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Sakyamuni Pagoda, 04 Mystery of the Hidden Treasure

This is a four-part series of short, 20-minute documentaries about the famous Sakyamuni Pagoda in Ying County, Shangxi Province, China, which is the tallest wooden Pagoda in the world. As I cannot make a playlist out of the films I have had to embed all four of them separately here, with an introduction to each.

The fourth programme in the series tries to discover the treasures that a study of its architecture seemed to hint were hidden in the Pagoda. The first opening came during the disastrous Cultural Revolution (here surprisingly shown as misguided). Many of the treasures in the Pagoda were destroyed during this time, until Premier Zhou-en Lai issued an order for the destruction to stop (which may have been the only thing that stopped the Pagoda itself from being destroyed).

Meanwhile, however, a great many irreplaceable artifacts had been destroyed, including early printed sutras. But it seems that some other things taken away at the time, perhaps to protect them, and were replanted in the Pagoda in later times. They didn't seem so valuable, just old bones and coins. But it turns out they were Buddha Tooth Relics.

About eight years later a failed looting attempt by a local carpenter revealed more relics hidden inside one of the Buddha statues, and this confirmed the theory of the cleverly designed Pagoda, which, when you knew how to read it, was indicating where the treasures were.

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