Hanshan Temple

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Hanshan Temple,literally "Cold Mountain Temple", is a Buddhist temple and monastery in Suzhou, China. It is located at the town of Fengqiao (lit. Maple Bridge), about 5 kilometres west of the old city of Suzhou.

Hanshan Temple
Hanshan Temple

Traditionally, Hanshan Temple is believed to have been founded during the Tianjian era (502-519) of the reign of Emperor Wu of Liang, in the Southern and Northern Dynasties period. The current name of the monastery derives from Hanshan, the legendary monk and poet.

Hanshan Temple
Hanshan Temple

Hanshan Temple is famed in East Asia because of the poem "A Night Mooring by Maple Bridge" , by Tang Dynasty poet, Zhang Ji. The poem describes the melancholy scene of a dejected traveller, moored at night at Fengqiao, hearing the bells of Hanshan Temple.

Hanshan Temple
Hanshan Temple

The old moon is going down And the crows make a ruckus The world is covered with frost There are maples on the riverbank And the lights of fishing boats Drift with the current I fall into a sad sleep from the monastery on Cold Mountain The sound of the bell Reaches the guest boat at midnight

Hanshan Temple
Hanshan Temple

The poem is still popularly read in China, Japan and Korea. It is part of the primary school curriculum in both China and Japan. The ringing of the bell at Hanshan Temple on Chinese New Year eve is a major pilgrimage and tourism event for visitors from these countries.

Hanshan Temple
Hanshan Temple

Two bells are currently used at Hanshan Temple, both dating from the late Qing Dynasty when the temple was last rebuilt. One was forged in China in 1906, and the other was forged in Japan at around the same time. The dedication on the bell was written by Japanese Prime Minister Ito Hirobumi.

Hanshan Temple
Hanshan Temple

The original Tang Dynasty bell is believed by some to have been taken to Japan in ancient times. These two factors have roused some nationalistic controversy among Chinese and Koreans.

Hanshan Temple
Hanshan Temple

A new 108 tonne bell commissioned by Hanshan Temple and built by a foundry in Wuhan was completed recently, and is on its way to Hanshan Temple to replace the hundred years old Japanese built bell. The new bell is 8.5 metres high and 5.2 metres in diameter at its widest.

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