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Thursday, October 14, 2010

No. 39: Xingjiao Temple, Xi'an, Shaanxi

Interior of a hall (殿) dedicted to Xuanzang (玄奘) at Xingjiao Temple (兴教寺), Xi'an, Shaanxi
(陕西, 西安市). The hall includes jade panels depicting his life, and shows him life-sized and
flanked by his chief disciples Kuiji (窥基) and Yuance (the Korean monk Woncheuk=圆测).
Two-and-a-half months after leaving Jiangsu--and almost exactly two years ago as I write this--I arrived in the ancient capital of Xi'an for the second time as a pilgrim. This time, I would be traveling well beyond the city walls to more remote--and more interesting--temples.

My first stop was Xingjiao Temple, about 20 kilometers southeast of the walled city. Located on a small plateau, at the time of my October, 2010, visit, the overwhelming impression was of corn drying everywhere.

Entering the temple's gate, I was met by a pleasant young monk who seemed inordinately fond of having his picture taken--the abbot's assistant. Once it became clear that I was there to see the temple and not just him, he excused himself and went to lunch.

The highlight here is the pagoda holding most of the remains of Xuanzang, the great Tang Dynasty monk who traveled to India and brought sutras back to Xi'an (then called Chang'an). After spending his life translating them, he passed away near the age of 65. A pagoda was built at Xingjiao ("Spreading the Teachings") Temple, with pagodas for his chief disciples Kuiji and Yuance (a Korean monk) on either side.

Unfortunately, the pagoda was being refurbished during my visit, which made good photographs impossible. Still, I was able to reverence the remains of the buildings. I also saw new courtyard that has been built, with a shrine to Xuanzang in the center, and figures of the two disciples at either end.

I boarded a city bus for my return trip, but planned to stop along the way at another significant site.

(An edited version of this article was published in the Shenzhen Daily October 15, 2012.)

GPS Info:
  • 34.089903,109.038933



Map:




GALLERY

Corn drying in the sun near the entrance to Xingjiao Temple
The front gate of the temple
The Tang monk Xuanzang is seated in a new hall
Interior of the new hall dedicated to Xuanzang
Pagoda dedicated to the Korean monk Yuance (Woncheuk)
A "model monk" who enjoyed having his picture taken

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