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The Bronze Bell of the Maha Nunnery

Huang Chengxiang of the Ming Dynasty wrote in a poem about the Maha Nunnery:


"A morning stroke of the bell came from the main gate.

        Red clouds descended onto the green pines.

        My fluffy hair on the temples rested on the pillows.

 I was surprised to have my lunch as my breakfast."


The poem helped to build up a great reputation for the bronze bell of the Maha Nunnery. The bell is 1.60 meters in height, 0.95 meter in rim diameter and 600 kilograms in weight. It was cast with part of the Heart Sutra in the 25th year of the reign of Emperor Jiajing of the Ming Dynasty (1546). The bell was cast for the Maha Nunnery by Zhao Zheng, a eunuch of the Firewood Office and Seal- Holding Office of the Palace of Heavenly Purity. After his death, Zhao Zheng was buried in the Maha Nunnery, about half a kilometer east to the pagoda of the Cishou Si (Temple of Kindness and Longevity) at Balizhuang Village in the west suburbs of Beijing. The stone carvings of the Diamond Sutra made on the Vajra Hall in the east courtyard of the Maha Nunnery remain intact. The bronze bell of the Maha Nunnery is an important cultural relic for the study of the history of eunuchs of the Ming Dynasty and the history of the Maha Nunnery.

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