Situated about 10 km north of the county seat of Fufeng inBaoji city, Shanxi province, 118 km west of Xi’an , Famen Temple is a famous Buddhist temple which holds the genuine relics of Gautama Buddha (Sakyamuni). Patronized by a succession of emperors, this temple became one of the four most sacred Buddhist sanctuaries in China. It is said that the temple was first built in the tenth year of Emperor Ming Di's reign (67 A.D.) in the Eastern Han Dynasty, and was once named "Cheng Shi Dao Chang". Later its name was changed to "Famen Temple" by the Tang Emperor Gao Zu (Li Yuan) in 625.
In 631, Emperor Tai Zong (Li Shimin) issued a decree to renovate the temple, and made it subject to none but the imperial court. Thereafter the temple underwent various changes during the succeeding dynasties of Song, Ming, and Qing. It suffered a great deal of damage during the period of the Republic of China (1912 - 1949). Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, however, Famen Temple has received care and protection from the People's Government. At present, the temple has not only been restored to its original state, but has also been expanded on an even grander scale.
The vault underneath the Tang Pagoda for the Genuine Relics of Sakyamuni in Famen Temple was discovered in April 1987. Among the large findings unearthed from the crypt are invaluable treasures of the Tang Dynasty and the only known relics of Sakyamuni's finger bones. This unprecedented discovery ignited great excitement among Buddhists, archaeologists, and tourists all over the world. It was a major event not only in the history of Buddhism, but also in the history of world civilization. Famen Temple was immediately acclaimed as "the ninth wonder of the world".
After liberation, a three-story building in the Tang architectural style was built adjacent to Famen Temple, in order to propagate Chinese ancient culture and exhibit and preserve the excavated treasures and cultural relics. While stressing the theme of Buddhist culture in ancient China, the exhibition also traces the history of Famen Temple. Today Famen Temple has become a sacred place for both Buddhism and tourism. Walking around the temple, the visitors are able to drink in the beauty of numerous scenic spots. At the same time, they will get a deeper understanding of its splendid history and culture. Famen Temple is indeed a bright gem in the treasure house of Chinese historical and cultural relics.