Summary of Mother Goddess Worship in Vietnam
Nội dung chính [Hiện]
For a long time, the belief in Mother Goddesses was ignored, even wearing a superstitious coat. But since the 70s of the twentieth century, a couple of young art researchers, with the guidance of the late Prof. Tu Chi, suddenly realized that: Almost all major religions were imported from outside, only the custom of Mother worship, considered as a main axis of folk beliefs, has existed for thousands of years. as a spiritual counterweight to external religions, so that we can still be ourselves, contributing to the protection of an eternal and eternal national cultural identity. So, what is the "Mother" religion?
Going through the primitive stage (when Vietnamese people still worshiped the forces of nature) to the stage of worshiping the gods of identity, from the very beginning, a most interesting object of worship was born, the powerful mother. In the gathering period, the role of women was decisive for the existence of families and communities. That is the condition for the mother/forest lord of the origin of the "cosmic man" in Vietnamese beliefs to appear. People often think of a convergence point is Dong Cuong temple (in North Yen Bai). After that, following the Red River, the Vietnamese gradually descended to reclaim flatter land to gradually stabilize a wet-rice agriculture. Maybe that was a creative reason for the Mother of Au Co in Phu Tho. Temporarily this is the mythization of the phenomenon of terrestrial inhabitants combined with fishing inhabitants, giving rise to the original love couple Au Co-Lac Long Quan.
Perhaps this land is also the main convergence of the interference between the original ethnic groups such as: Mon-Khmer, Tibetan-Burmese, Tay-Thai, Malay-Nam Dao, and many other ethnic minorities that shape gradually became the Viet-Muong ethnic group. After that, Phu Tho-Viet Tri witnessed the separation of ethnic groups: Kinh-Muong, opening a long march to strongly explore the central and lower Red River delta. Maybe then there was a big cultural "clash" between Lac Viet and Au Viet (in the Northeast) to end the Hung period and switch to the Thuc dynasty. It was a great revolution of the nation, promoting history and social development.
Phu Tho-Viet Tri witnessed the ethnic separation: Kinh-Muong, opening the long march to strongly explore the central and lower Red River delta. Maybe then there was a big cultural "clash" between Lac Viet and Au Viet (in the Northeast) to end the Hung period and switch to the Thuc dynasty. It was a great revolution of the nation, promoting history and social development. Phu Tho-Viet Tri witnessed the ethnic separation: Kinh-Muong, opening the long march to strongly explore the central and lower Red River delta. Maybe then there was a big cultural "clash" between Lac Viet and Au Viet (in the Northeast) to end the Hung period and switch to the Thuc dynasty. It was a great revolution of the nation, promoting history and social development.
In the field of Mother worship, due to the combination of many external cultural factors (including Brahmins, Buddhism, Chinese culture...), agricultural gods (here gods associated with rain) are Buddhistization to form the model of the Four Dharmas. The "predestined relationship" between the local culture and the outside culture, especially Buddhism, has given rise to a new kind of motherland - Mrs. Man Nuong (the common model of mankind about motherland is: Mrs. often "accomplish" with people outside the tribe, ie people who are not of the same class, class, etc.).
Some people once thought that she was the incarnation of mother earth, the cooperation between her and "children" (Van, Vu, Loi, Phong=Clouds, Rain, Thunder, Wind) is the source of happiness and satiety. … Currently, the space focusing on the origin of the Four Dharma beliefs is considered to be at the boundary between the semi-mountain and lowland areas of the Red River Delta. From here, the faith of the Four Dharmas spread to the lower regions (in Hanoi, transformed from Buddha into Bodhisattva; as to be closer to sentient beings). And, right on the land of Phu Giay, it seems that there is an integration between the Four Dharmas and the Four Palaces. In general, the belief in the Four Dharmas gradually faded, until the lowland area of the Red River Delta was discovered, it was transformed into the Four Palaces.
For centuries, the Four Palaces religion has existed with the agricultural economy, reflecting the long-standing wishes of Vietnamese farmers. On the temple of this belief, it can be temporarily classified into the following basic systems: reflect the traditional wishes of Vietnamese farmers. On the temple of this belief, it can be temporarily classified into the following basic systems: reflect the traditional wishes of Vietnamese farmers. On the temple of this belief, it can be temporarily classified into the following basic systems:
- One is: the creative system: Including the Four Palaces of the Holy Mother (four supreme gods in the four cosmic regions: Heaven, forest, water and earth), divided into two sub-systems associated with life and death. Therefore, although it is the Four Palaces, only the Three Courts are the first system, consisting of three forces associated with agricultural aspirations: Heaven, Water and Earth. The second system is associated with Mother Thuong Ngan, partly related to past lives (the dead are often buried in the forest). When the Four Palaces beliefs transformed the "followers", supported by the non-agricultural class, who emphasized water and forests, bringing the meaning of wealth, then Mother Earth was automatically left out. Tam Toa transformed, including: Mother Thuong Thien, Mau Thuong Ngan and Mau Thoai (although there is still a separate Trang cave).
