VIETNAM ( SERIES -22 )
EMPEROR LY THAI TONG OF DAI CO VIET
Emperor LY THAI TONG or LY PHAT MA was the second monarch of the LY DYNASTY of DAI CO VIET . He ruled the Kingdom from 1028 AD to 1054 AD . Since the tenth century , he was considered as the most successive VIETNAMESE Ruler . He was born in 1000 AD in HOA LU , NINH BINH during the reign of the Emperor LE HOAN . His father , LY CONG UAN was an official of the Royal Court that time . His mother LE THI PHAT NGAN , was the daughter of LE HOAN . When LY CONG UAN became the new ruler of DAI CO VIET , LY THAI TONG was only nine years old . Now the capital was shifted from HOA LU to THANG LONG . As a Crown Prince , he was marching with his army toward south through THANH HOA , he encountered the spirit of MOUNT TRONG DONG , which promised him to help in his campaign . As a result , LY THAI TONG successfully invaded CHAMPA . He killed the CHAM commander and destroyed half of his army . He ascended the throne in 1028 AD . At the beginning of his reign , he had fully relied on the officers working under his father as they helped him in putting down uprising by two of his brothers contesting for succession . And he personally led his expedition against his third brother at HOA LU and got success . But when he consolidated his power and became more secured , he tried to avoid his officials’ advice and demonstrated his unconventional style of governance . He promoted one of his favorite concubines to the royal status which provoked a rebellion . But that was crushed by he , himself . He captured the leader of rebellion called NONG QUANFU from the northern mountains and publicly executed him at THANG LONG . And even in the spring ploughing ceremony , he altogether rejected his officials’ advice and ploughed the land himself .
MINH DAO LAWS — A NEW CODE
In 1042 AD , LY THAI TONG created a new code called MINH DAO LAWS . He was inspired by the TANG CODE of CHINA . The TANG CODE was a penal code which was established by the TANG DYNASTY in CHINA . It was supplemented by civil statutes and regulations . It became the basis of Dynastic CODE later not only in CHINA but in many other countries of the EAST ASIA . The CODE virtually synthesized legalistic and CONFUCIAN interpretations of law . MINH DAO LAWS were written by officials appointed for this purpose by LY THAI TONG . Though MINH DAO LAW book has not survived , nine edicts dated within a few months of its publication have yet survived . He also attempted to reform the system of justice and prisons at THANG LONG by placing it under the protection of the cult of a tenth century hero . He also started reforms in the government . NUNG TRI CAO , the leader of the NUNG clan in the CAO BANG Province , proclaimed the state of DALI , the VIETNAMESE captured him and held him at THANG LONG for several years . Following this incident in the next year , the King ordered the VIETNAMESE (DAI CO VIET) court officials to ‘ compose a rhythmic narrative ‘ in order to publicize his achievement of an ‘extraordinary supernatural event’.
ONE PILLOR PAGODA OF AVALOKITESVARA
In 1049 AD , one day Emperor LY THAI TONG dreamed of AVALOKITESVARA while sleeping . The very second day , he ordered the construction of ONE PILLOR PAGODA OF AVALOKITESVARA in THANG LONG , which still survives in HANOI . The ONE PILLOR PAGODA is a historic BUDDHA temple in the central BA DINH district near THANG LONG citadel . The most important part of this architectural complex is that the building is laid down in one pillar . The original PAGODA was built in 1049 AD . But with some addition it was perfected in 1105 AD . Alongside the PERFUME TEMPLE , it is considered as one of the most iconic temples of VIETNAM . The story of construction of the ONE PILLOR PAGODA is not less interesting . According to the court records , Emperor LY THAI TONG was childless . One day he dreamed that he met the BODHISATTVAS AVALOKITESVARA , who handed him a baby son while seated on the LOTUS FLOWER . LY THAI TONG then married a peasant girl that he had met . She bore him a son . So in gratitude of this , the King constructed the temple in 1049 AD . A Monk called THIEN TUE advised him to build the temple by erecting a pillar in the middle of the LOTUS POND , similar to one he saw in the dream . Before the PAGODA was opened , prayers were held for the longevity of the monarch . On the birthday of GAUTAMA BUDDHA , an annual ceremony on the occasion of VESAK was celebrated throughout the LY DYNASTY era . A BUDDHA-BATHING ceremony was celebrated every year by the monarch , monks and laymen alike . On this Occasion , the monarch used to free a bird which was followed by the people . Since then LY THAI TONG began to seek solutions of life through religion . A staunch MAHAYANA BUDDHIST , he ordered silversmiths to decorate more þhan 1000 statues and more than 1000 paintings of BUDDHA . He was engaged with the BUDDHIST community more directly than his father . Those BUDDHIST MONKS were emanating from INDIA and CHINA . He sought to honour their varied opinions . HUE SINH , a local BUDDHIST , whom the King had brought from Mountain North , was made the court teacher . LY THAI TONG also brought the spirit cults into the capital . He was particularly close to the cult of spirit of the Mountain of the BRONZE DRUM . So in front of this spirit , he had courtiers swear their yearly blood oath of allegiance . He died in 1054 AD . A few months before his death , he transferred the governing job to his son LY NHAT TON (LY THAN TONG) .
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