寺院与高僧

如来寺俗称“蚂蚱庙”,位于江苏省海安县黄海之滨,座落在老坝港滨海新区南首。
相传北宋天圣(公元1023年-1032年)年初,任职过泰州西溪(今江苏省东台市附近)盐仓监的范仲淹(989年-1052年苏州吴县,今江苏苏州人),曾为修筑捍海堤堰造福一方多次来勘察。他见沿海地形复杂,潮水涨落不断,多年失修的海堤,已经坍圮不堪,失去了屏障的作用,建议在通州、泰州、楚州、海州沿海重修一道坚固的捍海堤堰,一时难于确定堰址,便施用妙策:令人将谷糠遍撒滩涂,待潮水退去后,再以谷糠漂浮的痕迹定作揠堤的基点。然随海浪翻捲,落潮时忽见有一尊蓝面金身,手执葫芦的神像冲飘至此,当地百姓深感范公恩德,亦有信众舍宅建庙之善举。渔民们遂抬像进庙,供起了这位以治理海潮,驱赶蝗虫,护佑一方风调雨顺为已任的民间神——蜡(蚂蚱),这个民宅就叫“蚂蚱庙”。缘此,范公才得顺利修成了绵延数百里的悠远长堤,便凝然横亘在黄海滩头,惠及民生的捍海堤堰后来叫做“范公堤”。
光绪早年,“蚂蚱庙”改名为如来寺,供奉三世如来佛像。四大寮口一应俱全,常住僧人数百名。后几经战乱,寺庙被毁坏殆尽。
二十一世纪初,如来寺第十四代传人本德老和尚悲心深广,以八旬高龄忧悯祖庭遭兵劫毁去,而立愿重光。蒙诸佛加被,龙天庇佑,藉善德贤护,因缘和合,于2006年5月(农历四月初八日)经政府批准,异地启工重建。现今如来寺占地面积十八亩,建有牌楼大雄宝殿、天王殿、龙王殿、财神殿、报恩堂、观音殿,以及东西厢房、石坊、碑亭等相配套设施……错落有致,伽蓝生辉,殿宇辉煌,佛像庄严,建筑面积4000多平方米。整体面积40亩。二零零九年农历四月十五日举行全堂佛像开光暨方丈升座庆典,海众安合,法幢高树。
2010年4月(农历二月廿一日),本德老和尚德臻至善,戒如冰雪,行愿已满,度生缘尽,示寂于普陀山,世寿八十九,戒腊六十七夏。七日后荼毗,得晶莹璀璨之彩色舍利千余枚,世所稀有,信众共赞。为纪念本老之功勋,修建了“报恩堂”。
自佛像开光以来,每年修设各种法会,祈祷世界和平,国泰民安,风调雨顺;团结七众弟子,广结善缘,弘扬大乘佛法。经过近几年多时间的努力,终于将这一历经沧桑的古寺重建成目前在苏中地区仍具相当规模的和谐平安宗教场所,成为一方弘扬佛法、传播文化、旅游观光的胜地!使国家宗教政策得以贯彻落实,广大宗教界人士和佛教信徒的宗教信仰自由得到保障。
Rulai Temple is commonly known as the Wax Temple. Situated on the coastline of the Yellow Sea, Rulai Temple nestles in the south of Binhai New District, Laobagang, Anhai, Jiangsu Province.
Legend has it that in the first year of Tiansheng in the North Song Dynasty (1023-1032 A.D), in order to build a burrock for public benefits, Fan Zhongyan (989 A.D born in Wu County, Suzhou-1052 A.D), who was at that time responsible for the salt storage in Xixi, Taizhou (somewhere near Dongtai, Suzhou today), had came here to investigate for several times. After investigation, he discovered the topography along the sea was complex, the tides were changeable and the dame had worn out after long years and was not able to function any more. So he suggested to rebuild a strong burrock along the seashore of Tongzhou, Taizhou, Chuzhou and Haizhou. The base place of the burrock was hard to decide for a minute, but Fan soon came up with a great idea. He asked people to scatter chaff on the seashore and when the tide subsided, the floating chaff would leave a mark on the seashore based on which to build the burrock. To people’s astonishment, along with the tide came a blue-face golden statue holding a gourd. The local villagers were very grateful to Fan’s kindness. And, some follower even donated his own house to build a temple Soon the statue-Wax-was worshiped inside as a local deity who was believed to be able to control the tides and bless good climate. The house was accordingly called the Wax Temple. Fan finally finished the burrock that stretches over hundreds of miles along the Yellow Sea. The burrock that protects the people was later named “Fan Gong Burrock”. In the beginning years of Guangxu in the Qing Dynasty, name of the temple was changed into “Rulai Temple” and the Trinity of Buddhas was enshrined. The four basic building were established and had once housed several hundred monks. However, years of wars have worn out the splendor of the temple.
Around the turn of the 21st century, the fourteenth successor of Rulai Temple, Bende, who was merciful and was more than 80 years old at that time, determined to rebuild the temple. With blessing from the buddhas, the Heaven, the good virtues and Karma, the rebuilding was approved by the government in May, 2006 (eighth of lunar April) and soon started at the newly-picked location. Today, Rulai Temple occupies an area of 12,000 square meters and includes establishment such as Mahavira Hall, Heavenly King Hall, Dragon King Hall, Cai Shen Hall, Bao’en Hall, Avalokitesvara Hall, Monks’ Dorm, the Stone Mill, the Stele Pavilion and etc. These establishments are well placed. Sangharama is in its prime. The halls are magnificent and the statues are sublime. These establishments utilize an architectural area of 4,000 square meters. On the fifteenth of lunar April, 2009, the consecration ceremony for the buddhas and the inauguration celebration for the Master was held by followers from home and abroad. Ritual implements were towering high into the sky.
Monk Bende had great virtues and had completed his life goals. He died in April, 2010 (the first of lunar February) in Mount Putuo at the age of 89. He had been in monkhood for 67 years. After cremation seven days later, he turned into more than a thousand pieces of colorful relics, which is very valuable and makes the followers pride. Bao’en Hall was established accordingly to commemorate his great achievement.
Ever since the consecration, Rulai temple has staged many great tonsure rituals and lantern rituals under the management of Master Weicheng. Meanwhile, the temple has also provided assistance to the government in the events such as the Fishing Festival of South Yellow Sea and the Laver Festival. These successful experience has enhanced the civil construction of the temple and has inspired followers to advocate Mahavira Buddhism, seek potential followers and strive to build a harmonious religion place. Rulai Temple has become a resort for Buddhism, cultural diffusion and sightseeing.