- Second, the system of implementing the creative intentions of the Holy Mother, including: Five Venerable Ton Ong/mandarin.
- Third, the system of promoting creative achievements, including: Four Palaces Quan Hoang and Four Palaces Adoration/Cau Ba, who have contributed to the country and the people in building and defending the nation.
- Fourth, the standard system of sentient beings enjoys blessings, including: She and You. These are sentient beings who, when born with virtue and virtue, are reborn in this holy world. She and Uncle were worshiped by many residents around the world and were entered into the Mother's temple, when this religion occupied the "top" position in Vietnamese popular society. In general, the worship of Mother Goddesses of Four Palaces is a product of the vast thinking that permeates the universe, belongs to the common people, it is both revered and appreciated, and is close to and attached to the basic steps of history. The Mother "Dao" has entered the depths of the soul of Vietnamese folk beliefs. The Mother followed in the footsteps of the Vietnamese to mark their power in all parts of the country. However, in the old regimes, Marian worship was only considered a marginal religion: even though it was a folk belief that existed and developed on the flow of history,
It is interesting to note that although this belief has developed somewhat widely, it was never in the old regimes that it was qualified to become an orthodox religious system, because:
– Was not founded by a particular cardinal;
– There is no doctrinal system strongly associated with human and cosmological views. It is because of the lack of spiritual needs of the masses in different periods, and then adjusts itself to survive. Therefore, it penetrates everywhere, everywhere, even into major religions, so that the appropriate foreign religion can be popularized and exist among the masses (when that religion knows how to mix with other religions). At this threshold, Buddhist statues are mostly female, especially Guan Yin Bodhisattva).
– The Mother worship belief has existed longer than any other religion and retains many elements of morality and ethics imbued with national identity, in our opinion, because it has never had an organization imposed from above. down to govern everything related. Historical reality has shown that all medieval monarchies did not know what to rely on to coordinate it, especially when its influence was too wide, and it was easy to gather the masses. That is a worrying thing for all social regimes filled with class/class contradictions. Therefore, in the past, many times, the ruling class and the Confucianists often denigrated and attributed many negative factors to the Mother-worshiping religion, even attacking the Mother Goddesses. They refute and attribute this belief to a strong superstitious element, placing it outside the orthodox ideological space, and at the same time always trying to control it.
Up to now, the belief of Mother Goddesses has been interested by many researchers, hoping to find an aspect of the original core of the spiritual beauty of Vietnamese farmers, with elements of the national cultural identity. That does not mean that we support the development of the Mother Goddess religion in a new direction. When studying the development of Buddhism in the Dharma-ending age, some Buddhists and Philosophers have pointed out that: People only find the truth of the Way where it has not yet come, or the Church is a digger. its own religious grave. If so, in some respects, the current mother worship belief is not at the end of the age. With the tradition of self-adapting to survive, this belief enters people's hearts, because 'mind' is not necessarily equal to 'dhamma'. So we just have to keep it from falling into superstition, and especially not to be taken advantage of by religious activists. The introduction of the Mother-worshiping belief into an organization (of an ecclesiastical nature) easily corrupts the innocence of this belief, fades the folk element that we have always respected, and can be associated with Mother-worship. very closely with the walk of history and society.
Specifically: at first it was associated with the worship of the queen of the forest, when entering to affirm the agricultural economy, it transformed to have the mother of Au Co country. When descending to the high plains (former Vinh Phuc-Bac Ninh), and with access to outside cultures, it transformed into the Four Dharmas (Phap Van, Phap Vu, Phap Loi, Phap Phong: the four forces associated with praying for rain), when exploring the low plains, it changed to the Four Palaces, around the sixteenth century, when the commercial economy was somewhat developed, there was a tendency to gather the gods or choose a typical person to worship. Just as in Vietnamese Buddhism, there is a phenomenon of worshiping Quan Am Nam Hai, in Mother religion, the focus is on creating the Holy Mother Lieu Hanh.
If in the past, the Mother religion followed the direction of flow from the Northwest to the Southeast, now the Mother Dao has followed merchant ships to the midlands and approached even remote areas to follow in the footsteps of the subject's ethnic group. Now it has spread all over the country. This process was also accompanied by integration with local deities, such as Mr. Hoang Bay, Hoang Sau, Hoang Muoi and other lords/lords. In general, in the first period (until the fifteenth-seventeenth centuries), the custom of Mother Goddess worship followed the direction from the forest to the lowlands, then it reversed and expanded. An extremely important feature is that the Mother religion is not fixed on the divine system, but changes according to major development milestones of the nation's history.
Hoang Muoi and other lords/lords. In general, in the first period (until the fifteenth-seventeenth centuries), the custom of Mother Goddess worship followed the direction from the forest to the lowlands, then it reversed and expanded. An extremely important feature is that the Mother religion is not fixed on the divine system, but changes according to major development milestones of the nation's history. Hoang Muoi and other lords/lords. In general, in the first period (until the fifteenth-seventeenth centuries), the custom of Mother Goddess worship followed the direction from the forest to the lowlands, then it reversed and expanded. An extremely important feature is that the Mother religion is not fixed on the divine system, but changes according to major development milestones of the nation's history.
