The Small Wild Goose Pagoda
The Small Wild Goose Pagoda stands in Jian Fu Temple, one kilometer south from the downtown area. If the Big Wild Goose Pagoda can be compared to a stalwart young man, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda is then like a delicate, slim girl.
Inside the Temple there is a huge iron bell dating from the Jin Dynasty (1192 A. D. ). The Sound of the bell is crisp and pleasant, and can be heard as far as five kilometers away. People here simply call it the "Magic Bell". It's 4.5 metres in height, 7.6 in diameter along the rim, and 10 tons in weight. It is carved with characters that denote the following: Long live the Emperor; The vessals help him forever; May the State be stable and the people live in peace;
May the Buddhist principles prevail in the time to come. In fact, there is an interesting story about the Bell. It is said that if one missed his beloved relations who are living far away from him, the only thing he needs to do was to write their names and addresses on a piece of yellow paper, and the sound of the bell would pass the message to them. Hence, the "Morning Bell Chimes of the Pagoda" became one of the eight famous scenic features in the province. Jian Fu Temple was built in 684, in order to pay homage to the Tang Emperor, Li Zhi, upon the hundred days of his death.
Therefore, it was originally named Xian Fu Temple. The present name didn't come into being until 698 A. D.. The Temple was also the place where the great translator Monk Yi Jing translated Bud-
dhist scriptures. Yi Jing set out by sea for India in search of Buddhist principles in 671. He came back with some four hundred volames, for more than 20 years. On his way back to China, he stayed on Island of Sumatra in Indonesia and did some investigation there. Yi Jing translated altogether 56 volumes of scriptures in Jian Fu Temple and wrote the book Biography of Eminent Monks in the Tang Dynasty in Search of Buddhist Truth ih India. The book can be regarded as a companion to Pilgrimage to India by Xuan Zang, and is of great help to the study of Chinese and Indonesian history, as well as the history of the cultural relationship between China and Indonesia. The Small Wild Goose Pagoda was set up in 707. It has 15 storeys and is about 45 meters in height. The story goes that when Yi Jing appealed to the imperial court for funds to build a pagoda, so as to preserve the holy scriptures that he had brought back from India, the cowardly Emperor Li Xian asked the Queen's 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 pagoda was finished. In the long history of its existence, there has even been a "magic healing" of the Pagoda! In 1487, there was an earthquake of 6 points on the Richter scale and a one-foot crack formed in the Pagoda from the top to the bottom. However, in 1521, 34 years after the. quake, there came another one! The crack healed overnight. This amazed the local people. Therefore they began to call it the "Magic Healing". In September 1555, an official from the capital, named Wang He, stayed in the temple for a night on his way home. After he heard the story of the "Magic Healing" from a monk called Kan Guang who had personally witnessed the
incident, out of disbelief he engraved this story on the lintel of the Pagoda's north gate. However, when repair work started after 1949, it was found that the healing was not "magic", but "human". The early builders of the pagoda had made the founda-tion into the shape of a hemisphere in accordance with the geo-graphic nature of Xl'an. The foundation therefore evenly devided the stress of the eartquakes. Thus, after enduring 70 quakes, the pagoda still stands as firm as when it was first established. Looking at this, we can only admire the marvelous workmanship of the an-cient builders.
In 1555, there was another earthquake in Huaxian County of this province. As a result the top two storeys of the pagoda were destroyed and the present structure has only 13 storeys. In 1965, the Government embarked on a repair program on the Small Wild Goose Pagoda in the spirit of