Monday, September 22, 2008

Hanshan Temple

Hanshan Temple , literally Cold Mountain Temple, is a Buddhist temple and monastery in Suzhou, China. It is located at the town of Fengqiao , about 5 kilometres west of the old city of Suzhou.

Traditionally, Hanshan Temple is believed to have been founded during the Tianjian era of the reign of Emperor Wu of Liang, in the Southern and Northern Dynasties period. The current name of the monastery derives from , the legendary monk and poet. Hanshan and his disciple are said to have come to the monastery during the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang , where Hanshan became the abbot.

The bell of Hanshan

The poem

Hanshan Temple is famed in East Asia because of the poem "A Night Mooring by Maple Bridge" , by Tang Dynasty , . The poem describes the melancholy scene of a dejected traveller, moored at night at Fengqiao, hearing the bells of Hanshan Temple:

The poem is still popularly read in China, Japan and Korea. It is part of the primary school curriculum in both China and Japan. The ringing of the bell at Hanshan Temple on Chinese New Year eve is a major pilgrimage and tourism event for visitors from these countries.

The bell

Two bells are currently used at Hanshan Temple, both dating from the late Qing Dynasty when the temple was last rebuilt. One was forged in China in 1906, and the other was forged in Japan at around the same time. The dedication on the bell was written by Japanese Prime Minister Itō Hirobumi. The original Tang Dynasty bell is believed by some to have been taken to Japan in ancient times. These two factors have roused some nationalistic controversy among Chinese and Koreans .

A new 108 tonne bell commissioned by Hanshan Temple and built by a foundry in Wuhan was completed recently, and is on its way to Hanshan Temple to replace the hundred years old Japanese built bell. The new bell tall 8.5 meter, widest diameter 5.2 meter.

Hanshan Temple in Japan

A Hanshan Temple was established in , Tokyo, Japan in 1929.

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