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Daci'en Temple

Daci'en Temple is located in the southern suburb of Xi'an City, Shaanxi Province, originally Jinchang Lane (the First Street of Capital's East) in the southeast of Chang'an City, the capital of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It was the largest temple in China's Tang Dynasty as well as one of the three Buddhist scriptures translation places of Chang'an City in the Tang Dynasty.

Daci'en Temple was built in the 22nd year (648) of the Zhenguan reign of the Tang Dynasty by Crown Prince Li Zhi in order to mourn for his mother. Therefore, it is named Daci'en (Great Maternal Love). Since the Tang Dynasty, Daci'en Temple has kept its prosperity for more than 1,300 years. Its history is long and glorious.

Daci'en Temple was the largest-scaled temple in the Tang Dynasty, covering an area of 2,475 square meters, and consisted of more than ten courtyards. Now, the extant area of this temple is just that of the West Pagoda Yard in the Tang Dynasty. The present Daci'en Temple sits back to the north and faces to the south, and consists of the following main buildings: Gate of the Temple, Bell and Drum Towers, Main Hall, Sutra Hall, Buddha-worshipping Hall, etc.

Dayan Pagoda (the Big Wild Goose Pagoda), a famous Buddhist pagoda in China, is located on the most northern point of this temple, and was built in 652. It is said that it was built by Xuanzang (Tang Sanzang), the first abbot of Daci'en Temple when he came back to China after the pilgrimage for Buddhist scriptures in order to keep sutras and figures of Buddha brought back to China from India. This pagoda is totally an imitation of India's pagoda. Built all by bricks, it is 60 meters in height, and has seven storeys. The body of the pagoda is in the shape of cone. Now, Dayan Pagoda has become a symbolic building of Xi'an City.

Daci'en Temple holds an important position in China's translation and Buddhist history. In order to invite Xuanzhan to act as Daci'en Temple's abbot, the Tang Empire issued a special order to build the Buddhist Scriptures Translation Hall where Xuanzang presided over translation of Buddhist scriptures and expounded Buddhist doctrines afterwards and made great contributions to China's sutra translation.

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