Suzhou Hanshan Temple, China

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Hanshan Temple

The Hanshan Temple is located at Fengqiao, a county of Changmenwai in Suzhou.

It was built in the years of King Tianjian of Liang Country (502-519A.D.), in Southern and Northern Dynasties. During the Zhenguan Period of Tang Dynasty (618 ~ 907A.D.), two famous Monks Hanshan and Shide were ordered to be in charge of the temple, this is why the temple is called Hanshan Temple. Now, more than 1,400 years had past.

Zhang Ji, a poet of Tang Dynasty wrote a poem "A Night-Mooring Near Maple Bridge":

"While I watch the moon go down, a crow caws through the frost;
Under the shadows of maple-trees a fisherman moves with his torch;
And I hear, from beyond Suzhou, from the temple on Cold Mountain,
Ringing for me, here in my boat, the midnight bell."

The poem became famous because of the temple, and the reputation of the temple spread throughout the China because of this poem. Standing at the head of the Fengqiao Bridge, you will see an old temple with blue tiles and yellow wall in the green woods, that is the Hanshan Temple.

In the temple, there are pine and plum trees and winding corridors and paths. The main constructions of the temple including Main Shrine Hall, Fei Hall (the partial hall), Cangjing Tower, Tablet corridor, Bell Tower and Fengjiang Tower.

Walking into the Youshipian Hall, you will see a statue of two fat men with their bare chests and feet on a giant lotus stand. One man has a clean bottle in his hand and the other has a lotus. They look like happily traveling around the human world. They are monks Hanshan and Shide.

In the Main Shrine Hall, besides the statue of Buddha Sakyamuni, there are 36 poems written about the temple and sculptures of three funny monks: Hanshan, Shide, and Feng Qian in the hall. Two halls on both sides of the main hall, there are vivid statues of 500 Disciples of the Buddha that has attracted many tourists.

Besides the poem "A Night-Mooring Near Maple Bridge", there are a great many other famous relics in the temple that has attracted many people who are interested in antiques and history. In the poem, the poet said that at night, in the boat you could hear the bell of the temple.

Though the bell disappeared long time ago, visitors still want to feel the beautiful night with bell ringing. This is why a new bell came to the temple.