As the symbol of the old-line Xian, Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a well-preserved ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists. It is located in the southern suburb of Xian City, about 4 kilometers (2.49 miles) from the downtown of the city. Standing in the Da Ci'en Temple complex, it attracts numerous visitors for its fame in the Buddhist religion, its simple but appealing style of construction, and its new square in front of the temple. It is rated as a National Key Cultural Relic Preserve as well as an AAAA Tourist Attraction.
This attraction can be divided into three parts: the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Da Ci'en Temple, and the North Square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
Big Wild Goose PagodaOriginally built in 652 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 hierarch 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 gotten the permission of Emperor Gaozong (628-683), Xuanzang, as the first abbot of Da Ci'en Temple, supervised the building of a pagoda inside it. With the support of royalty, he asked 50 hierarchs into the temple to translate Sanskrit in sutras into Chinese, totaling 1,335 volumes, which heralded a new era in the history of translation. Based on the journey to India, he also wrote a book entitled 'Pilgrimage to the West' in the Tang Dynasty, to which scholars attached great importance.
First built to a height of 60 meters (197 feet) with five stories, it is now 64.5 meters (211.6 feet) high with an additional two stories. It was said that after that addition came the saying-'Saving a life exceeds building a seven-storied pagoda'. Externally it looks like a square cone, simple but grand and it is a masterpiece of Buddhist construction. Built of brick, its structure is very firm. Inside the pagoda, stairs twist up so that visitors can climb and overlook the panorama of Xian City from the arch-shaped doors on four sides of each storey. On the walls are engraved fine statues of Buddha by the renowned artist Yan Liben of the Tang Dynasty. Steles by noted calligraphers also grace the pagoda.
As for the reason why it is called Big Wild Goose Pagoda, there is a legend. According to ancient stories of Buddhists, there were two branches, for 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'.
Da Ci'en Temple
Da Ci'en Temple is the home of Big Wild Goose Pagoda. In 648, to commemorate the dead virtuous queen, royalty ordered the building of a temple named 'Ci'en' (Mercy and Kindness), for which the status and scale far exceeded all others. Today, with an area of 32,314 square meters (38,648.5 square yards), one seventh of the original area, it still retains its grandeur.
Before the temple, there stands a statue of hierarch Xuanzang, the meritorious hierarch. Walking on and across a small bridge, visitors will see the gates of the temple. With guarding lions, the temple seems stately for lions were said to function as talismans.
Entering the temple you will see two buildings-Bell Tower in the east and Drum Tower in the west. Inside the Bell Tower hangs an iron bell 15 tons (14.76 gross tons) in weight. It was molded in 1548 in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Along the central axis are arranged 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 Xuanzang. The Sermon Hall is where Buddhist disciples would listen to a sermon. A bronze statue of Amitabha is dedicated and a Buddha statue is collected by Xuanzang as oblation. The Hall of Xuanzang Sanzang is north of Big Wild Goose Pagoda. In this hall are Xuanzang's relic and a bronze statue of a seated Xuanzang. The inner wall is chiseled with murals depicting this hierarch's story. Renowned as the contemporary Dunhuang Buddhist storehouse praised by UNESCO, it is the biggest memorial of Xuanzang.
North Square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Surrounding Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the scenery is also quite charming, especially the square north of the Da Ci'en Temple. Covering about 110,000 square meters (131563 square yards) plus 20,000 square meters (23920.6 square yards) of water area, it holds many records: in Asia, it is the biggest Tang-culture square, the biggest fountain and waterscape square, and the largest-scale sculptures area. In the world, it has the most benches, the longest light-belt, and the largest-scale acoustic complex.
The entire square is composed of waterscape fountains, a cultural square, gardens and tourist paths. There you can taste real Chinese culture and traditions and fully enjoy the truly attractive views. With reliefs on the theme of the prosperous Tang Dynasty, 200-meter-long (656-foot-long) sculpture groups, 8 groups of sculpted figures, 40 relievos on the land, and 22 styles of musical fountains, it has become a must-see when you visit Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I’m your local guide . Here we arrive at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. This is the Cultural coordinate of the Qujiang New District and a Landmark Building in the ancient city of Xi'an. The sceneries are including the big wild goose pagoda, the da ci’en temple and the south and north squares.
In the center of the south square is the bronze statue of Monk Xuan Zang.Wearing a cassock, holding the staff, presenting a imposing appearance, we can simplely imagine , the master xuan zang are on a hard journey , firmly in pursuit of truth. Behind it are the da ci’en temple and the big wild goose pagoda.
Originally built in the Sui Dynasty, the temple was named Wulou Temple. Then, Crown Prince Li Zhi of the Tang Dynasty, in order to commemorate his mother, sponsored a repair project on the temple and named it Da Ci’en Temple. It was a typical Mahayana temple for the royal family. The Da Ci’en temple was destroyed in a war at the end of the Tang Dynasty. Only the pagoda was left intact. The present buildings in the temple were built in the Ming Dynasty. But now it covers only one seventh of the original area it did in the Tang Dynasty.
大慈恩寺来名 损毁 再建
Now look at the 3 main entrance gates. In Chinese, we call it “Shan men” means mountain gate. In the ancient times the Buddhist temples were usually built among the mountains.
Walking north forwards, there are two small buildings. The one on the east side houses a bell, and the one on the west side houses a drum. The bell and drum towers are the (characteristic) landmarks of a temple. They were used to mark time for the monks in the temple. The bell is rung in the morning and the drum is struck at dusk.
The Great Hall is the center of the temple. Inside it, there are three buddhas of Sakyamuni. The one in the middle is called Fashen Buddha, which means the truth and law. The one on the west side is called Baoshen Buddha, and the one on the east side is called Yingshen Buddha.
After we visiting the great hall, we come to another core building--- the doctrine chamber(法堂)where the amitabha buddha is worshiped. It is said that at the word of the amitabha buddha, one will be led to paradise upon his death. This rubbing is called “xuan zang on his way back to chang’ an”. (负芨图) With rolls of scriptures on his back, a pair of straw sandals on his feet and an oil lamp on top of the rolls, xuan zang is making his way back to the capital.
Well, let’s know something about the famous monk in Chinese history, Xuan Zang. He was both a great translator and traveler. He had spent 17 years in India studying Buddhism. And when he came back to Chang’an, he had taken back more than 600 volumes of Buddhist scriptures. His “travel in the western regions” was based on what he had witnessed in about 128 countries and regions. And Xuan zang stayed in the da ci’en temple for 12years and translated more than 1000 volumes of buddhist scriptures. In prise of the master’s dedication to buddhism, emperor tai zong and the crown prince li zhi respectively built two famous tablets for him.
玄奘简介 经书 两个碑
Now we come to the foot of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Originally the pagoda was a five-story construction. And then it increased to be ten stories. But the war made the pagoda almost to ruins, so it was rebuilt with a seven-story structure. This pagoda is an architectural marvel. It was built with layers of bricks but without any cement in between. It’s indeed a good reflection of people’s wisdom and talent in ancient China.
Well, Engraving autographs on the walls of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda became the custom in the Mid-tang Dynasty. All the successful candidates who passed the imperial examinations would climb up the pagoda and write poems and inscriptions to indicate that he would have a soaring career in the future. The poem from the famous poet bai juyi is especially widely known by us. Now we can still climb the pagoda and enjoy the sight of the old capital.