The Big Wild Goose Pagoda, an enormous building comprising 7 floors and surrounded by beautiful gardens was originally built in AD652 during the reign of Emperor Gaozong (During Tang Dynasty 628-683). It's main function was to collect Buddhist materials taken from India by Xuanzang and to translate the Sanskrit into Chinese.
The pagoda is an architectural gem, built with layers of bricks but without any cement. The original structure at 60m high and with only 5 storeys was finished in 652 A.D. Between 701-704 AD, mainly because of structural weakness in the earth-cored pagoda, a new 10-storey pagoda was built. However, between the wars of the coming years and a massive earthquake in 1556, this structure was reduced almost to ruins. As a result, some revisions were made during the Ming Dynasty to produce the 7-storey, 64 meter-tall structure we see today.
The entire Temple complex is lovely and is worth a few hours of time.
I have written a travelogue about my visit to the Dayan pagoda:
Read more: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tt/bf090/#ixzz1rsIf5qMW
Not exactly a simple temple, but a wide complex with temples, pagodas and gardens.
A detailed visit will take lots of time. If you don’t worry too much about the function and history of each construction, then a couple of hours will do, but be prepared to meander around, or you will take a rather basic idea of the whole.
The most impressive structure is the Giant (or Big) Wild Goose Pagoda, Also Dayan Pagoda, built in 652 during the Tang Dynasty, with materials brought from India. It was rebuilt in 704 during the reign of Empress Wu Zetian, with the exterior brick facade renovated during the Ming Dynasty.
In the complex many other things must be seen, specially the Da Cien temple and the gardens, with many musical fountains and sculptures.
This big pagoda dates to the Tang Dynasty (7th-10th Century) and was built to house important tablets from a monk who traveled during that period. It is one of the main historic sites in Xian and is included on many tours. Admission is charged with an additional charge for those wishing to climb to the top.
Inside the temple complex, one can see a golden effigy of the Budha as well as porcelin scenes depicting his life.
The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda was built in 652 during the Tang Dynasty. It originally had 5 stories which collapsed after 5 years. It was rebuilt in 704 and 5 new stories were added, three of which were destroyed in a massive earthquake in 1556, leaving the stucture of 7 stories we see today. There is still a decided lean to the pagoda.
The pagoda was built to serve many functions including housing the sutras and figurines that were brought from India by the Buddhist monk who translated the original texts - Xuanzang.
The legend of the naming of the pagoda is as follows - there were two Buddhist streams - one of them ate meat. When there was no meat to be bought a monk saw a flock of wild geese flying overhead and hoped that the merciful Bodhisattva would provide some. Immediatley the leading goose fell to the ground with broken wings. The monks believed this was a condemnation of the eating of meat and changed their ways. They built the pagoda on the place where the goose fell.
Visitors may enter the complex and also climb to the top of the pagoda. See the web site for more details.
The Small Wild Goose Pagoda was built between 707–710, during the Tang Dynasty under Emperor Zhongzong (r 705–710). The pagoda stood at a height of 45 m (147 ft) until the 1556 Shaanxi earthquake. The earthquake shook the pagoda and damaged it so that it now stands at a height of 43 m (141 ft) with fifteen levels of tiers. The pagoda has a brick frame built around a hollow interior, and its square base and shape reflect the building style of other pagodas from the era.
During the Tang Dynasty, the pagoda stood across a street from its mother temple, the Dajianfu Temple. Indian pilgrims brought sacred Buddhist writings to the temple and pagoda from India, as the temple was one of the main centres in Xian for translating Buddhist texts. The temple was older than the pagoda, since it was founded in 684. Emperor Zhongzong had donated his residence to the building of a new temple here, maintaining the temple for 200 monks in honour of his deceased father Gaozong. The temple was originally called the Daxianfusi or Great Monastery of Offered Blessings by Zhongzong, until it was renamed Dajianfusi by Empress Wu Zetian in 690.
The Da Cien Temple was originally built in AD 589 and then rebuilt AD 648 in memory of his mother Empress Wende by Li Zhi who later became the Tang Emperor Gaozong. The temple once had 13 courtyards and 1897 rooms and covered an area of more than 24 hectares. A Buddhist monk called Xuan Zang, who studied Buddhism in India, was welcomed to preside over the temple affairs in 653 and arranged for the building of the Da Yan Pagoda, more commonly known as the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, to preserve the hundreds of volumes of Buddhist scriptures which he had brought back from India.
