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Pagoda with Vajra Base in Zhenjue Temple

 

The Pagoda with Vajra Base in Zhenjue Temple lies on the north bank of the Changhe River near the White Stone Bridge in Haidian District of Beijing.

The Vajra Base in the Zhenjue Temple is generally called the Wutashita (Tower in the Five Towers Temple). During the Yongle reign under Emperor Chengzu of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), an eminent Indian monk paid tribute of five golden Buddha statues of the Vajra circle to the emperor. The emperor ordered to build the Zhenjue Temple to treasure up the five golden Buddha statues, and the temple was completed in the 9th year (1473) of the Chenghua reign. The temple was destroyed in the early 20th century, but the tower still stands intact there.

The tower is built of bricks and white marbles, 17 meters high, and consists of the pedestal and five small towers. The foursquare pedestal, 7.7 meters high, has two doors respectively in the front and the back. Inside, spiral stairs lead to the top of the pedestal. There are five towers and a glazed pavilion on the top. Legend has it that five golden Buddha statues have been respectively buried under the five towers. The shape of the tower follows that of the Buddha Gaya Hermitage in India, with strong Indian features. The tower is famous for its exquisite carvings. There are many gorgeous patterns of Buddha, flowers and plants, birds and beasts carved on both the top of the tower and the five towers, as if it were the Buddhist paradise. Among them, there is a pair of footprints, with the meaning of Buddhism spreading all over the world, which is considered the symbol of the Buddha.

There are six pagodas with a Vajra base similar to that in the Five Towers Temple in the world, among which five are in China. The only one abroad is the Buddha Gaya Hermitage in India, which was destroyed in the war when the British army invaded India. Later the tower was rebuilt according to the blueprint of the Five Towers Temple.

The Five Towers Temple is the earliest and the most exquisite tower of the kind in China. Recently large numbers of precious cultural relics such as Buddhist sutras and statues of Buddha have been found in the tower. Now the temple has been built into the Beijing Museum of Stone Carvings.

 
 
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