Uncle Thuc at Tu Ky Pagoda- Photo : Doan Duc Thanh
On the contrary, the development of Mother religion has been associated with and reflected on a certain aspect of the nation's historical step, which no other major religion in our country has. In the field of worship, because it is a folk belief, the temple is also very diverse, depending on the place, it can be different from time to time. One is in Tay Thien Mausoleum. Tay Thien is not just a land from the heavenly land that fell to earth with Silver stream, Vang stream, Giai Oan stream and towering cliffs, green trees… In the second half of the 18th century, Le Quy Don was Recorded: “This mountain circuit is caused by the lofty atmosphere of the mountains in Ky Phu, Huan Chu and Cat Ne communes of Phu Luong district and Dai Tu. Coming here suddenly three mountains towering to the blue clouds…” (Kien Van Tieu Luc). Is this a sacred mountain, so in the 8th Thai Hoa Dynasty (in 1450),
Tu Chi and Tran Quoc Vuong, with the sense of ethnography, culture and history, once said that the Tam Dao mountain range is a special cultural address. It is a "stop" on the way down from the mountains to explore the fertile delta. It is also a cosmic axis symmetrical to Tan Vien mountain (Ba Vi).
On the other hand, according to the book Thuy Kinh Chu (Chinese author - 6th century) said: In the 3rd century BC, King Asoka, a great Indian hero, built a temple on Ne Le mountain in Vietnam. Buddha tower to propagate the Dharma. Later, it is often said that the mountain is Tuong Long, Kien An (Hai Phong). But, recently, the Buddhist scholar Le Manh That, through his work The History of Buddhism in Vietnam, volume I, also said that it was Tam Dao mountain area. All of these opinions, and possibly many more, seem to lead to an interpretation of the sacredness of the mountains and the land inhabited by this region, where people are prone to psychic abilities and to enter into the life force of the universe. Is it a sacred land to form the system of temples and shrines of Tay Thien?
According to legend, the mother of Tay Thien has a certain background: her father is Nang Vy, her mother is Dao Lieu, both are over 40 years old but have no children. The grandparents who went to pray at Tay Thien pagoda were given a good omen and gave birth to Mother, named Nang Thi Tieu. Growing up, Mother was braver, more talented than others, and helped King Hung fight the enemy to achieve many victories. After celebrating her parents' birthday (over 80 years old), on February 15, Mother was called to heaven. In gratitude to her, the king conferred her as "Tam Dao Son Tru Quoc Mau Dai Vuong, First High-class Phuc Than".
We suspect that all of these legends have been reclassified in recent times, so that Mother can have a name, have parents and other achievements in daily life, so that sometimes it is similar in the style of Thanh Mau Lieu. Hanh. However, we still think that, quite early on, there must have been a form of goddess worship that once existed here. But, following the flow of the Red River, the Vietnamese went down to reclaim wasteland to gradually form agriculture, they also brought along their original goddess, of which one suspected was the Queen of the Forest. On the other hand, this Thuong Ngan mother is also somewhat suitable for the sacred space of the mountains and forests of Tam Dao (Thuong temple in Tam Dao resort is also worshiped by Mrs. Thuong Ngan).
In the field of shaping, a feature of the shrines of Mother Goddesses in Tay Thien today is still quite simple, less according to common standards. That means on the main hall there is only one Thu Dien statue, there is no Holy Mother and related people. This altar is really similar to the layout in the temples of famous women who are associated with the Four Palaces (Hai Ba Trung, Ba Trieu...). In addition, the art of creating statues here is not worthy of the Tay Thien Mother, but also arbitrarily, painting the statues with improper properties, namely:
– The statue is not beautiful, sitting cross-legged, with hands down.
– Tay Thien (at least understood as the land of Buddha in the West, partly associated with the Pure Land School, with the world of Amitabha Buddha. This is a mountainous area, sometimes associated with past lives), no corresponds to red. There is no document that says Mau Tay Thien is the reincarnation of the First Mother or belongs to the First Palace, so her red bib is something that needs to be reconsidered.
– In the Temple of Ca, for unknown reasons, there is a statue of the highest sitting Mother (after Mother Thu Dien) that has sealed the standard seal of Guan Yin Bodhisattva. This form really does not exist in the belief of Mother Goddesses (nor in the law of Tam Toa). This arbitrariness also occurs in Thong temple.
– In general, the statues in Tay Thien are all products of unskilled workers and cannot be dated before the twentieth century.
In order to be more worthy of the role of Mother Tay Thien, we wish that the authorities, local people and believers from all over the world have the merit to rebuild the Tay Thien Mausoleum, decorate the statue and especially pay attention to it. systematically re-studied the belief in Mother Goddesses here. Only then will we be able to see the shimmering beauty of the eternal Vietnamese spirit of this holy land.