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Hanshan Temple

Hanshan Temple It is quite strange to hear that a Buddhist temple called Cold Mountain. During the reign of Zhenguan Emperor (627 - 648) of China's Tang Dynasty, two young men, Hanshan (literally cold mountain) and Shide, had been very good friends since they were small. One day when Hanshan was grown up, his parents arranged him to marry a girl. However, the girl had fallen in love with Shide.
Accidentally, Hanshan knew the reality about this matter. He was in deep and painful thought for a few days. Eventually, he wrote a letter to Shide, stating that he wanted him to marry the girl as soon as possible. Hanshan then went to Suzhou to cultivate himself in Buddhism.
Shide hadn't seen Hanshan for a fortnight. He felt upset of that, so went to his home. There he saw a letter that Hanshan had left for him. Hanshan wrote "You should marry the girl now and have a happy life forever together". Shide felt very sad at that moment and he knew that he shouldn't take his friend's woman. So he left the girl too, and he set out to Suzhou to visit Hanshan. Shide was on the road during summer, he found a field of lotus flowers in a pond. He was very glad to see this scenery so he picked a flower in his hand and brought it with him all the way in order to have a good luck.
Finally, Shide has arrived at Suzhou to see his long time friend Hanshan. The flower in his hand was still brilliantly blossoming with charming fragrance. They are monks in the Hanshan Temple during the rest of their life. The present name of the temple has been used since then.
Calligraphy about the famous classic poem"月落乌啼霜满天,江枫渔火对愁眠.姑苏城外寒山寺,夜半钟声到客船."The Hanshan Temple was built between 502 and 519 AD, located at 5km outside the Changmen City Gate of Suzhou, China. Between the late Yuan and late Qing Dynasties, the temple was heavily looted and seriously damaged five times, but it was then repaired and renovated. This was due to its strong influence in people's hearts and the peaceful spirits of Hanshan and Shide have been deep in Chinese minds.
It is said that Monk Shide went to Japan to teach Buddhism and founded the Shide Temple there. So that the Chinese culture enthusiasts in Japan are like to tour the Hanshan Temple in Suzhou nowadays.
The most notable scene in the temple is the majestic pagoda called Pumingbaota, during your tour, you can climb up, though not to the top of it (because it is not allow to be reached !), and command the good view of the Suzhou city.
It is interesting to see the giant old bell in the Hanshan Temple. The monks here will strike the bell 108 times in the Lunar New Year. The action represents the 12 months, 24 solar terms and 72 climatic phenomena (numbered 108 in total) in traditional Chinese meteorology. It is said that man has 108 times of fretting over something annually, so the listening to the 108-strike can expel all the worries in your mind.
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