VIETNAM ( SERIES -23 )
EMPEROR LY THANH TONG OF DAI VIET
LY THANH TONG was the third Emperor of the LY DYNASTY and the eighth ruler of DAI VIET as just after his succession he shortened the Kingdom name from DAI CO VIET to DAI VIET , (literal meaning of which is GREAT VIET) in 1054 AD . He ruled the country from 3rd November , 1054 AD to 1st February , 1072 AD . His personal name was LY NHAT TON and his temple name was THANH TONG . He had eight concubines including Empress THURONG DURONG and Empress LINH NHAN . His son was the Duke of MINH NHAN known as LY NHAN TONG who after his death on 1st February , 1072 AD became his successor . He was the eldest son of Emperor LY THAI TONG and Empress LINH CAM or MAI THI . He was born on 30th March , 1023 AD at CAN DUC palace . He had not lived in the disturbed atmosphere of HOA LU unlike his father and grand father . His father had readily delegated important tasks to him like he led soldiers against rebels , he judged offenders, he presided over the court in his father’s absence . Moreover , he always knew that he would be the next king of DAI VIET . In 1033 AD , he was conferred Crown Prince after his father ascended the throne as Prince KHAI HOANG . When he was enthroned as a king , he promoted the agricultural development reducing some of harsh laws . He built many CONFUCIANIST and BUDDHIST Institutions . Most notably of them was the first Temple of Literature in VIETNAM built in 1072 AD . He also expanded the VIETNAMESE territory by several successful wars with CHAMPA . On the other hand , LY THANH TONG dared to claim imperial status , which for the CHINESE was a direct challenge that prelude to the SONG-VIET war in 1070 AD .
THE ADMINISTRATION & DOMESTIC AFFAIRS OF LY THANH TONG
Emperor LY THANH TONG incorporated both SINIC and INDIC elements in his court . He ordered all the court officials who used to visit frequently in his court to wear prevailing CHINESE style headgear and footwear in1059 AD . Ten of junior Royal servants and scribes were promoted to Law Officers in 1067 AD . But unfortunately he had no son at all even at the age of 40 in 1063 AD . So he was quite anxious for his successor . He traveled to PHAP VAN PAGODA about thirty KM to the east of THANG LONG . It was an ancient major BUDDHIST temple in THANH KHOUNG commune ( BAC NINH PROVINCE ) . The temple was historically marked as the ancient settlement of LUY LAU . LUY LAU was the major centre of BUDDHISM in VIETNAM . The PAGODA and the temple were of second century AD constructed in 187 AD to 226 AD . It was the stopping point for both Northern ( MAHAYANA ) and Southern ( THERAVADA ) BUDDHIST pilgrims and monks . On his way to the PAGODA , he was passing through a village called THO LOI where he saw a girl of common origin leaning on an orchid tree . But the girl , unlike other girls of the village, was not paying attention at all towards the monarch despite the fact that he was well escorted by the eye-catching Royal Guards while on his way . This impressed Emperor LY THANH TONG very much . So he decided to choose the girl as his concubine with the title as Lady Y LAN . On 25th January 1066 AD , LadyY LAN gave birth to the first child of Emperor LY THANH TONG named as LY CAN DUC . Right after the birth , LY CAN DUC was entitled as crown prince of the LY DYNASTY . And Lady Y LAN was granted the title of IMPERIAL CONCUBINE . To celebrate the event , Emperor LY THANH TONG changed his era name from CHURONG THANH GIA KHANH to LONG CHURONG THIEN TO and he gave out General amnesty for prisoners . His second son was born on 1068 AD from Lady Y LAN named as Prince MINH NHAN VUONG .
RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES DURING EMPEROR LY THANH TONG
Emperor LY THANH TONG was not much engaged with either the BUDDHIST or spirit world like his father and grandfather . However , in 1057 AD he erected statue of BUDDHA in THANG LONG as the reincarnation of a pantheon of spirits . He also ordered to construct a temple called PHAN VURONG DE THICH for the worship of the HINDU God INDRA who was called in VIETNAM as DE THICH . During that period itself , he also constructed a royal cult linked HINDU-BUDDHIST King of the God INDRA and BRAHMA (in VIETNAM call PHAN VURONG ). Every year the Emperor used to go to worship the shrine of INDRA . He had golden statues of HINDU God BRAHMA and SHANKARA to worship at temples of THIEN PHUC and THIEN THO . He also went to the mount of TAN VIEN in early 1072 AD to worship MOUNTAIN SPIRIT . TAN VIEN mountain in the VIETNAMESE mythology was the home of the mountain God SON TINH . SON TINH was considered as one of the four immortals in the traditional VIETNAMESE mythology .
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