Along the central axis are arranged the Bell Tower to the east and Drum Tower to the west, the Hall of Mahavira, Sermon Hall, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and the Hall of Xuanzang Sanzang. In the Hall of Mahavira are three carved statues of Sakyamuni, and 18 arhats as well as Xuan Zang. A statue of Xuan Zang stands outside.
Open: 8am-6pm. Admission: RMB25.
This pagoda is a landmark not only a landmark of Xian but of China as well. Originally built in 652 AD during the reign of Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), it functioned to collect Buddhist materials that were taken from India by the monk Xuanzang. Xuanzang started off from Chang'an (the ancient Xian), along the Silk Road and through deserts, finally arriving in India, the cradle of Buddhism. Enduring 17 years and traversing 100 countries, he obtained Buddha figures, 657 kinds of sutras, and several Buddha relics. Having got the permission of Emperor Gaozong (628-683), Xuanzang, as the first abbot of Da Cien Temple, supervised the building of the pagoda.
First built to a height of 60 meters (197 feet) with five stories, it was rebuilt to a height of 64.5 meters (211.6 feet) when an additional two storeys were built in 704. However, a massive earthquake in 1556 heavily damaged the pagoda and reduced it by three stories, to its current height of seven stories. It wasn't possible to ascend it when I visited in July 2008 due to it being maintained following the Wenchuan Earthquake, but now it's fine to climb!
As for the reason why it's called Big Wild Goose Pagoda, there is a legend. According to ancient stories of Buddhists, there were two branches, one of which eating meat was not a taboo. One day, they couldn't find meat to buy. Upon seeing a group of big wild geese flying by, a monk said to himself: 'Today we have no meat. I hope the merciful Bodhisattva will give us some.' At that very moment, the leading wild goose broke its wings and fell to the ground. All the monks were startled and believed that Bodhisattva showed his spirit to order them to be more pious. They established a pagoda where the wild goose fell and stopped eating meat. Hence it got the name 'Big Wild Goose Pagoda'.
Open: 8am-6pm. Admission: RMB25.
This Working Buddhist Temple is great to visit.
Its as all temples are, tranquil, beautiful, and very interesting
It was built for a Chinese Buddhist Monk (whose name I forget) who went to India to study, and came home with armloads of scriptures.
The Emperor at the time had the temple built with the pagoda at its centre to house these scriptures.
Whilst in India the monk was studding at a temple called the Wild Goose Temple. It had got this name because in India at that time there were 2 Buddhist Sects. A vegetarian one, and a meat eating one. For the meat eaters, things had got to the stage where they had no more meat, so the prayed to Budda for some meat. Just then a wild goose was flying over, and fell to the ground dead. The monks had it for their meal, and then decided that this was an omen to indicate that they were to give up meat, so they too became vegetarian, and changed the name of the temple where this happened to the Wild Goose Temple.
When the Monk had the temple built in Xian, he decided to call it the Wild Goose Temple. Today there are 2 Wild Goose Temple's in Xian so the differentiate between them, this one is the Large temple and the other one the small one.
This Temple has some wonderful gardens
This is well worth a visit.
I didn't take a taxi; I decided to walk. That made it hard to find, because it is not signposted as Small Wild Goose Pagoda, but as Xi'an Museum (and mostly in Chinese).
The pagoda, associated historic buildings and the grounds are well worth visiting. The pagoda has been standing for 1300 years.
The new (2006?) Xi'an museum on this site has a lot of interesting things - glassware and ceramic statues are particularly interesting.
The Large Wild Goose Pagoda is a well-preserved pagoda from the Tang Dynasty that is over 200 feet tall. The pagoda was originally built as a five-story pagoda in the 7th century, with additional height and stories added in the 9th century. The top few stories of the pagoda fell of in a 16th century earthquake, leaving it at its current size. As a result of soil settling, the pagoda leans slightly to one side, which you can see from a distance.
The pagoda is part of a temple complex, the Da Ci'en Temple. You can climb to the top of the pagoda for a good view of Xi'an. Some of the other buildings in the temple complex are open to tourists. One included beautiful jade murals of Buddhist imagery, while another featured a large Buddha sculpture.
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