The Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Da Ci’en Temple, Xi’an City, is a national AAAAA tourism attraction and the key protection unit of the nation.
The first abbot of Da Ci’en Temple is Master Xuanzang, a famous literature, traveler and Buddhist translator. Master Xuanzang used to study Buddhism in ancient India for seventeen years. When he returned back, he brought home lots of Buddhist scriptures, Buddha’s relics, and statues of Buddha. In order to keep and protect those Buddhist scriptures and Buddha’s relics, Master Xuanzang decided to build a brick pagoda by following the outline of pagodas he had visite in India. The papagoda Master
Xuanzang built was named as Wild Goose Pagoda. In Xi’an, there is another pagoda in Jian Fu Temple that has the same outline with this one, but not as high and large as it. To tell the difference between two pagodas, nowadays people call the larger one Big Wild Goose Pagoda and the smaller one Small Wild Goose Pagoda.
Does Big Wild Goose Pagoda really have something to do with Goose? There is an old story for explanation. It is said that very long time ago, in Magadha(in ancient India) ,monks in a little temple had their believes in Hinayana and they ate meet of goose, dear and calf. One day, a flight of geese flied over the temple. A monk saw them and spoke to himself “how much will we thank Buddha if we had a goose to appease our hunger! Buddha should know we are suffering from starvation today.” Hardly finished his speaking, a goose fell dead in front of the monk. He was so surprised to told it to all monks in little temple. They believed Buddha were moralizing them. To memorize the goose and to show their appreciation to Buddha, the monks buried the goose where it died and built a pagoda on its’ tomb. Hence the pagoda was called Wild Goose Pagoda. Master Xuanzang used to pay a visit to this pagoda during his stay in India.
As the earliest extent and the largest four-sided deck brick pagoda from the Tang Dynasty, Big Wild goose pagoda is a typical material evidence to prove Indian Buddhist architecture has been spread in China and has merged in Chinese culture. Big wild Goose Pagoda had five stories in the beginning, with bricks outside and earth full- filled inside. Later in Wu Zetian (the only female emperor in history of China) period, Big Wild Goose Pagoda had been repaired and five more stories were added to it. In the following years of upheavals, Big Wild Goose Pagoda was damaged again and again. In the Five Dynasties Period, Big Wild Goose Pagoda was repaired once again and settled at seven stories. Today’s Bid Wild Goose Pagoda is a seven-story four-sided deck brick pagoda, and the height of it is 64.7meters. Inside the pagoda there are cockle stairs between stories, and each story has brick arch gates.
In the Tang Dynasty, having one’s name inscribed on the pagoda was quite popular. Scholars passed the highest imperial examination would all ascend Big Wild Goose Pagoda to inscribe their names, hometown and the time they passed the highest imperial examination onto pagoda wall.
That was regarded as one of the highest honors of literatures in that time. When Bai Juyi, a well known poet from Tang Dynasty, passed the highest imperial exam, he wrote a poem to express his pride and joy that he was the youngest one among seventeen scholars that inscribed their names on pagoda. After intensive repair work, today’s Big Wild Goose Pagoda looks much more majestic. If you ascend it, you will get a superb panorama of the surrounding area. Without any doubt, Big Wild Goose Pagoda is irresistible to tourists home and abroad.