Small Wild Goose Pagoda

Small Wild Goose Pagoda
The Small Wild Goose Pagoda is located in the Jianfu Temple or the Felicity Temple, a famous Buddhist temple from the Tang Dynasty, in the south of Xian at about 1.5 km outside the south gate of Xi'an City.

The Jianfu Temple
The Jianfu Temple was built in memory of Emperor Li Zhi upon the centenary of his death in 684 AD. Therefore, it was originally named the Xianfu Temple (Temple of Sacrificial Offerings). The present name didn’t come into being until 698 AD. The temple is also the place where the great translator Monk Yi Jing translated Buddhist scriptures. Yi Jing set out by sea for Indian in search of Buddhist principles in 671 AD. Having traveled across over 30countries of more than 20 years, he came back to Chang’an with some 400volumes of holy Sanskrit scriptures. On his way back, he stayed on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia and made some field trips there. Yi Jing translated 56 volumes of scriptures in the Jianfu Temple and wrote the book “A Biography of Eminent Tang Monks in Search of Buddhist Truth in India.” The book can be regarded as companion to “Pilgrimage to India” by Xuan Zhuang. It is of great help to the study of Chinese and Indian history, and the history of the cultural exchange between China and Indonesia.

Jingyun Bell
Inside the temple, there is a huge iron bell dating back to 1192 AD. People call it the "Magic Bell". It is 3.55 meters in height, 2.45 meters in diameter and 7.65 meters along the rim. It weighs 8,000 kilogram. It is carved with characters that denote the following: Long live the Emperor; The vassals help him forever; May the State be stable and the people live in peace; May the Buddhist principles prevail in the time to come. The Buddhist and monks struck the bell every morning. The sound of the bell is crisp and pleasant, spreading as far as five kilometers. Hence, the “Morning Bell Chimes of the Pagoda” became one of the eight famous scenic features in the Central Shaanxi Plain.

In fact, there is an interesting story about the bell. It is said that if one misses his beloved relatives who are living far away from him, the only thing he needs to do is to write their names and addresses on a piece of yellow paper. The sound of the bell would pass the message to them.

The Small Wild Goose Pagoda
Jianfu Temple & Small Wild Goose Pagoda
The Small Wild Goose Pagoda was set up in 707 AD. It has 16 storeys and is about 45 meters above ground. The story goes that when Yi Jing appealed to the imperial court for funds to build a pagoda, so as to preserve the holy Buddhist scriptures, the cowardly Emperor Li Xian asked the Empress for advice as he often did. When she heard of this, she ordered all the imperial concubines and court maids to donate money for the construction of the pagoda. The ladies were so generous in their donation that there was still money left over even after the project was completed.

There is a story about "magical healing" of the pagoda. In 1487, Shaanxi Province was attacked by an earthquake of six points on the Richter scale. As a result, the pagoda was left with a one-foot crack from the top to the bottom. Thirty-four years after the quake, there came another one! Amazingly, the crack healed overnight. The process was later called the "magical healing". In September 1555, Wang He, an official from the capital, put up for the night in the temple on his way home. After he heard about the "magical healing" from Kan Guang, a monk who had witnessed the incident, he engraved this story on the lintel of the north gate to the pagoda. However, when repair work started after 1949, it was found that the pagoda took the shape of a hemisphere; therefore, it evenly divided the stress and impact of the earthquake. The pagoda has survived 70 quakes, and it still stands as firm as ever. The marvelous workmanship of the ancient builder is undoubtedly admirable.

Small Wild Goose Pagoda
In 1555, there was another earthquake in Huanxian County of this province. As a result, the top two storey of the pagoda were destroyed. The present structure has only 13 storeys. In the spirit of “restoring the old to the original”, the local government embarked on reinforced with steel and concrete. Every brick and stone was checked. The staircase was also rebuilt. Lighting was provided inside, and a lightning rod was fixed on the top.

The Great Hall of the Buddha
The Great Hall of the Buddha was built in the Ming Dynasty. The visitors might notice the strange assortment of color tiles on the roof of the hall. Actually, there is a moving story about this.

During the reign of Emperor Yingzong of the Ming Dynasty, monk Shao Siji, who was from a tribe in the western part of China, came to be the abbot at the Jianfu Temple. All of the original buildings, except for the pagoda, inside the temple had long been destroyed at the end of the Tang Dynasty. Monk Shao Siji couldn't bear the sight of such destruction and decay. He collected all his savings and went out for donations for donations for the repair of the temple. However, he still did not have enough money. Thus, with Shao Siji in the head, the monks went around picking up tiles still usable from the ruins of the Tang Dynasty, and used them on the Great Hall of the Budda in the temple that was being repaired. When the repair work was finished, Monk Shao wrote a report and handed it to the emperor through the Ministry of Rites together with a sketch of the temple for its royal naming. However, when the emperor saw from the sketch that the temple had green glazed tiles on the roof, he burst into a rage. He ordered that Monk Shao Siji and other monks be sentenced to death, and the whole Jianfu Temple be burnt to the ground. The reason for his anger was that only the court itself could use glazed tiles. Using the same tiles on other structures was considered an act of infidelity to His Majesty! It was only after some vassals' earnest admonition that the emperor reduced his order of death to an order that directed the Ministry of Rites to investigate the cause for this matter. When is was revealed through the investigation that the glazed green tiles were from the ruins of the past dynasties and were over hundreds of years old, the emperor did "pardon" the monks and withdrew the death sentence on them. As a result, Jianfu Temple and its pagoda have remained till today despite its green tiles which were forbidden objects in the Ming Dynasty.

Opening Hours: 09:00 - 17:00

Ticket Price: CNY 50