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Big Wild Goose Pagoda

     Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Big Wild Goose Pagoda (dà yàn tǎ 大雁塔), also called Da Ci’en Pagoda (dà cí ēn tǎ 大慈恩塔), located in southern Xi'an (xī ān 西安), Shaanxi (shǎn xī 陕西) province, was built in 652 during the Tang (tang 唐) Dynasty. The original function of this pagoda is to dedicate the Buddha figures, 657 kinds of sutras, and several Buddha relics that Xuanzang (xuán zàng 玄奘), the Buddhist translator and traveler, had brought from India. Big Wild Goose Pagoda is now regarded as the symbol of the ancient Xi’an.

History of Big Wild Goose Pagoda
     Xuanzang
During Tang Dynasty, the Emperor Gaozong (gāo zōng 高宗) (628-683) sent Xuanzang to India, the cradle Buddhism, to obtain Buddha relics. Enduring 17 years and traversing 100 countries, he finally brought Buddha figures, 657 kinds of sutras, and several Buddha relics. Permitted by Emperor Gaozong, Xuanzang supervised the construction of a pagoda inside Da Ci’en Temple (dà cí ēn sì 大慈恩寺), of which Xuanzang is the first abbot. Then, with 50 hierarchs, he translated Sutras in Sanskrit into Chinese, totaling 1335 volumes, which heralded a new era in the history of translation. Therefore, Big Wild Goose Pagoda is of great significance in Buddhism in China.
Big Wild Goose Pagoda is built after the structure of the wild goose pagoda in India, and it was called Da Ci’en Pagoda originally. Then there appeared another wild goose pagoda in Xi’an, so people called the first one “Big Wild Goose Pagoda”, and the latter one “Small Wild Goose Pagoda (xiǎo yàn tǎ 小雁塔)”. And the name was passed down from that time to now.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Big Wild Goose PagodaThere is a saying goes that saving a life exceeds building a seven-storied pagoda (jiù rén yī mìng shèng zào qī jí fú tú 救人一命胜造七级浮屠). Big Wild Goose Pagoda is with seven floor.
There are stone doors with engraved Buddha figures and poetic couplet around the base of Big Wild Goose Pagoda. At the both sides of the southern door, there studded the stele written by Chu Suiliang (chǔ suí liáng 褚遂良), a famous calligrapher during Tang Dynasty, and composed by Emperor Taizong (tài zōng 太宗) Li Shimin (lǐ shì mín 李世民) and Gaozhong Lizhi (lǐ zhì 李治). They highly praised the great historic feats performed by Xuanzang. These steles were the competitive products among all the steles in Tang Dynasty.
During Tang Dynasty, there was a custom that all the metropolitan graduate the ones who had passed the imperial examinations will inscribe their names in Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

Big Wild Goose PagodaEntering the southern door, there are various superstition tablets on the wall. Among them the tablet which engraved “名题雁塔,天地间第一流人第一等事也”, which means that inscribing one’s name is the best thing for him and he must be the most talented person in the world, is the portrayal of that custom during that time. In addition, the tablets which described the whole life of Xuanzang are also worth your appreciation.
On the pillar of the first floor, there hang four long couplets, which tell us the history of Tang Dynasty, the famous figure and the stories during that time.

SakyamuniAlso there is an picture exhibition of the famous pagoda in China. It will show you the origin and development of pagoda, and the structure and the classification of Buddhist pagoda.

On the second floor of the pagoda, there consecrate an gilded copper Buddha statue of Sakyamuni (shì jiā móu ní 释迦牟尼). It is regarded as the treasure of the tower.
And on the wall of the pagoda, there are paintings of Manjushri (wén shū pú sà 文殊菩萨) and Samantabhadra (pǔ xián pú sà 普贤菩萨) and some calligraphy of the famous calligraphers.

Footmark of SakyamuniOn the fifth floor, there exhibit the tablet of the footmark of Sakyamuni. It is said that seeing the foot mark is as seeing the Buddha, and worshiping this foot mark is as worshiping the Buddha.
Along the stairs twist up the pagoda to the seventh floor, visitors can overlook the panorama of Xi’an City from the arch-shaped doors.

        
Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Location: southern Xi’an, Shaanxi Province
Tickets: RMB 30 (Entrance Fare)
             RMB 20 (Ascending the pagoda)
Opening time: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Traffic: You can take No. 5, No. 41, No. 601 and No. 27 bus to get to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda
       Big Wild Goose Pagoda

 

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