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Hanshan Temple

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Title: Hanshan Temple  
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Subject: Jiming Temple, Tianning Temple (Changzhou), Qixia Temple, Hanshan, Dabeilou Temple
Collection: Aaaa-Rated Tourist Attractions, Buddhist Temples in Jiangsu, Places of Worship in Suzhou
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Hanshan Temple

Boats at the Maple Bridge
Statue of poet Zhang Ji at Maple Bridge
Statue in Hanshan Temple

Hanshan Temple (Chinese: 寒山寺; pinyin: HánshānSì); 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.

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 and his disciple Shide are said to have come to the monastery during the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang (627–649), where Hanshan became the abbot.


  • The bell of Hanshan 1
    • The poem 1.1
    • The bell 1.2
  • Hanshan Temple in Japan 2
  • Notes 3
  • External links 4

The bell of Hanshan

The poem

Hanshan Temple is famed in East Asia because of the poem "A Night Mooring by Maple Bridge" (楓橋夜泊), 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:

Yuè luò wū tí shuāng mǎn tiān,
Jiāng fēng yú huǒ duì chóu mián.
Gūsū chéngwài Hánshān Sì,
Yèbàn zhōngshēng dào kèchuán.

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

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.

The bell

Two bells are currently used at Hanshan Temple, both dating from the late Itō Hirobumi. The original Tang Dynasty bell is believed by some (including Itō Hirobumi and modern Chinese statesman Kang Youwei) to have been taken to Japan in ancient times. These two factors have roused some nationalistic controversy among Chinese and Koreans (see, for example, this opinion).

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.

Hanshan Temple in Japan

A Hanshan Temple (pronounced kanzan-ji in Japanese) was established in Ōme, Tokyo, Japan in 1929.


External links

  • Official website
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