Dau Pagoda Or Phap Van Tu In Dinh To village, district of Thuan Thanh, Ha Bac. This pagoda is considered the most ancient Buddhist temple in Vietnam. According to the legend, in the time of the Chinese Governor Si Nhiep (llnd — lllrd century), Indian friar A Da La came to settle down in Dau (Luy Lau or Lien Lau). The couple Tu Dinh ordered their daughter Man Nuong to take care of the meals for the monk. One day, as he did not find the girl serving him rice soup, Da La went to seek the girl and saw her lying at the kitchen door. He cautiously stepped across the body of the virgin who, miraculously, conceived a child. At the fourteenth month, she delivered a baby on the eighth day of the fourth moon, Buddha’s birth anniversary. She gave the new born, a daughter, to Da La. The latter carried the child to a sacred tree and uttered a gatha, the trunk of the tree cracked itself to receive the daughter. Sometime later, the uprooted tree floated on a stream towards Dau. Man Nuong threw on the water a string from her bra and the floating tree stopped at Dau landing place. Villagers cut up the tree trunk and made from it four statues representing the four powers of Buddhist doctrine called Tu phap: Van (Cloud), Vu(Rain), Loi (Thunder), Dien (Lightning).
In carving the statues, the craftsmen threw “sacred stone” inside the tree trunk (the infant); the statue of Phap Van Buddha (Doctrine having the Cloud power) refused to return to the pagoda dedicated to her. There was again an intervention from Man Nuong to reopen the sacred stone. Thus a chain of pagodas was built: Phap Van (Dau pagoda), Phap Vu (Dau), Phap Loi (Tuong), Phap Dien (Don) and a pagoda for the cult of Man Nuong- Mother of Buddha. In front of Dau pagoda is a Market of The Deceased (Cho Am) which used to gather at dusk, and it was pretended that the souls of the dead went there. The pagoda ground is dominated by the Hoa Phong Tower (17m high and 7m around) made from Bat Trang bricks (1737). In the tower, there is a bell (1793) and a crescent shaped gong (1817).
Architectural composition: letter I inverted. There is no vestige of the first construction. The basement dates back to the XIVth century (sculptures of dragons, dancers…). The statue of Phap Van (Doctrine of Cloud power) of 3m height with a pedestal representing the Genie of Cloud becoming Buddha stripped to the waist. Before the statue of Phap Van is the sacred stone (in the form of a linga). Pagoda festival: 8th day of the 4th moon (a procession brought here statues of Phap Vu, Phap Loi, Phap Dien). People then honor the goddess of Ba Dau (Lady Mulberry) who presides over silk worm breeding in the region.