Faye Sizemore

THE BLACK VIRGIN… NUI BA DEN

Beauty… rising… ethereal… in the sunset light…
… presenting such a lovely and peaceful sight
Silent Lady… pity… all the things you must have seen…
having watched with your hands bound… a hostage Queen
Surrounded by mists in the heat and the rain…
forever now… in peace… may you always remain…

TITLE
Nui Ba Den, the “Black Virgin” Mountain, Tay Nihn Province, Vietnam seen from Det 7, 619th TCS, ‘Penthouse’
1966-1967: Photograph ©Copyright 2001 by Thurman P. Woodfork

One of the many legends of how Nui Ba Den got its name:

Legend has it that prior to 1700, when Nui Ba Den was still in Cambodian territory, a Cambodian chieftain lived on the mountain with his son and a 13 year-old daughter, Nang Denh.

A Chinese Buddhist monk, wandering through the region, came to the chieftain and asked for a place to live and spread the teachings of Buddha. Nang Denh’s father built the monk a temple called Chua Ong Tau (Chinese Monk’s Temple) whose ruins can still be seen on the foot of the mountains Eastern slope.

The pretty, young daughter in time became a devout disciple of Buddhism and when her father proposed her marriage to the son of a neighboring chieftain, the girl went into hiding on the mountain. Soldiers dispatched to find the girl eventually found a section of her leg in a stone cavern on the mountain’s slope.

Having vowed herself to the Buddhist non-acceptance of married life, the girl had apparently killed herself rather than break the vow. Years later, a priest who practiced Buddhism on the mountain for 31 years claimed to have seen her walking on the mountainside. He built her an altar, the Shrine of the Black Virgin, which still stands on the mountain’s slope today.

Information supplied by Thurman “Woody” Woodfork: March 14, 2004