Daxingshan Buddhist Temple
Chinese Name in Pinyin: Da Xing Shan Si
Daxingshan Temple locates nearby the 2nd busiest business circle – Xiaozhai, which is about 2.5km from the south gate of City Wall. Construction work of the temple was firstly carried out from 265AD to 289AD. It is one of the oldest temples in Xian. In the Sui Dynasty (581-618) Xian was named Daxing, and the district the temple locates was Jingshan Fang. When naming the temple, the name of the city Daxing and the Shan (means kindness) of the district name was selected, hence the temple got its name Da Xingshan Temple. And that name was followed till today. In the Sui Dynasty and the Tang Dynasty (618-907) Buddhism prevailed in Changan (Since the establishment of the Tang Dynasty Daxing changed its name to Changan.). Many knowledgeable monks and overseas students from India spent their time in the temple, either translated Buddhist sutras or studied Chinese Buddhist culture, or they took the temple as headquarter to spread their Esoteric Buddhism. In the Tang Dynasty, Daxingshan Temple is one of the 3 largest Buddhist Sutra translation places. And now the temple is acknowledged as the womb of Esoteric Buddhism in China. In the year 841-846, a large scale Buddhism-against Movement sweep the whole country. As result over 4600 temples was pulled down or wrecked. Daxingshan Temple was also badly damaged in those years. In the following dynasties, the temple was rebuilt and repaired for may times.
Though locates at the bustling business district, Daxingshan Temple keeps forever tranquil. It seems that temple has not been troubled by the modern flippancy. Only at the gate of the temple there are several so-called fortunetellers and a few beggars earning their life. Because in Chinese culture one who believes religion is usually thought as superstitious and especially a Buddhist follower is though as virtuous. They usually show more sympathy to others. Enter the temple one will witness sacred Buddhist architectures, incense in huge censers, solemn Buddhism statues, and pious monks and Buddhist followers. Even if one does not believe in Buddhism, he will be impacted by the atmosphere.
Each Dec 8th of lunar calendar, Daxingshan temple offers porridge for free to people. Having porridge in the morning of Dec 8th of lunar calendar is a traditional habit among Chinese people from ancient time till nowadays. And we call it Laba Zhou. Regardless of gender, age, vocation, nationality, etc the temple offer porridge to any one who comes for the porridge. And each Dec 8th of lunar calendar voluntaries from Xian or nearby cities come here to help the temple with porridge cooking and offering. As early as at 03:00 the first pan of porridge would be ready, and by that time some citizens may have already waiting for the porridge at the temple gate. The porridge offering will end in early afternoon. Though many citizens don’t believe in Buddhism, they think the porridge offers by the temple as carrier of good luck. And having a bowl of this porridge on that day is habit of many people. If you happen to come to Daxingshan Temple, you are also welcomed to try that “Laba Zhou”!
Opening time: 08:00-17:00
Entrance Fee: Free
Public transportation: Xiaozhai Station of Metro L2 & L3, and bus No. 215, 19, 616, 600, etc. Other sites nearby the temple: Shaanxi History Museum, Saige Shopping Mall (a good place to do shopping)