Famen monastery, (in) Famen, Shaanxi, CN

Raw data

"The Famen Monastery is located in the town of Famen, ten kilometers north of the Fufeng County seat. It was constructed at the end of Eastern Han Dynasty, arose in North Wei, began to prosper in Sui, reached the zenith of its splendor in Tang, was honored as “Royal Monastery”, and has become a Buddhist Holy Land for the entire nation since it houses the finger bones of Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism."

"Originally known as Asoka Temple, Famen Temple is located in Fufeng County of Baoji City, Shaanxi Province. It was first built during the reign of Emperor Ling of Han in the last years of the Eastern Han Dynasty, some 1,700 years ago. Nicknamed “the first ancestor of stupa temples in central Sha[a]nxi area“, the temple used to be an imperial temple.
In 1987, a team of Chinese archeologists discovered the amazing underground palace often talked about in legends while cleaning the pagoda ruins at Famen Temple in Xi’an. They also discovered the real finger bones of Sakyamuni and thousands of imperial treasures of the Tang Dynasty that had been in secret storage in the glistening underground palace for thousands of years.
[…] There were tons of priceless imperial treasures of the Tang Dynasty. Inside the eightfold treasure case, a legendary Sakyamuni finger bone (replica bone) was found. The day of discovery happed to be Sakyamuni’s birthday in the lunar calendar. […] Later, another three finger bones were found in the white jade curtain, Asoka Stupa and the iron case in the secret niche respectively. The finger bone stored in the white jade coffin in the secret niche is the genuine finger bone and it is the only real finger bone of Sakyamuni’s remained in the world."

"Famen Temple (Chinese: 法门寺; pinyin: Fǎmén Sì) is located in Famen town, Fufeng County, 120 kilometers west of Xi'an City, Shaanxi province. It was widely regarded as the "ancestor of pagoda temples in Guanzhong area".
[…] 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." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Famen_Temple

"Famen Temple was established for the purpose of the Stupa, while the Stupa was established for the Buddhist relics of Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism. During the 200 years of the Tang Dynasty, eight emperors attended the welcoming and seeing-off activities of the Buddhist relics. Tang Emperor Xizong buried thousands of rare treasures together with the Buddhist relics in the underground palace. Thereafter, Famen Temple became an imperial temple and a holy place for Buddhism.
Famen Temple in the Song Dynasty reached its largest scale, and during the period of the Republican China, the temple received its most comprehensive reconstruction." - http://www.chinatouronline.com/china-travel/xian/xian-attractions/Famen-Temple_10.html

Input by: tmciolek, Aug 24, 2009

“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 of Northern 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.” - http://arts.cultural-china.com/en/85Arts5404.html
Input by: tmciolek, 22 Feb 2013

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 22 Feb 2013

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

Location of Famen monastery, CN.

General location of the Famen monastery, CN.
lat=34.4429 long=107.8967
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://www.fallingrain.com), 2009.

Google Map link:


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 34.4429 Long 107.8967 - based on the visual identification of the site in satellite imagery, http://maps.google.com/ - tmciolek, 17 Aug 2012.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

  • [missing data]

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 0200-32c - tmciolek 08 Feb 2013
  • 0200-32c 0233-66c 0267-99c 0300-32c 0333-66c 0367-99c 0400-32c 0433-66c 0467-99c 0500-32c 0533-66c 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 08 Feb 2013

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • Architectural, archaeological

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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