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Wanfuge

--Ten-Thousand-Happiness Pavilion

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Ten Thousand-Happiness pavilion (Wanfuge in Chinese ) is also called the Tower of the Great Buddha. In the center of the building is a huge statue of maitreya, Buddha of the future, carved out of a single trunk of white sandawood with a total cost of 80,000 taels of silver (2,500 kiloes of silver) an entry in the Guinness book of world Records. It is 26 metres high, 18 metres above the ground and 8 metres under the ground, and 8 meters in diameter. It was a gift for Emperor Qianlong from the Seventh Dalai Lama.

Emperor Qianlong felt that the area at the rear of the lamasery was too bare and planned to build a high tower as a protective screen, but it was very difficult to find a sandalwood tree of such size. The Tibetan envoy heard this in Beijing and told the Seventh Dalai Lama about it. Shortly afterwards, he sent people to look for a huge tree. Finally he found one in Tibet and sent it here as a gift to the Emperor to express his thanks because emperor Qianlong had sent troops to Tibet to put down a rebellion and turn back the power to the Seventh Dalai lama. It took three years to ship this huge tree from the banks of the Yangtze River, through the Grand Canal and up to Beijing and another three years for carving and erection. The temple was converted into a lamasery in 1744, but this part was not completed until 1750. Behind the Great Buddha, there are ten thousand small Buddhas on three storeys. Hence the name, Ten-thousand-Happiness Pavilion.

First refurbished in 1953, the temple was again restored in 1978, and opened to the public in 1981. The latest effort, which started in 1992, focused on the renewal of the Giant Buddhist Maitreya and was completed in October 1993. The two-year facelift cost more than 500,00 yuan (87,719) state funds most of which was spent n coating the statue with 2.5 kilos of gold foil. According to the Guinness Book of world Records, the Maitreya is the tallest and biggest in the world today.

The Hall of Boundless Happiness is the biggest building in the Lama Temple of Peace and Harmony flanked by the Hall of Everlasting Health and the Hall of Peace. They are connected by a corridor of the Suspension Hall, which form a cluster of majestic dignified buildings. In the Hall of the Boundless Happiness, stands a famous huge statue of Buddha, 26 meters high carved out of a whole piece of sandalwood; it is the biggest wood-carving Buddha in the world.


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