An overview of the Pagoda Forest of Shaolin Temple in Song Mountain

Dengfeng “heaven and earth” historical building complex has a long history and various types of buildings. It has global outstanding universal value, authenticity and integrity, and meets the criteria of world cultural heritage list in the Convention for the protection of world cultural and natural heritage. On August 1, 2010, at the 34th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, it was successfully listed in the world cultural heritage list, becoming the third world cultural heritage in Henan Province after Longmen Grottoes and Yin Ruins in Anyang, Luoyang. The historical buildings in the world include 8 ancient wooden structures and 11 precious brick and stone buildings in Dengfeng. Among them, Shaolin Temple Pagoda Forest is a beautiful flower in this historical building cultural garden, which has very important historical, scientific and artistic value.

Tallinn is located on the hillside more than 280 meters southwest of Shaolin Temple, with Shaoxi River in the South and wurufeng in the north, covering an area of 20000 square meters. There are many ancient pagodas standing tall and in various shapes. They are like huge trees and dense forests. Therefore, they are called “Pagoda Forest”. They are the tombs of monks in Shaolin Temple. Most of the pagodas bury the spirit bones of the great monk and the great monk after the death; a few of the pagodas bury the cassock, magic weapon or Scripture of the great monk, which is called the cloister pagoda. There are 228 tombs of monks from Tang Dynasty to Qing Dynasty in the Tallinn, plus 15 ancient pagodas and tombs belonging to Shaolin temple around the Tallinn, so there are 243 brick and stone pagodas of seven dynasties (Tang, Five Dynasties, song, Jin, yuan, Ming and Qing) inside and outside the Tallinn. It is the Tallinn with the largest number and scale of existing pagodas in China, the most complete in the era of lowering and building pagodas in Tang Dynasty, the longest spanning time, the most early pagodas, and the highest cultural relic value. It is known as the first Tallinn in China [1].

The existing ancient pagodas in Shaolin Temple Pagoda Forest (including the tower body has been destroyed, only the tower base) cover an area of 19006.27 square meters. The pagodas and tombs around the Tallinn, which belong to the Shaolin Temple, cover a larger area, and they are distributed within hundreds of meters and kilometers away from the Tallinn. Due to the different times, various shapes, scattered heights, exquisite carvings and rich contents of the tower, it forms a specimen room for the study of ancient tower architecture and an open-air museum for the appreciation of ancient tower art.

The number of individual towers in a Tallinn is an important element of Tallinn. There is no accurate data on the number of existing tallows in China. After decades of data collection and statistics, the author estimates that there are more than 100 existing pagodas and more than 60 important pagodas, including 19 in Henan Province, the most of which are Shaolin Temple pagodas. There are 228 existing pagodas in the pagoda, and 15 nearby pagodas, a total of 243, 61 more than the second largest Pagoda in China, Lingyan Temple Pagoda in Changqing County, Shandong Province, There are 243 pagodas inside and outside the Shaolin Temple Pagoda Forest, 75 more than 168 pagodas inside and outside the Lingyan Temple Pagoda Forest.

The Pagoda Forest of Shaolin Temple has not only a large number of ancient pagodas, but also the most complete since the Tang Dynasty. For various reasons, most of the existing pagodas in China are missing, or even all of them are pagodas or tombs of the same era. However, the pagodas of Shaolin Temple have not been broken down from Tang Dynasty to Qing Dynasty, which is not only one of its important characteristics, but also a historical book studying ancient pagodas. At present, there are 6 pagodas in the Tang Dynasty (2 in the Pagoda Forest, 4 outside the Pagoda Forest), 1 in the Five Dynasties (outside the Pagoda Forest), 5 in the Song Dynasty (3 in the Pagoda Forest, 2 outside the Pagoda Forest), 17 in the Jin Dynasty (16 in the Pagoda Forest, 1 outside the Pagoda Forest), 52 in the Yuan Dynasty (51 in the Pagoda Forest, 1 outside the Pagoda Forest), 148 in the Ming Dynasty (146 in the Pagoda Forest, 2 outside the Pagoda Forest), There were 14 pagodas in Qing Dynasty (10 in the Pagoda Forest and 4 outside the Pagoda Forest). According to the time sequence of 243 ancient pagodas, 38 representative pagodas and tombs were selected according to their important research reference values in the history of Buddhism, architecture and art, especially in the development history of Shaolin Temple and the burial system of the great monk Yuanji in the tomb of Tallinn, which are for the reference of the ancient pagoda researchers and tourists in the industry. Among the 38 ancient pagodas, there are Buddhist pagodas in Tang Dynasty, such as the Buddhist pagoda, Wuzhou pagoda, Tongguang pagoda, fawan pagoda, xiaoguangshi pagoda, nameless pagoda (the highest brick Pagoda in the Pagoda Forest), and the Buddhist pagoda of Xingjun in Tang Dynasty after five generations; there are Maitreya pagoda, Sakya pagoda and ordinary Pagoda in Song Dynasty; In the Jin Dynasty, there were West Hall teacher monk tower, Duan Zen tower, Chonggong Zen tower, Yangong elder’s stupa, Zhugong Zen tower and Wugong Zen tower; In the Yuan Dynasty, there were Rufeng Buddhist pagoda, Yugong pagoda, Zuan elder pagoda, Lingyin Buddhist pagoda, Zhonglin Buddhist pagoda, Yueyan elder longevity pagoda, Huanyuan elder pagoda, zigongshou pagoda of Tongji master, Hongfa master Qinggong pagoda, Guyan Buddhist longevity pagoda, Juan elder Lingta, Xian let Gongda Buddhist pagoda, Shangan and Shangta; In the Ming Dynasty, there were Zhudong Wangong monk’s stupa, biandun monk’s stupa, Xiaoshan dazhangshugong Zen master’s stupa, calm monk’s stupa, illusory rest and Shangta, Xueju master’s Anle (pagoda), speechless gongshouyu (pagoda); in the Qing Dynasty, there were Hanhui Xigong great monk’s stupa and Bianan kuanchan master’s Linggu (pagoda).

