Vinh Nghiem Pagoda was built in a traditional Vietnamese architectural style around the 11th century as a centre for training the monks of Truc Lam Zen, a Zen school founded by Emperor Tran Nhan Tong (1258–1308), showing the influence of Confucian and Taoist philosophy. This school harmoniously combined different Zen schools with Vietnamese cultural traditions into Vietnamese Zen. As the only native school of Buddhism in Vietnam, it was to have great influence on the development of culture, education and lifestyle for generations of people in Vietnam.
From 1873 to 1935, in order to popularize the ideas and philosophy of the Buddhist Truc Lam Zen, wooden blocks, used for printing, were carved from the durable thị tree wood. These Buddhist sutra woodblocks contain records of the formation, development and ideology of Truc Lam Zen Buddhism, and, at the same time, mark the development of the Nom writing system. They also comprise excellent works of art with unique, original and irreplaceable features embodying extensive information on religion, language, literature, medicine, and art.
The collection of woodblocks now housed in the Pagoda was inscribed on the Asia-Pacific Memory of the World Register in 2012. It includes 3,050 woodblocks, most of which are the Buddhist texts, sutras and writings of three Vietnamese master monks, (Dieu Ngu Giac Hoang Tran Nhan Tong (1258 – 1308), Phap Loa Dong Kien Cuong (1284 – 1330) and Huyen Quang Ly Dao Tai (1254 – 1334)), and other master monks of Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen Buddhism.
MOWCAP Regional Register