Kien-So monastery, (in) Phu-Dong, Bac-Ninh, VN

Raw data

Kien-So monastery, in the village of Phu-Dong, Bac-Ninh province, N. Vietnam. Mahayana: Active 820 AD and onwards. Active in 1860 AD. Src: Thich Thien-An (1975:55, 63)
Input by: tmciolek, 20 Feb 2009

Quoting Zen in Medieval Vietnam, note 7, pg. 361. " According to the Dai Nam Nhat Thong Chi (28:11) ' Bac Ninh Province, section Kien Tri Dien Cach", "Tien Du District was located ten li to the northeast of Tu Son Province. Its width from east to west measured 18 li, from north to south, ten miles. Nowadays it is known as Tien Son Pefecture, Ha Bac Province.
The compilation of biographies of Zen masters known as the Thien Uyen Tap Anh includes specific information on some of the early Buddhist monasteries in Vietnam. The Zen master Vo Ngon Thong, who was from Guangzhou, was in residence in the monastery until his death in 826 CE. The master Cam Thanh was in residence until his death in 860 CE. This document asserts that it was Cam Thanh who founded the monastery.
See Nguyen (1997:107-109).

Input by sgordon, 20 December 2009.

"The boats turns right into the Duong River and anchor at the suburban village of Phu Dong in Gia Lam District, the home village of the legendary hero Giong. He is credited with defeating the Yin enemy in the north on an iron horse and is said to have flown to heaven after the victory.
Giong Temple in Phu Dong is one of four temples in the area worshipping him. Next to his temple is Kien So Pagoda, where King Ly Thai To (974-1028) spent his childhood. Built in 820, it is one of the oldest Buddhist pagodas in Viet Nam."

"Vo Ngon Thong was a Buddhist monk under the Tang dynasty in , the founder of the Guan Bi (‘looking at the wall’) religious sect. In 820, he went to An Nam, today, living at Kien So pagoda, Phu Dong village, Tien Du rural district, Bac Ninh province. He sat in meditation, facing the wall throughout several years without anyone’s notice. The pagoda was presided over by the monk Cam Thanh, who knew that Vo Ngon Thong was an eminent monk who had reached religious perfection, and as the monk Cam Thanh respected and venerated him as the Master, the Vo Ngon Thong Zen sect was then founded after this event."

Phu Dong, Vietnam Page
Other names: Phù Ðổng
Lat 21.0500 Long 105.9667

Input by tmciolek, 7 Jan 2010.

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 31 Aug 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200 m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Kien-So monastery, VN.

General location of the Kien-So monastery, VN.
Lat 21.05458 Long 105.964
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2009.

Google Map link:,%20VN)&ll=21.05458,105.964&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Kien-so monastery

2. Monastery's modern country

  • Vietnam: Bac-Ninh Province

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx., Lat 21.05458 Long 105.964 - visual identification of the monastery in - tmciolek, 7 Jan 2010.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

  • [missing data]

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Mahayana - Thich Thien-An (1975:55, 63)

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • Ch'an/Zen - Thich Thien-An (1975:55, 63)

11. Date-early

MBM chrono-tag 0800-32c - tmciolek 31 Aug 2013
0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32c 0933-66c 0967-99c 1000-32c 1033-66c 1067-99c 1100-32c 1133-66c 1167-99c 1200=> dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

  • Active 820 AD and onwards - Thich Thien-An (1975:55, 63)
  • Active 1860 CE - Thich Thien-An (1975:55, 63)

13. Date-late

  • Still in current use in 20th c.

MBM chrono-tag 1200=> - tmciolek 31 Aug 2013

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • Vo Ngon Thong came from Guangzhou to Kien So in the first decades of the ninth century.

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • 14th century mss. copy of 10th century history of Zen masters of Vietnam, The Thien Uyen Tap Anh.

16. Additional notes

  • [missing data] (incl. details of the size of the monastic population)

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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