The Ancient Fahai Cave

    Located on the cliff at the west downside of Cishou Pagoda, the cave is also called Master Pei’s Cave. It is said to be the living place of the monk Fahai, the founder of Jinshan Temple when he was in Jinshan Mountain. Now, there is a statue of Fahai in the cave, and there is a horizontal tablet on the cave door, saying: “Ancient Cave for Fahai”. In the fairy tale of Madame White Snake, Fahai is described as a vicious monk who obstructs and destroys happy marriage of young couple. However, the real Fahai in the history is a eminent monk full of virtues. Fahai, with his family name of Pei, is called Mendicant Monk Pei, he was born in Wenxi of Hedong (nowadays Shanxi). Pei Xiu, his father, is the prime minister of Xuanzong Period of Tang Dynasty and he felt that “accompany the emperor just like accompany a tiger”, any offence to the emperor will result in misery fate. Pei Xiu believed in Buddhism and thought to be a monk would be better than to get riches and honors, thus he sent his son to the temple to be a monk. When Pei Xiu firstly landed on Lushan Mountain in Jiangxi Province, he changed his name to be Fahai, and he studied Buddhism there. Later he moved to Jinshan Temple in Zhenjiang. The temple at that time lay waste and was full of wild grasses and boas. He then found this cave and studied there then the white boa left. His biggest ambition after he arrived at the Temple was to rebuild the temple, and he had once fired one of his fingers to show his ambition. Once day, Fahai was picking earth along the Yangtze River with his monks. They dug out some Yi (ancient unit of weight, equal to 1kg) of gold by accident and they reported to the local governor Li Qi, who then reported to the current emperor and the emperor ordered Li to transfer the gold to Fahai as the cost to repair and rebuild Jinshan Temple. And later the emperor named the mountain and the temple as Jinshan Mountain and Jinshan Temple respectively.

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