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The Magical China Trip 2012

Famen Temple

CHINA | Sunday, 14 October 2012 | Views [7155] | Comments [2]

Ebeth at Famen Temple

Ebeth at Famen Temple

I went to the FaMenSi (法门寺, pronounced fa mun tssuh) this morning.  The ancient temple, which has undergone considerable reconstruction since its origin circa 557 to 581, has been pretty well overwhelmed by the new one, completed in 2009.  The Chinese build for size, and the new temple is huge!  Because the holiday season is pretty well over, not that many people were there today, but I can imagine the vastness of the new temple and its approach filled with hundreds of thousands of people.  (Remember “People Mountain, People Sea.")


This is a special place, however, for deep beneath the ancient pagoda lay relics of the Buddha, undiscovered until 1987 upon the opening of an underground palace.  The relics have been removed and protected.  There are four relics claimed to be directly related to Buddha:  Two of these were made of white jade.  The third relic was from a famous monk.  These three are called "duplicate relics" (影骨, pronounced yin gu) or “shadow bones.”  They were placed together with a "true relic" (灵骨, pronounced ling gu) or “finger relic” in order to protect them.  The latter was claimed to be a finger bone of the Sakyamuni Buddha.  Since then, Famen Temple has become a Buddhist place of pilgrimage for the Chinese.  I think I was the only westerner there this morning.


I experienced the awe inspired by the monolithic style and size of the New Temple, but did not go in.  My goal was to go to the old temple.  Many people were there, too, though nowhere near the capacity of even the old temple.  There was a deep reverence at the old temple, with people burning incense and sending their prayer to Buddha.  I also burned incense, for my spiritual teachers and their teacher, praying the Metta (in Chinese):


Zhùyuàn wànwù dōu yǒu xīnxiān jiéjìng de shuǐ yǐn yòng.


Zhùyuàn wànwù dōu yǒu shíwù chī.


Zhùyuàn wànwù dōu yǒu yīgè jiā.


Zhùyuàn wànwù dōu dédào guān'ài.


Zhùyuàn wànwù dōu zhīdào zìjǐ de zhuīqiú.


Zhùyuàn wànwù jiànkāng xìngfú.


Zhùyuàn wànwù dōu yuǎn lí kǔnàn.



Jīntiān wǒ huì jǐn wǒ suǒ néng ràng zhèxiē zhùyuàn chéng zhēn.

Which means:

            May all beings have fresh clean water to drink.

            May all beings have food to eat.

            May all beings have a home.

            May all beings have someone to share love with.

            May all beings know their true purpose.

            May all beings be well and happy.

            May all beings be free from suffering.

            Today I shall do what I can to make this so.


At the altar beneath the pagoda, a monk was blessing the people.  Along with my love offering, I gave him a copy of the Metta in Chinese, trusting he will pray with us for these statements to be true.


It was a very moving experience for me and a highlight of my trip.  (I did not take pictures inside the sacred spaces.)


P.S.  We did get to see the place where the relics were discovered – by stooping down and looking through a window into a small underground hall and room.

Tags: china, fanmen temple, xian




This seems the most AWE-full and spiritual moment in your amazing trip so far!
Love, Jody

  Jody Howe Oct 17, 2012 11:35 AM


Yes, it was.

  Elizabeth Oct 17, 2012 2:32 PM



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