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Thien Tu Bao Chau (Thiền Tự Bảo Châu)

Vietnamese. ‘Protection [by the] Pearl of Self-meditation or ‘Security Gem of Self-taught Zen’. Name of a small Mahayana Buddhist temple in Hoi An. The entrance consist of a paifang-like archway (fig.), with three doorways. A metal gate has the name Bao Chau welded into it, while to the right of it is a sort of Chinese rockery (fig.), with painted on it in Chinese calligraphy Bao Zhu (宝珠), i.e. ‘Treasure Pearl’, the Chinese equivalent of Bảo Châu. The prayer and meditation hall houses a Buddha image seated in the lotus position while holding up a lotus flower (fig.) with his right hand. Above the image is a panel in the form of a wooden scroll with some Chinese characters in gold on it, somewhat reminiscent in form to the fan-shaped window partitions found in traditional Vietnamese and Chinese architecture. On one side of the hall is the temple drum, placed opposite of the temple bell on the other side. In front of the hall is a large bronze joss stick vessel, which in Thai is referred to as kratahng toob (fig.), and which is used to burn incense. The temple's courtyard has a small Chinese rock garden (fig.) with stone garden lanterns and some medium and life-sized marble statues, including of the bodhisattva Kuan Yin (fig.) and the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma (fig.). See MAP.