Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Big Goose Pagoda is one of the oldest structures
in China. Originally Big Goose Pagoda consisted of a brick
structure of five storeys and was about 60 meters high, and
was built in 589A.D. in the Sui Dynasty. Between AD 701 and
AD 704 during the reign of the Empress Wu Zetian five more
storeys were added to the pagoda making ten in all. Unfortunately
it was damaged during World War II and reduced to seven storeys,
which is as it remains today. The Big Goose Pagoda is situated
in the Da Ci'en Temple, four kilometers away from the center
of the city. It is one of the city's most distinctive and
outstanding landmarks, possibly the most beautiful building
left in Xian today.
In 652 A.D. Xuan Zang made a proposal to
the court for a pagoda to be constructed inside the temple,
to put the scriptures and statues he had brought back from
India. The Emperor happily agreed, and also collected the
funds for the building. Xuan Zang was so happy that he took
part in the manual labour in the construction of the pagoda.
He also took part in the design of the pagoda.
Xuan Zang was a great translator as well
as a famous traveler. At the age of 28 in 627 A.D., he travelled
alone to India for the learning and studying of Buddhist scriptures.
He stayed there for 17 years in India. There he did research
into Buddhism in various places. He returned to Chang'an in
645 A. D. with 657 volumes of Buddhist scriptures, totally
travelling 50,000 kilometers and suffering much hardship.
He recorded his Buddhist travel. Now this work has become
an important record for the studies of the history and geography
of the regions he had travelled. A famous novelist in the
Ming Dynasty even wrote a novel about his activity on the
west tour of India. The book is now one of the four most famous
novels in the history of Chinese literature. Xuan Zang also
translated some of the Chinese classics Lao Zi into Sanskrit
to be introduced into India. He had made great contribution
to the Buddhist cultural exchanges between India and China
in ancient times.