Big Wild Goose
Situated in the Da Ci'en Temple, southern
suburb of Xi'an (also known as Chang'an City), about
4 kilometers from the civic center, the Big Wild Goose
Pagoda is one of the best-known Buddhist pagoda in China.
The Da Ci'en Temple is an elegant
structure, it cover with it owns the unique appearance
and originality of its architecture are one of the finest
in China. This structure is a 7-storage bricks shrine
and is 64.5 meters high.
On every level there are arched gates, tourists
can climb the stairway inside the pagoda and have enjoy
a good view of the city. There are many jut piles used
between the rooms in the pagoda, which is a special
structure character find in traditional Chinese architecture.
Inside the temple, there are two small chambers,
one on the east side houses a huge iron bell, this bell
was cast in Ming Dynasty (1543A.D.) it weighs 15 tons.
In the west chamber there is a drum, the monks in the
temple used it together to strike time.
The main hall in the temple called the Great
Hall of Buddha. Inside there are three incarnations
of Sakyamuni, the one in the middle is called Dharmakaya
(an embodiment of truth and law). The one to the west
called Bao Shen Buddha, and the one on the opposite
side called Ying Shen Buddha.
The figure to the eastside of the three
incarnations of the Buddha is Jia Ye, one of the ten
great disciples of Sakyamuni. The one on the west is
Ahnan, Sakyamuni's cousin. Further along both sides
are the eighteen arhats, also Sakyamuni's disciples.
The second Hall is called the Doctrine Chamber, in which
stands the Amitabha Buddha; Buddha in charge of the
In the Tang Dynasty (618 ~ 907A.D.), every
successful candidate who passed the imperial examinations
would like to climb up The Big Wild Goose Pagoda and
write poems and have it engraved there. This ritual
would symbolize a soaring career in the future. The
famous poet Bi Juyi wrote "Here under the Ci'en
Pagoda, I inscribe my name as the youngest among the
seventeen candidates", revealing his pride and
happiness when he became successful at a very young
Today, this pagoda is the symbol of Xian
City and city government's logo. One of the China's
most popular novels "Pilgrims to the West",
telling the adventures of Master Xuan Zang and his three
disciples. Do you want to come and visit this ancient
Chang'an City, and walk the same pathway that the characters
in "Pilgrims to the West" walks?
Originally built during the rein of Emperor
Sui in 589A.D., the temple was then named "Wu Lou
Si" ("Tight Temple"). It was not until
the Zhenguan period of Tang Dynasty in 648 A.D., when
Li Zhen, then still a prince, sponsored a repair project
on the temple. This was a to commemorate his mother
for her kindness, and the suffering that she gone through
on her early death. The temple later was renamed to
the present name Da Ci'en Si ("Temple of Thanksgiving").
In the Tang Regime (618 ~ 907A.D.) gave
orders to build a chamber for the translation of Buddhist
scriptures, in an effort to have the then widely renowned
Master Xuan Zang (Buddhist Monk) agreed to be the head
of the temple. In 652A.D., Xuan Zang made a proposal
to the court to build a pagoda inside the temple, to
store the scriptures and statues he had brought back
Xuan Zang was very pleased when the emperor
agreed his proposal. Not only design and supervise the
construction of the pagoda, but Xuan Zang is said to
have carried bricks personally. At that time, the goose
inspires many Buddhist, for it is a symbol of "good
omen carrier". Therefore, they named it Da Ci'en
Temple ("Big Wild Goose Pagoda").
In the late Tang Dynasty, many temples were
destroy by wars and burned to the ground, only Big Wild
Goose Pagoda was unharmed. Later in Ming Dynasty (1386
~ 1644 AD), an 8.0 earthquake stroke Huaxian County
Shaanxi Province. This earthquake have killed over 830,000
people and reach 90 counties in 5 provinces, more than
ninety percent of the building in the area were destroyed,
yet only the top of the pagoda was damaged.
The damaged pagoda was later restored the
current looks of the Da Ci'en Temple dates back in the
Ming Dynasty, the great hall in the temple are constructed
in Chianlung period of the Ch'ing Dynasty (1736 ~ 1796A.D.).