Cien monastery, (in) Xi'an, Shaanxi, CN

Raw data

"When the city of Chang'an 長安 (modern Xi'an 西安/Shaanxi) was the capital of Tang Dynasty, many emperors and especially empresses worshipped the Buddha and had built some huge pagodas in the state protected monasteries. […] The 64 m high Great Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayanta 大雁塔) was built in 652 in Cien Monastery 慈恩寺, […] The Great Wild Goose Pagoda with its step or pyramid shape once served as a treasury for the sutras the monk Xuanzang 玄奘 had brought from India. The Cien Monastery was the most important location of Mahayana Buddhism during Tang Dynasty, even monks from Japan and Korea came here to study Buddhism."

"The Ts’ien Monastery in Yanta village, near Ch'ang-an (present day Hsi-an) in Shensi Province."

"The Big Wild Goose Pagoda (dayanta) is located within the premises of the Temple of Great Maternal Grace (Dacien Si), four kilometers away from the center of the city. It is one of the city's most distinctive and outstanding landmarks, possibly the most beautiful building left in Xian today.
The Temple of Great Maternal Grace (Dacien Si)
Known as the best-preserved Buddhist temple complex, the Da Ci'en Temple was initially built in 589, during the Sui Dynasty (581-618). At that time, it was named as Wulou Temple. In 648 A.D. the Emperor Li Zhi, then still a crown prince, sponsored a repair project on the temple o honor his mother, Empress Wende. The Temple then obtained its name Da Ci'en Temple, meaning the Thanksgiving Temple. According to the records, the temple, with more than 10 courtyards, contained 1,897 marvelous chambers altogether and was a place of grand extent in the Tang dynasty. Within the temple, there is a small bell tower from which a bell hangs, which was used for telling time to the monks in ancient times. Daxiongbaodian is the main hall of the temple. It went into gradual decay after the downfall of the Tang dynasty.The halls and rooms that have survived the age are structures that were built in the Ming dynasty."
Input by: tmciolek, Dec 15, 2009

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 25 Feb 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200 m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Cien monastery, CN.

General location of the Cien monastery, CN.
Lat 34.21892 108.9595
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2009.

Google Map link:,%20CN)&ll=34.21892,108.9595&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • China:Shaanxi Sheng

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx. Lat 34.21892 108.9595 - based on visual identification of the site in the maps/satellite imagery, - tmciolek, 24 Feb 2012

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Mahayana

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

  • MBM chrono-tag 0567-99c - tmciolek 14 Jan 2013
  • 0567-99c 0600-32c 0633-66c 0667-99c 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99c 0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32c 0933-66c 0967-99c 1000-32c 1033-66c 1067-99c 1100-32c 1133-66c 1167-99c 1200=> dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

13. Date-late

  • MBM chrono-tag 1200=> - tmciolek 14 Jan 2013

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • Architectural

16. Additional notes

  • [missing data] (incl. details of the size of the monastic population)….

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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