The Sakyamuni Pagoda is located in the Fogong Temple in the northwest of Yingxian County, Shanxi Province. The Sakyamuni Buddha is enshrined in the tower, hence the name Sakyamuni Pagoda, commonly known as “Yingxian Wooden Pagoda”. The tower is built on a 4-meter-high platform foundation. The tower is 67.31 meters high and the bottom diameter is 30.27 meters. It is flat octagonal. The entire wooden tower uses 3,000 cubic meters of red pine timber, more than 2,600 tons, and is the highest existing in China. The oldest wooden tower building, together with the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, is also known as the “Three Wonders of the World”.
How did Shakya Pagoda escape the devastation of earthquakes and fire and survive for thousands of years? Why does its “life experience” trouble the world? What treasure is buried in the wooden tower?
The mystery of life experience
”This tower should only exist in the sky, why is it independent in Yingzhou?” Indeed, who built the wooden tower outside Yanmen Pass? Why is such a magnificent building forgotten in a corner of history?
In the face of questions, Ying County people always tell such beautiful stories. Legend has it that Zuluban’s sister, the craftsman, is an embroiderer with an extraordinary craftsmanship. One day she proposed to compete with her brother in crafts. She said: “Brother, I can make 12 pairs of embroidered shoes in one night. If you can build a 12-story wooden tower in one night, even if your craftsmanship is high.” So the brothers and sisters tried to compete. Just after the third shift, the 12 pairs of embroidered shoes made by my sister, only one pair of shoes was left unchecked. She felt that she was determined to win, so she secretly inquired about her brother’s falsehood. She went out and saw that a 12-story wooden pagoda had risen from the ground. It was said that the huge pagoda was overwhelming the land master yelling: “I can’t stand it!” Lu Ban saw that the pagoda was sinking downwards. Raising his hand and pushing it, he divided the tower into two parts. The upper part was photographed by him in the area of Inner Mongolia today. The remaining part slowly drilled out of the ground and became the current Sakyamuni Tower.
In addition, some people believe that, as the tallest building outside Yanmen Pass, Yingzhou Sakyamuni Tower, which is located in a strategically important place, also plays a role of “feeding the enemy tower”.
Over the years, there have been divergent opinions on the history of the Sakyamuni Pagoda. Some people believe that the tower was built in the 15th year of the Northern Wei Dynasty Taihe, and others believe that it was built in the Tianfu Nianwen of the Later Jin Dynasty. However, given the fact that the available data is very poor, for thousands of years, the history of the wooden tower It has always been a mystery.
Don’t fall in a thousand years
Under the ravages of natural and man-made disasters, countless glorious palaces were wiped out in ashes, but Sakyamuni survived all kinds of disasters and survived thousands of years.
According to historical records, in April of the 9th year of Yuan Dade (1305), there was a strong earthquake on Datong Road, with sound like thunder, spreading to the wooden pagoda. At the time of Emperor Yuanshun, the Great Earthquake in Yingzhou on the 7th day, all the buildings beside the tower collapsed, but the wooden tower stood still… Even more amazing is that in the warlord melee that occurred in 1926, the tower of Sakyamuni was shot by more than 200 The bullet marks are visible so far, but it still hasn’t hurt it. When Yingxian was liberated in 1948, 12 shells hit Shakya Pagoda again, and the wooden tower stood proudly.
Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Engineering Ye Keming and Jiang Huancheng believe that the first reason to ensure that the Sakyamuni Tower will not fall for a thousand years is that its structural design is very delicate. From the structural point of view, the wooden tower adopts two internal and external octagonal shapes. The plane of the wooden tower is divided into two parts, an inner and an outer groove. Between the inner and outer grooves, there are ground burdens, fences, poppers, beams, and beams. They are connected longitudinally and horizontally to form a rigid double-layer barrel structure. In this way, the lodging resistance of the wooden tower is greatly enhanced.
