Bo Da Pagoda is located in Thuong Lat Hamlet, Tien Son Commune, Viet Yen District, Vietnam. The pagoda was built in the 11th century under the Ly dynasty, the golden age of Buddhism in Viet Nam, but was badly damaged during wars in subsequent centuries. It was not until the revival of the Le dynasty under King Le Du Tong (1705-28) that the pagoda was reconstructed and more or less retains the shape it has today.
Bo Da is a centre of Lam Te Buddhism and has a major role in the promotion and development of Buddhism in Viet Nam. Every year, the pagoda attracts many monks and believers from across the country who come here to meditate and learn this faith.
Because of the great influence of Lam Te Buddhism, most of the pagoda’s famous carved woodblocks bear the Sutras of Zen Buddhism. In the 18th century, the monks at the pagoda carved Buddhist Sutras on wood to preserve the texts so they could be used for the teaching of Buddhism. Over 2,000 Sutra woodblocks are arranged on eight bookcases. Large blocks are laid on the tables so that visitors can see them easily. The woodblocks are 44cm long, 22cm wide and 2.5cm thick. Some of them are larger, measuring 150cm long, 30cm wide and 2.5cm thick. If all the Sutra woodblocks were laid side by side, they would coveran area of 250sq.m. All the blocks were carved on thi wood (Diospyros decandra) that is both light and pliable ‘ perfect for carving and moving ‘ and durable. To this day, hardly any have rotted.