Little Goose Pagoda

The Little goose pagoda is located in Jianfu Temple, one kilometer south from the downtown area.

Jianfu Temple was built in memory of Emperor Li Zhi upon the centenary of his death in 684 A.D. Therefore it was originally called Xianfu Temple (Temple of Sacrificial Offerings). The present name came into being in 698A.D. The temple is also the place where the great translator Monk Yi Jing translated Buddhist scriptures.

In 671A.D, Yi Jing set out by sea for India in search of Buddhist principles. He traveled across over 30 countries of more than 20 years. Then he came back to Chang'an with some 400 volumes of holy Sanskrit scriptures. He translated 56 volumes of scriptures in Jianfu Temple and wrote the book "A Biography of Eminent Tang Monks in Search of Buddhist Truth in India" which was very important to understand the Buddhism, literature and medicine in Malaysia, Indonesia and India in 7th century.

Inside the temple, there is a huge iron bell which dates back to the Jin Dynasty. The sound of the bell is crisp and pleasant, can be heard as far as five kilometers away. It is 4.5 meters in height, 7.6 in circumference along the rim, and 10 tons in weight. The bell is carved with a Chinese version, which means in English, "Long live the Emperor";  "The vassals will help Him for ever";  "May the State be stable and the people live in peace";  and "May the Buddhist principles prevail for ever". Every morning, the monks in the temple strake the bell, this was called "Magic Bell" because the sound could be heard in long distance. So, the Little Goose Pagoda is well-known for its "Morning Bell Chimes", which used to be one of the Eight Famous Scenic Attractions in the central Shaanxi plain.

The Little Goose Pagoda was set up in 707A.D, though it acquired its present name only after its larger neighbor to the southeast became known as the Big Goose Pagoda. Its function was also to house Buddhist scriptures. Although with a height of 43 meters, it is shorter than the Big Goose Pagoda, it has more tiers. The original fifteen-story pagoda was damaged by earthquakes during the Ming Dynasty: a crack ran from the top to the base and the upper two tiers topped off. But thirty-four years after the quake, there came another one! Amazingly, the crack healed overnight. The process was later called the "magical healing". Wang He, an official from the capital, engraved this story on the lintel of the north gate to the pagoda after he heard about the "magical healing". After the foundation of the PRC, it was found that the foundation of the pagoda took the shape of a hemisphere; so it evenly divided the stress and impact of the earthquakes. The present thirteen-tiered pagoda is a tribute to Tang architects, showing their skill in constructing a pagoda which has withstood dozens of other earthquakes during the last twelve hundred years and is still standing.


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