The dark layer design of Sakyamuni is also extremely ingenious. There is a dark layer between every two layers, and these dark layers actually function as a solid structural layer. At the same time, in the process of reinforcement in the past dynasties, many chord and meridional diagonal braces were scientifically added in the dark layer to form a modern frame structure. This structural layer has good mechanical properties, which effectively improves the bending, shear and earthquake resistance of the tower body, thus creating the extraordinary stability of the Sakyamuni Tower.
Sakyamuni’s use of Dou Gong is also very reasonable. There are 54 types of bucket arches designed inside and outside the wooden tower. Each type of bucket arch has a certain combination of different shapes and scientific rigor. The beams, columns and arches are organically integrated into a whole. Moreover, the bucket arches are not rigidly connected, so they are exposed to strong winds. When horizontal forces such as earthquakes and earthquakes act, a certain amount of displacement and friction occurs between the woods, which can absorb and lose part of the energy, which plays a role in adjusting deformation.
In addition, the base soil of Sakyamuni is mainly composed of clay and sand. The engineering geological conditions are very good, and its bearing capacity is much greater than the load given by the wooden tower. Therefore, until now, there is still no need to worry about the wooden tower dumping due to the “bottom empty” Possible. Thousands of Ma Yans live on the tower. These Ma Yans feed on the moths on the wooden tower and have played the role of “guarding the gods” for thousands of years.
For wooden buildings, “fire” has always been its greatest enemy. According to historical records, China’s first pagoda, the wooden pagoda of Baima Temple in Luoyang, was burned after only a few decades of existence; and the wooden pagoda of Yongning Temple in Luoyang was struck by lightning and destroyed by fire after only 15 years of existence. The sound shakes the capital, and the fire will not go out for three days.”
How can the Sakyamuni Tower standing in the dry land outside the Great Wall not be invaded by fire and water?
There has always been a saying among the people in Yingxian County that there are three treasures in the Sakyamuni Pagoda-the fire avoiding bead, the water avoiding bead and the dust avoiding bead. These three precious orbs are placed on the most noble part of the statue of Sakyamuni. There is a Buddha’s light inside, the wooden tower can be fireproof, waterproof and dustproof by itself.
It is people’s good wish for the Buddha to shelter the wooden pagoda. In fact, people should thank the designers and builders of the wooden pagoda. They are the “mysterious powers” that survived the wooden pagoda. It turned out that on the top of the wooden pagoda there was a pagoda more than ten meters high, all of which were made of metal, including covered bowls, phase wheels, exposed discs, orbs, crescents, etc., with an iron shaft inserted into the beam frame in the center, and 8 large irons. The chain is tightly tied. Experts said that this structure is similar to a typical umbrella-shaped lightning arrester, which can protect the wooden tower from lightning strikes. At the same time, some studies have found that the probability of lightning strikes against objects with better insulation properties is much lower than that of lightning strikes on conductors. In this way, thousands of tons of high-quality wood in the whole body of the wooden tower also invisibly protect itself from lightning strikes.
In addition, the stone base of the wooden tower more than 4 meters high can greatly alleviate the huge impact of the summer flood, so that the flood will lose its temper under the tower. Of course, the most important thing is the careful care and maintenance of the tower guards in the past, which made the wooden tower “invasive” for thousands of years.
The mystery of the treasure
In Yingxian County, people say that there are magical treasures hidden in the Sakyamuni Pagoda. These treasures have a certain magical power to protect the wooden pagoda and the local people. In 1974, under the auspices of Qi Yingtao, an expert on ancient construction from the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, when inspecting the dilapidated conditions of the wooden pagoda statues from top to bottom and studying protection measures, they accidentally discovered a large number of secrets from the four-story main Buddha statue. When these secret collections and the previous silver boxes were sent to Beijing for identification, the truth shocked the world.
What was discovered this time is a group of extremely precious Liao Dynasty cultural relics, especially the color printing of Liao engraving, which can be said to fill a gap in the history of Chinese printing. There are many scriptures in this batch of cultural relics. There are manuscripts and woodblock prints of the Liao Dynasty. Some scriptures are more than 30 meters long. They are rare in China and provide valuable materials for studying the politics, economy and culture of the Liao Dynasty.