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Famen Temple 法门寺 Xi'an, Shaanxi Province

Famen Temple

In 1981, all the rain that didn't fall during the drought of the 1970's dumped on Shaanxi. During a particularly heavy rain half of one of the side walls of True Relic Pagoda disintegrated. It wasn't until 1984 that the govenment returned the Famen Temple to the Buddhists and the Buddhist community. In 1985 the Shaanxi government decided to pull down what was left of the True Relic Pagoda and rebuild it. It was finished in 1988.

When digging to establish the new foundation, the mythical palace of treasures was found beneath the pagoda. The most important find was a finger bone, a true relic of Sakyamuni. Thousands of other pieces were also preserved within the palace. The underground palace was reconstructed on the basis of the Tang Dynasty design and the True Relic Pagoda built above it. Most of the contents of the palace of treasures are now on exhibit in the Famen Museum.

As of 2004, there were 230 monks living and studying in the temple.

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Last update: March 2010
© Marilyn Shea, 2010