In terms of the construction time of Ancient Pagoda Forest, Shaolin Temple Pagoda Forest has the longest span time among many pagodas in China. The Pagoda Forest of Shaolin Temple has not formed a forest like scale in Tang Dynasty and Five Dynasties. According to the regulations after Buddhism was introduced into our country after the death of the great monk, he buried his spiritual bones around the hospital, some near the temple, some far away from the temple. There are seven existing tombs of monks in Tang Dynasty and Five Dynasties, only two of which were built in the Pagoda Forest in Tang Dynasty, and the other five were built in different places around the temple. In song and Jin Dynasties, 20 existing tombs of monks in Shaolin Temple were built in the Pagoda Forest, forming a group of brick and stone tombs with many pagodas, becoming the real cemetery of eminent monks and the ancestral tombs of monks in Shaolin Temple. In Yuan and Ming Dynasties, The number of tombs increased significantly, becoming the largest “Tallinn” in China (1). According to the records of the existing pagodas in the Pagoda Forest of Shaolin Temple, we can see that there are different names for the monk cemetery in the Pagoda Forest in ancient times. As the earliest Pagoda in the present Pagoda Forest, it may be the first burial Pagoda in the Tang Dynasty at the northernmost end of the Pagoda Forest, so the pagoda inscription of the Zen master of Fadan only records that the direction of building the pagoda is “building the pagoda in the west of Shaolin Temple in songqiu”. According to the inscription of “Haigong Zen master tower” in the Jin Dynasty, “disciples of the sect burn the spirit bones to build the zita in the West ancient tomb of the temple.” In the Jin Dynasty, “the tower of Chonggong Zen master” recorded: “hundreds of relics were obtained and the tower was built in the ancestral Tomb of Shaolin Temple.” In the Yuan Dynasty, the inscription of “longevity pagoda of Yueyan elder” recorded that “longevity pagoda is built on the ancestral tombs of the temple.” The Ming Dynasty’s “Tower of Songyan” inscription said: “at the end of the uprising, there was a great disorder in the world, and the temple was lost After a while, the spirit bones were moved to the tombs and buried in the pagodas. ” The Ming Dynasty’s “grand pagoda of Guangong” said: “buried in the temple’s Tower yard.” The Ming Dynasty’s “Tower of loyalty to the public and respect for the hall” said: “the spirit of the bone hidden in the Shaolin tower yard, high Jianfu Tu, good beginning and good end.” It can be seen from the above examples that the Pagoda Forest of Shaolin Temple is called “pagoda yard” in the Ming Dynasty, the “ancestral tomb” in the early Ming Dynasty and the Yuan Dynasty, and the “ancient tomb” and “ancestral tomb” in the Jin Dynasty. The tombs and inscriptions of the Shaolin temple around the Tallinn only record the location or location of the tombs, while the monk’s tombs that constitute the “ancestral tomb” and “ancestral tomb” of the Shaolin Temple are the physical witness of the long history of the Shaolin Temple. The pagoda was built in the first year of Yongchang in the Tang Dynasty (689), 1323 years ago. It is the earliest existing tomb Pagoda in Shaolin Temple. It went through continuous construction in the Tang, Five Dynasties, song, Jin, yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. It was built in the 25th year of Jiaqing in the Qing Dynasty (1820). It can be seen from this that the construction time of the Shaolin Temple’s pagoda has spanned seven dynasties from morning to night for 1131 years, which is unique among the existing pagodas in the country and also one of the important characteristics of the Shaolin Temple’s Pagoda Forest.

Shaolin Temple Pagoda Forest has the most existing early pagodas. In the ancient architecture industry, the architecture before Yuan Dynasty is generally called early architecture, and the architecture during Ming and Qing Dynasties is called late architecture. In history, due to the war, turmoil and other reasons and the destruction of natural forces, there are few pagodas in the existing Pagoda Forest in China before and after the Yuan Dynasty, most of which are brick and stone pagodas in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, some of which are all tomb pagodas in the Qing Dynasty, such as the 16 pagodas of Lingshan temple in Yiyang, Henan, and the 243 pagodas inside and outside the Pagoda Forest of Shaolin Temple, There were 81 brick pagodas in and before the Yuan Dynasty, accounting for 33.33% of the total number of pagodas, just one third of which is another important feature of Shaolin Pagoda Forest.

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