Some witnessesdescribed the scene happened on that day when the original pagoda collapsed, “Millionsof local people in the city gathered on the ruins, and they were busy inpicking the bricks of the Leifeng pagoda”.
Now firstly let usget familiar with the bricks of Leifeng pagoda. The bricks were all speciallymade. Each one was about 925px long, 450px wide and 150px wide. They can be dividedinto two kinds, one was the bricks with Chinese characters, and the other waswith holes. The holes on the bricks were 250px long and the diameter was 62.5px.The Buddhism scriptures were stored in them and the holes were sealed by wood.The scripture in the hole was block printing with 2.11m long and 166.75px wide,which was regarded as one of the best works in China, as well as the earliestone unearthed in Song dynasty. On the scripture it recorded the name of theking of the wuyue kingdom. Therefore compared with the other scriptures of theTang dynasty in Dunhuang, it was more precious. The scripture一切如来心秘密全身舍利宝箧印陀罗尼经 was the uppermost Buddhism scripture ,sothe bricks with it were very precious. It was said that beforeChina’s Liberation,the price of an intact scripture from the brick was 2000 silver dollars, asky-high price according to the social condition.
These are all thefacts about the bricks and its scripture. But there are many popular folk talesabout the bricks among the local people, which adds much more mysterious colorto the bricks.
One of the folktales was about a family named Li. It was said that they were very wealthy inthe town and they had four daughters but without a son. So they were eager todeliver a boy to carry on the family line and take over the family business. Andthe Mrs Li often went to the temple to pray for a baby boy, and she even preparedto take a statue of Guanyin Goddess and worship it at home. But an elder monktold her that it was inappropriate because there was no family hall forworshipping the Godness. And then he gave her an advice that she could pick a brickof Leifeng Pagoda and it also could help her realize her dream. Mrs Li was notfully convinced that the brick of Leifeng pagoda could give her a baby boy. Butshe still came to it and took a brick. Later Mrs Li really delivered a baby boyin less than a year. When her dream came true, she went to the temple andwanted to appreciate the elder monk. However, she could not find him anymore.This story was spread widely and people thought the elder monk was the immortaland the bricks of Leifeng Pagoda were the magic ones. So more and more peoplecame to pick the bricks and pray for sons and safe life.
There is anothersaying about the hollow bricks, also called gold bricks. Here has a folk taletoo.
It was said therewas a village called Xifeng village. And people in the village depended onsilkworm for their livelihood. But the quality of the silk they made was nothigh, which directly leaded to the low price in the market. So they alwayslived a very hard life. One day a villager named Zhang A’shui met a crazy monkwho dressed sloppily and fell to the ground. Zhang went to help him up. As themonk in order to appreciate him, he gave him a broken brick. And the monk said:“this was a hollow brick of Leifeng pagoda and it was a magic one”. Afterleaving these words the monk disappeared. Then Zhang returned home and put thebrick at home. Since then, his sericulture was very good and his family lived abetter life. The other villagers were all curious and they asked him thereason. He told them that he got a hollow brick from an immortal monk. This wasspread widely in the village. But the villagers made a mistake and they wronglythought it was gold brick. (Because the pronunciation of the Chinese charactersJing and Jin were quite similar.) Therefore many people came to the Leifeng Pagodaand wanted to find the gold. Although they did not find the gold, the qualityof the silk in this village was higher and higher. And life of the villagerswas better than before.
There are manyfolk tales about the bricks, which may the reason why so many people collectthem. In the legend, White Snake Lady,the white snake lady was imprisoned in Leifeng Pagoda by monk Fahai. Thislegend makes the pagoda very popular and famous inChina. And many people take thebricks which may hope the pagoda could collapse and the white snake lady can befree. This shows that Chinese people are kind and resistant.
Now the Leifeng Pagodais reconstructed and it recalls the memory of the beautiful legend. Maybe peoplewill ask the question that is there any original bricks left behind or could weown such magic bricks? Actually, believing that the bricks with long historyand rich culture can bring fortune to people just as the legends told is justlike worshipping the Buddha.