China Xi'an attractions, The FaMen Temple introduced.

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The FaMen Temple

One theory, supported by unearthed eaves-tiles and carved bricks of Han Dynasty, is that the temple was built during the Northern Zhou Dynasty, by Emperor Huan and also by Emperor Ling of the Eastern Han Dynasty. The literature record indicates that during Northern Wei Dynasty, Famen Temple already existed on a quite large scale. However, Buddhism was greatly suppressed in Emperor Wu's years ofNorthern Zhou Dynasty, and Famen Temple was almost completely destroyed. After establishment of Sui Dynasty, Buddhism was venerated, and Famen Temple was rebuilt, although it couldn't be recovered to its heyday in Northern Wei Dynasty. Its name was changed to Cheng Shi Dao Chang (成实道场), and soon it merged with nearby Baochang Temple (宝昌寺), and became a temple-owned farm.

Famen Temple entered its halcyon days after formation of the Tang Dynasty. During the first year of the reign of Wude Tang Dynasty (武德元年, 618), it was named Famen Temple, and monks were recruited the following year. Later the temple took in homeless people fleeing chaos caused by war at the end of the Sui Dynasty, and was unfortunately burnt. It was rebuilt later by monks. In Zhenguan 5th year (631), Zhang Liang was appointed to demolish Wangyun Palace to build the pagoda. It was rebuilt in Gaozong Xianqing 5th year(660), and was a four-storied pavilion-like pagoda. It was named later by Tang Zhongzong "True Relic Pagoda". Tang Zhongzong actively advocated Buddhism, and along with Empress Wei (韦后) buried their hair under the pagoda (unearthed in autumn 1978). Jinglong 4th year (710), the temple was renamed "Grand Empire Carefree King Temple" (圣朝无忧王寺), and the pagoda "Grand True Relic Pagoda" (大圣真身宝塔). In Wenzong Kaicheng 3rd year (AD 838), it was renamed "Fayun Temple", but soon reverted to the name Famen Temple. When Buddhism was suppressed in Huichang in the year of Wuzong, Famen Temple was affected. During Yizong's reign, the last Buddha relic acquisition in Tang Dynasty took place. At that time, Famen Temple was rebuilt, and its underground palace was not later altered. The emperors of Tang Dynasty acquired Buddha relics 7 times here, and every time donated generously, which facilitated the expansion of the temple and pagoda. After being built and renovated multiple times, Famen Temple evolved into a scale of 24 courtyards.

During the Five Empires period, the king of Qin, Li Maozhen spent more than 30 years renovating Famen Temple. In Houzhou Zhizong's year, Buddhism was restricted, but Famen Temple was not abandoned. After establishment of North Song Dynasty, Famen Temple was revived again. After being renovated many times, in Da'an 2nd year, Jin Dynasty, it was claimed to be "Temple and Pagoda against Heaven". During Longqing's years (1567–1572), Ming Dynasty, Famen Temple was greatly destroyed in Guanzhong earthquake, and the wood pagoda built in Tang Dynasty collapsed. In Wanli 7th year (1579), the "True Relic Pagoda" was rebuilt, and became 13-storied brick-mimic-timber structured pavilion-like pagoda.

During Qing Dynasty, Famen Temple was renovated in Shunzhi 12th year (1655), Qianlong 34th year (1769), and Guangxu 10th year (1884). In Tongzhi 1st year (1862), the temple was damaged in Huimin Uprising in Shaanxi Province. It's rebuilt later, but scale shrank a lot. After formation of the Republic of China, Famen Temple was used to station army continuously, and it was largely ruined. Because of natural and man-made calamities and the masses living in dire poverty, North China Philanthropy Association decided to rebuild the temple and pagoda, and use labor work as methods to relieve the distress. The reconstruction started in 1938, and concluded in July 1940. A month later, the Buddhist activities were restored.

After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, Famen Temple was among the first key protected historical relics of the province. However, the properties of the temple were still appropriated for public uses, such like schools in Famen town. During Cultural Revolution, the Red Guard damaged temple halls and Buddhist figures under the name of "breaking four old fashions". The abbot, Liangqing (良卿法师), incinerated himself in front of the True Relic Pagoda, in order to protect temple's underground palace.[1] When the palace was unearthed later, the relic of self-immolation could still be seen. Other monks were either demobilized or killed. The temple became "the temporary headquarter of proletariat rebellion of Fufeng County". After 1979, Shaanxi province government once funded restoration of the Grand Hall of the Great Sage (大雄宝殿) and the Brass Buddha Pavilion (铜佛阁). At 1:57am of 4 August 1981, half side wall of True Relic Pagoda collapsed in the heavy rain. This incident drew universal attention. In 1984, the government implemented religious policy and handed Famen Temple to Buddhist community. In 1985, Shaanxi province government decided to pull down the remaining half side wall and rebuild the True Relic Pagoda. On 3 April 1987, the underground palace of True Relic Pagoda in Famen Temple was opened, and a large quantities of precious historical relics were unearthed. This was quite a hit in news at that time. The expansion of the temple and the reconstruction of the pagoda were completed in October 1988. On 9 November of the same year, the Famen Temple Museum was opened.