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View through a grated door at the Buet Thap Pagoda, about 30 KM from Ha Noi. Lynel took me to this pagoda, one of her favorite day trips from Ha Noi, the morning of the day I left Vietnam.

The view through this grated door reminded me of Chinese paintings dividing a scene into vertical panels.


Another doorway in one of a series of buildings at Buet Thap.

Each building and intervening courtyard presents many beautiful moments, gently drawing the visitor into a mood of meditation and repose.

Stone tortoise, on the back of which rests a stela listing the names of monks long deceased.

Among the many buildings that comprise the pagoda, some (like this one) are designed and decorated in Confucian style. Others are Buddhist, and others mixed.


Roof tiles aged with lichens, Buet Thap pagoda.

A 17th-century statue of the Goddess of Mercy (Quan The Am Bo Tat).

One of the most important assistants to enlightenment in Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhism, a statue of this goddess appears in nearly every pagoda. In this version she is shown with a thousand arms.

Side view of the thousand-armed Goddess of Mercy.

In other versions she also has a thousand eyes, or appears more simply as a statue of a woman with compassionate expression, not unlike Western statues of the Virgin Mary.

Detail of the thousand arms of the Goddess of Mercy (Quan The Am Bo Tat), at the Buet Thap Pagoda.

Gong in the shape of a fish at Buet Thap Pagoda.

Close-up of a woven curtain, one of a series in a courtyard at Buet Thap Pagoda.
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