05-01-2007 10:12

More than 800 Buddhist monks and devotees have taken part in a religious ceremony to inaugurate China's highest pagoda. Tianning Temple's pagoda is a new landmark for Changzhou city in the east of Jiangsu Province.

The 13-storey Tianning Pagoda measures almost 154 meters, making it the highest nationwide. Carefully crafted by skilled artisans, the pagoda boasts a pinnacle made of gold, a roof of bronze tiles and a body covered with jade blocks and fine wood.

Tianning Temple dates back a thousand years to the days of the Tang Dynasty. Centuries ago, the temple had a pagoda, but it was destroyed by warfare.

Kuo Hui, deputy head monk of Tianning Temple, said "From a long time ago, whenever there is a temple, there has to be a pagoda. Tianning Temple had a pagoda in the past, but it was destroyed by war. We deeply regretted this. So we decided to rebuild the pagoda to inherit the fine traditions of Buddhism."

The Tianning Pagoda had the blessings of the local government as well as the official Buddhist Association of China when it was first proposed in 2001.

Wang Weicheng, mayor of Changzhou, said "China has reformed and opened up, and our economy is developing very quickly, so the living standards of our people are also getting better. The development of religion is closely linked to the development of our economy. If our economy is developing well, religion will also develop at a fast pace."

For devotees, Buddhism is a simple way of life and advocates peace and harmony.

Spectator Mr. Zhou said "The world today is very chaotic. There is war in Iraq and there is war in Afghanistan. Our world is not peaceful today. So Buddhism, Christianity and Chinese Taoism and Confucianism are advocates of peace and harmony."

The Tianning Pagoda cost more than 100 million yuan. Temple officials say donations of money and artifacts for the pagoda have come from all over China as well as from overseas Chinese.


Editor:Du Xiaodan