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Tanzhe Temple

editor  13-07-26 16:27

Language:中文 pin yin English

In the mountainous area west of Beijing, there is an ancient temple whose past is described by the following proverb: “First there was Tanzhe Temple, and then there was Beijing.” The ancient temple is Tanzhe Temple. It dates back to the Western Jin period, when it was named Jiafu Temple. During the Tang Dynasty, its name was changed to Longquan Temple and then Wanshou Temple in the Jin Dynasty. During the Qing Dynasty, Emperor Kangxi named it Xiuyuan Temple. But people have always called it Tanzhe Temple. According to legend, before the temple was built, that area had ancient trees reaching the sky, and a mountain spring named Longtan. Nourished by the spring water, trees and grass flourished, especially the Zhe tree, or silkworm thorn. Therefore, the name of Tanzhe Temple is combination of the Longtan spring and the Zhe tree. 
Tanzhe Temple was a royal temple during the Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties. Princess Miaoyan, daughter of the Yuan Dynasty Emperor Kublai, cultivated herself here according to Buddhist doctrine. This princess was perhaps fed up with battles and slaughter, giving up her life of luxury. She converted to Buddhism and paid respects to the Goddess of Mercy every day, leaving deep footprints on the bricks. The empress dowager during the reign of Emperor Shenzong in the Ming Dynasty (1573-1620 AD) ordered people to take this brick away and put it in a wooden chest, worshipping it in royal court. Qing Dynasty Emperors Kangxi and Qianlong often visited this temple.
Perhaps the long-standing historical relationships between Tanzhe Temple and royal families have increased mystique of this ancient temple. It is rumored that the vows made in Tanzhe Temple are very effective. There is even a saying: “If Tanzhe Temple burns, Beijing will flood,” meaning that if Tanzhe Temple ever catches fire, Beijing will be flooded. Nowadays, Tanzhe Temple still quietly stands among the mountains and ancient trees of thousands of years, silently witnessing the vicissitudes of history. But now, it greets visitors far and near, not the emperors. 


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Edit on13-07-26 16:27