The three-trunk, one-crown banyan tree with a bizarre appearance on the top of Chua Chan mountain in Dong Nai province was suddenly worshipped by locals with spiritual and mystical beliefs. According to rumors, the banyan tree is the dwelling place of sacred deities, so people who are sick, facing bad luck or misfortune just need to bring incense and offerings to worship and pray for the help of the “divine tree.” Chua Chan mountain has long been famous for its picturesque landscape and many temples, attracting thousands of visitors from inside and outside the province each year. In recent years, this mountain has become even more mysterious and mystical as people tell each other about the “three-trunk divine tree.”
To find out the truth, we decided to climb thousands of steps to reach the “divine tree” location. The “divine tree” is nearly 50 meters tall, with a bizarre trunk and three sky-reaching roots, each with a diameter of nearly 1 meter, growing evenly spaced to create a foothill posture. At a height of more than 20 meters, these three tree trunks combine to form a leaf canopy. Around the tree roots are countless burning incense bowls and dozens of people bowing and whispering prayers.
Ms. Nguyen Thi Xuan, who specializes in trading religious items nearby, stepped up and said: “The ‘divine tree’ is very sacred! Many seriously ill people cannot be cured in hospitals, but when they come to light incense and pray to the ‘divine tree,’ they recover immediately as usual. The ‘divine tree’ can also dispel bad luck, misfortune… bringing good luck to those who have sincere hearts.” She then pulled us into her store, recommending we buy incense, flowers, and offerings to worship the “divine tree” for good fortune.
According to Ms. Xuan, for seriously ill people, they need to buy additional “charms,” such as a mirror for exorcism (a 5cm diameter round mirror), a summoning lamp, and a comb to brush off illness. After having enough offerings and “charms,” the patient or family member will light incense and worship the “divine tree.” “If they don’t know how to worship, the patient can spend 50 to 100 thousand dong to hire local priests to perform the ritual for them. After worshiping, the patient will use the mirror to drive away any lingering souls and use the comb to brush away the disease.”
Mr. Tran Dinh Hoa (55 years old, from Thuan An town, Binh Duong province) said: “I have been suffering from kidney failure for nearly 5 years and often have to go to the dialysis center. After hearing about the ‘divine tree,’ I came to pray and bought some ‘charms.’ Afterward, I felt much better, and my health gradually improved. Now, every month, I will come here to pray and express my gratitude to the ‘divine tree.'”