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The Cursed, Monk-less Phuc Quang Pagoda

Built in 1734 under the reign of King Long Duc III, Phuc Quang pagoda in Bac Giang Province has been mysteriously monk-less for nearly 300 years.

Bao Phap luat explains that despite its large, ancient bell and 90 golden sculptures of Buddha, the pagoda is said to be without a soul after being cursed by a king.

According to myth, that king had little respect for Buddhism so one day, when he passed by the pagoda in disguise, he cursed it, saying that no monk should inhabit it. The villagers thought these were only silly words from a stranger until one day, when a monk was assigned to take care of the pagoda, he was bitten by a snake. Frightened by the serpent, he left and all subsequent monks abandoned their posts after similar incidents. The villagers recalled the curse of the king to explain these strange episodes.

Nguyen Dinh Thuan, the pagoda’s caretaker, said that the longest a monk could last was 3 years. That monk was Thich Hue Cuu who came to lead the pagoda in 2010. He contributed lots of help in fundraising but later, his behavior around the female helpers, especially widowed ones, seemed inappropriate and upset the villagers. Suddenly, on March 2, 2013, Cuu silently left in the middle of the night.

While some say that the curse was just a rumor, some believe otherwise, that inside the pagoda there is an incense basin where the curse of the old king is engraved.

Despite the myths, Phuc Quang pagoda is among the oldest in Vietnam holding valuable antiques from the 18th century and was recognized as a cultural relic in 2010.

[Bao Phap luat]

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