Puslapio vaizdai

the Azure Dragon (1) and on the right is the White Tiger (R), and these two are in perpetual conflict. Therefore if the land or buildings are high on the left and low on the right, the luck of the place is good, and vice versa, hence the value of pagodas to give the advantage to the Azure Dragon. · But it must be manifest that while a pagoda would bring good luck to the region on the left, it would be equally deleterious to the region on the right. But it must be confessed that there are depths of intricate nonsense in the science of geomancy that it is difficult to fathom.

Besides the superstitions connected with pagodas, there is also a feeling among some of the more intelligent of the Chinese that these high towers are an addition to the beauties of a landscape, and give a finer appearance to a city as seen from a distance, just as the high church steeples increase the beauty of, and give variety to, the appearance of a city in Christian lands.

Of the eight principal pagodas in Suchow and its immediate neighborhood, the largest and most famous, is the one situated near the north wall of the city, called Peh Sz T'ah-North Monastery Pagoda. This tower lifts its head above all the houses of the city, above the city wall and all the other pagodas in the neighborhood. It is the first building to be seen in the distance on approaching the city from any direction, and is said to be the largest pagoda in China. It is octagonal in shape and nine stories high. It is about 300 feet in circumference at the base and about 250 in height. It is built of brick, having a narrow verandah with banisters around each story. There is an outer and an inner wall, between which is the passage way leading to the top by means of 18 flights of stairs. Numerous Buddhist idols occupy niches in the wall in the different stories. The size is gradually reduced as the top story is approached. A splendid view of the city and surrounding country is to be had from the upper stories. The vast array of black tiled roofs, intermitted here and there by an open space, the flag-staffs of the official residences scattered throughout the city, the other pagodas in and out of the city looming up in the distance, the long suburbs stretching away from the city-gates, the vast level plain dotted with villages and hamlets extending away to the north and east intersected with many a winding canal, while to the west the mountains lift their summits ornamented here and there with a pagoda or a temple, and on the south and south-east the silvery lakes sparkle in the sheen of the noonday sunaltogether present a view at once beautiful and unique. It is not to be wondered at that many of the poets of the "Beautiful Su” have been inspired to sing the natural and artistic beauties of the city and

its surroundings. Many of these poetic descriptions of the scenery in and around Suchow, are collected in one of the volumes of the History. Alas! "every prospect pleases, and only man is vile." The voluptuousness and wickedness of its inhabitants, seems to have been only increased in proportion to the beauty and richness of its surroundings. This pagoda as it now stands nine stories high was built in the reign of Shao Hing of the Sung, about A.D. 1160. Anciently there was a tope () or Buddhist monument eleven stories high built on the same site. This was partially destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1080. Su-she () a celebrated statesman, poet and commentator, who flourished A.D. 1036-1101, at one time governor of Hangchow and Suchow; presented a bronze turtle to the temple of which the pagoda formed a part, to be preserved as a relic (F). In the reign of Shao Hing the pagoda was again burned and was rebuilt nine stories high under the superintendence of a travelling priest () named Ta-yuen () who seems to have collected the money necessary for the purpose.

A Buddhist monastery was built on a part of the same lot by the famous Sun-kuen, A.D. 245, in memory of his mother. Hence it is called "Recompensing Favor Monastery" (#). A remarkable manifestation of Buddhist divinity is related to have occurred in connection with this monastery. It is said that some fishermen on the seashore, somewhere in the region beyond Sung Kiang at a place called Hu-tuh (), saw a "divine light"() shining upon the surface of the water at night. On viewing this strange phenomenon by daylight, they found that it was produced by two stone images floating on the water, and they immediately concluded that these were the Water Gods (). They offered sacrificial worship and the images floated away. Not long after this some of the people of Wu (Suchow) hearing of this appearance, gathered a company of Buddhist priests and nuns, went to Hu-tuh, found the images, and brought and placed them in the above-named temple. Their light, it is said, shone brilliantly for seven successive days and nights! (Why it did not continue to shine for a longer period does not appear from the record). This event happened in the fourth year of Kien Hing of the Tsin, A.D. 317. Four years later, fishermen living at the same place, Hu-tuh, got a lapis lazuli alms bowl (†¥7#). At first they took it to be a common mortar or bowl and used it to prepare their food in, meat, &c. But on the very first attempt at such desecration (preparing animal food in it) the image of Buddha appeared on the outside, whereby they knew that it was an auspicious omen left there by the two stone images that had appeared four years before.


They therefore took it and dedicated it to Buddha in the temple in Suchow together with the stone images. Some time after the abovementioned discoveries, certain Buddhist missionaries from a foreign country came to Suchow and said that the holy men of that country had recorded the fact that somewhere in the east were two stone images and a pagoda of Asoka, the great king who favored Buddhism, B.c. 319, and whoever could go and see them would thereby save himself from an incalculable amount of sin. It is believed that the two images found by the fishermen are the same as those referred to by the holy men of the foreign land. This pagoda has, like all the other ancient buildings in the city, suffered many vicissitudes during the more than one thousand years of its existence, but it still wears the crown as the largest and most famous pagoda in the land (

HB ## . But while it is the crown of pagodas, it is also distinguished as the tail of the dragon. The dragon's head is said to be near the south gate, where two wells are his eyes, his body extends north along the “Protecting Dragon Street” ( F#), and the great pagoda situated at the north end of this street is his tail. It is therefore very necessary to the prosperity of the city that the “Dragon's Tail” be always kept in good repair. This pagoda was recently illuminated for three nights in succession. Lanterns were hung closely around each story, and a company of seven or eight Buddhist priests were employed on each floor of the nine stories in saying mass. The expenses, which are said to have amounted to some two hundred dollars for the three days and nights, were borne by three of the wellto-do families of the city, who had the illumination made and the masses said, to secure the release of deceased members of their families from purgatory.

