work has been carried out for 10 years. The beneficiaries are very happy to have sturdy houses.”
|A Buddha statue at Long Truong pagoda (photo: Ngoc Anh/ VOV5)
Long Truong pagoda regularly hosts Khmer ceremonies like the Chol Chnam Thmey new year ceremony, the Send Dolta ancestor worship, the Ok Ombok moon worship ritual, and the Kathina costumes offering.
A pilgrim visiting Long Truong pagoda says: “Buddhist followers visit Tuong Long pagoda on the 1st, 8th, 15th, and 30th day of the month. They pray for health and prosperity.”
For its cultural, architectural, and historical values, Long Truong pagoda was recognized as a provincial heritage on March 15th, 2016.