Xi'an Big Wild Goose Pagoda, China

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Big Wild Goose Pagoda

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 Western Paradise.

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 age.

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 from India.

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.).