The oldest pagoda in the city is the one situated just inside the south gate. It consists of seven stories and is about 180 feet high. It was first built by Sun-kuen, the founder of the Wu, A.D. 248, as a place for the preservation of (Buddhist] relics, and to recompense his mother's kindness (

L.), and was thirteen stories high. In the second year of Tien Fuh of the Tang, when it was repaired, the pagoda gave forth light of many colors, and a brass tablet was bestowed upon it by the emperor, which was placed in the top of the pagoda. In the second year of Yuen Fung of the Sung, A.D. 1080, the Grain Commissioner was ordered by the emperor to order a certain Buddhist priest to preach the law () in the temple connected with this pagoda. While this was being done, the pagoda again gave forth its many-colored light, a white turtle appeared in the pond in front of the preaching hall, a withered bamboo tree budded again, and the

drum of the law () sounded of itself. From this time the name of the hall was called The Four Good Omen [Hall]. In the fourth year of Tsung Ning of the Sung, the temple was repaired at the emperor's expense and again gave forth its parti-colored light and the name was changed to "Heavenly Peace Myriad Years Precious Pagoda.” In the reign of Sien Hwo, A.D. 1119, the pagoda was again repaired and changed to seven stories. It has been repeatedly repaired in the last 700 years. It is believed that this pagoda has a very great influence on the luck of the Fu T'ai's (Provincial Governor) official residence, from the front of which a full view of the pagoda is to be had. If it is allowed to fall into ruins, it is believed that some calamity is sure to overtake the governor or his family. Six or seven years ago the governor, who had just come into office and who had an old mother who might yield to any evil influence and give up the ghost at a very inconvenient season for his official prospects, set about repairing the pagoda as a means of prolonging the life of his mother. Several thousand dollars were raised by private subscriptions, and the work was commenced. But by the time the spire and roof of the top story were finished, it was found that there was not money enough to carry on the work, and so it had to be abandoned. Some say that the contractor failed, lost all his property in the undertaking. Sure enough, in a short time after work on the pagoda ceased, the governor's mother died, and he had to go to the expense of a costly funeral, vacate his official position for over two years, and lose all the gains of office for that length of time.

The History states that in 1624 a building called the "Seven Buddha Pavilion " was erected on the foundation of the Four Good Omen Hall. Just as the pillars of this building were being raised the eye of heaven gave forth light (*). On this account one of the high officials named the building "Heaven's Eye Pavillion" (

). In subsequent years the light was frequently seen. In the fourth year of K'ien Lung, A.D. 1740, the Provincial Governor of Kiangsu went to the temple connected with the pagoda to pray for rain. On obtaining answer to his prayers in the shape of refreshing showers on the thirsty earth, he gratefully gave the necessary means to have the temple and pagoda thoroughly repaired. The emperors K'ang Hi and K'ien Lung both visited the pagoda while on their southern progresses. The story is handed down that on the occasion of the visit of K'ien Lung, when the pagoda was illuminated with lanterns at night, the image of the pagoda was reflected in the waters of the Great Lake at a distance of ten miles, and the lake fishermen caught no fish that whole night!

A short distance outside of the north-west gate, on the Tiger Hill, is a pagoda that reminds one of the descriptions of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It is several feet out of perpendicular. Whether it was originally built that way, or whether the foundation has settled to one side, is not stated. But it has stood in its present leaning position from time immemorial, and bids fair to so stand for generations to come. Like the two pagodas already mentioned, it is built of large thick brick, having an outer and an inner wall, between which runs the stairway and passage for ascent. Around the outside of each story is (or was) a narrow verandah. All the wood work of this pagoda except three flights of rickety stairs leading to the first three stories, has been destroyed and only the brick work remains. Three or four Buddhist priests live in the lower story which they use as an idol temple in lieu of a fine temple that stood near the pagoda many years ago. This pagoda was built in the reign of Jên Show of the Sui, A.D. 603. A legend, given in the History, states that when the relics which were sent by the emperor Jên Show, to be placed in the pagoda, arrived near their destination, the waters (in the canal, presumably,) gave forth a roaring sound for two days—in recognition, it would seem, of the holy character of the said relics, or it may be as a greeting to the imperial commissioner, 'a Buddhist priest, who escorted them thither. The same tradition relates that when the foundation for the pagoda was being dug, a small brick enclosure was found in which was a silver casket, and in the casket was a precious relic, which on being placed in a basin of water produced numerous gyratory motions which were regarded as of an auspicious character and therefore the relic was placed with the others in the pagoda. It would greatly assist our comprehension of this story to know the shape, size and general character of the aforesaid relic, but this information is not granted. The Buddhist temple near which the pagoda was built was first erected A.D. 328. It was one of the largest and most frequented of the Buddhist temples in and around the city. But many times has it been more or less injured or destroyed in various ways and as often repaired. Both of the emperors K'ang Hi and K'ien Lung honored it with their presence and the bestowal of imperial autographs and inscriptions. K'jen Lung's empress also visited it and made several gifts to it. The emperors Chêng T'ung and Wan Li of the Ming, both presented copies of the Buddhist scriptures to this temple, accompanied in each instance with an imperial decree stating the reason of the gift, and directing the manner of using it. In these edicts the emperors say, substantially, that having a heart in sympathy with heaven and earth, and a sincere disposition to care for the welfare of the people

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