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The Origin of Vietnam-India Cultural Exchange (A Case Study of Dot Son Pagoda, Cap Tien Commune, Tien Lang District, Hai Phong) Part 1

28/08/2017


The Origin of Vietnam-India Cultural Exchange (A Case Study of Dot Son Pagoda, Cap Tien Commune, Tien Lang District, Hai Phong) Part 1


The Origin of Vietnam-India Cultural Exchange

(A Case Study of Dot Son Pagoda, Cap Tien Commune, Tien Lang District, Hai Phong)

Assoc. Prof. Ph.D. Le Van Toan*

 

When discussing cultural values of a specific place or region, it is necessary to examine and analyze the region or place and related areas in many aspects: natural geography, history, especially people – the central factor creating cultural values of places and regions. Using this approach, discussion on cultural values of Cau Lau Buddhist center with Dot Son Pagoda, Cap Tien commune, Tien Lang district, Hai Phong province as a focal point, should explain the research gaps as follows: 1/ When did the propagation of Dhamma happen? 2/ When was Buddhism first introduced into Vietnam and what was the first place in Vietnam receiving Buddhism; 3/ The historical and cultural values of Dot Son Pagoda, Cap Tien commune, Tien Lang district, Hai Phong province and some suggestions.

In this research paper, I will discuss the previous and current findings related to the topic.

1. About the date of Dhamma Propagation (Dharma Pracāra in Sanskrit )

The emperor of Maurya Empire (273-232 BC) was Ashoka the Great. He was the first King of ancient India supporting the development and spread of Buddhism. He ordered to build many stone steles recording Buddhist events about the life of Shakyamuni Buddha. In the book series Buddhism and the Stream of Vietnamese history1, superior Buddhist monk Thich Duc Nhuan wrote that: “… 218 years after the death of Buddha, the holy king Ashoka wholeheartedly propagated the Dharma and did three great things:

(1) Convening the Third Buddhist Council;

(2) Building Buddhist temples and monasteries;

(3) Establishing Dhamma missions.

With the strong support of Emperor Ashoka and the presiding of the Venerable Moggaliputta Tissa, after The Third Buddhist council was conven