Sivali Vietnamese Buddhist Temple is located in Sarnath village near Varanasi. The temple boasts a 70 feet tall giant statue of meditating Buddha along with Ashoka and a couple of other statues. Due to its color, it is locally called “Gulabi Mandir” Pink Temple. The distance from the main campus of Sarnath keeps it quiet and peaceful throughout the year.
The temple also has a one-pillar Pagoda, a Vietnamese-style architecture with a bell on top. There’s also a small guest house for Vietnamese monks and a prayer room right next to it. The monk who built the temple lives on the premises and takes care of it. Let’s take a look at the story behind this beautiful man-made marvel.
History of Sivali Vietnamese Temple
Sivali Vietnamese Temple was built by a Vietnamese monk, Doan Lam Tan in 2014. Doan was living a normal life in Vietnam until one day a monk offered him a unique job. He was asked to build a temple of Buddha at the salary of $1 per month but since $1 wasn’t enough to sustain so he denied the job. Saying no to a monk left Doan in a weird restlessness and he spent the next few days in remorse.
One night the monk came into Doan’s dream and told him that he hasn’t fulfilled the purpose for his birth and that’s why he’s stuck in the cycle of life. The voice also told him to go to India and build the temple. This dream left a great impact on Doan and he started planning to move to India.
In his quest to visit the Land of Buddha Doan sold his property, car and bought a ticket to India. After reaching Sarnath he met the monk who took him to a barren piece of land in Sarnath. The monk instructed Doan to build a beautiful temple of Buddha if he wishes to be free from the cycle of birth.
He spent the next two years arranging the funds for the Sivali Vietnamese Buddhist Temple. Doan made multiple visits to Vietnam and spoke to businessmen, government officials, local monks, and Buddhist communities. He was able to secure the funds by crowdsourcing and the foundation stone of the temple was laid on 6 December 2009 eventually.
The construction work continued for the next 5 years under the supervision of Doan and that’s how the Sivali Vietnamese Buddhist Temple came into existence.
The monk who sold his Ferrari
If you will visit the temple today you will be greeted by Doan. He is generally busy gardening or cleaning the premises but when he’s free he’s generous enough to give visitors a tour of the temple. He will even guide you on the best spots and angles to click a picture of the statue.
We were lucky enough to be accompanied by the Doan multiple times and he even took us inside the guest house. Doan barely understands Hindi and but speaks English enough to communicate.
The temple is an amazing piece of work but the Doan himself is a living example of what a human can achieve if he decides to. Doan hardly owns anything in name of assets and lives a simple life. He is greatly revered by the locals due to his struggle, devotion, and sacrifice to set up the temple. He is indeed a real-life version of Robin Sharma’s book Monk Who Sold Ferrari.
If you’re visiting Sarnath we’d request you to please visit the Sivali Vietnamese Buddhist Temple and meet Doan. He doesn’t speak much but his aura is enough to inspire anyone to works towards their purpose of life. 😊
P.S: We tried to ask him for a picture but he was too modest and shy to get it clicked. Maybe some other day or if you manage to click his pictures then do share with us on instagram by using #VaranasiGuru Hashtag!
How to reach Sivali Vietnamese Buddhist Temple
The Sivali Vietnamese Buddhist temple or the pink temple is located 12KM away from Varanasi and 2KM away from Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath. It is well connected to all the Railway stations, Airport and the bus stand via road. You can reach here by shared auto-rickshaw, car, or bike.
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