The Big Bronze Pot
In the past, there were three big pots in the temple. Among them, one pot was for gruel cooking, one was used to steam bread, the last one was used to stir-fry dishes. The pot you have seen here was for stir-frying dishes, the other pots were gone in history. The pot for stir-frying dishes is 1.85 meter in diameter and 1.1 meter in depth. In three pots, the gruel pot is the largest one with 3.5meters in diameter. It was said that monk cook had to have a ladder down to clean pot. It took sixteen hours to make gruel with 180 kg millet and 800 loads of dry wood for fire. The pot has two peculiarities. One is that the pot can leak the sands out but not millets. Why millets could be kept in pot while sands could be leaked out? The reason is that there was a little bowel with half meter in diameter and 0.3 meter in depth on the bottom of pot. Once the water in pot was boiling, the millets would go upside and the sands would go down into the bowel, so didn’t worry about sands when you take the gruel. The second is that the millets was not necessary being added when there were guest monks for gruel added. There is a popular saying in Beijing’s western area: The gruel pot in Tanzhe Temple, water but not millets was necessary added. Reason is because the pot were so big that if more than dozens of guest monks came, cooks didn’t need to prepare additional meals but to add some water in gruel, and the gruel wouldn’t look like to be thin.The bronze pot we have seen had a pit more than three meters deep, the monk for fire had to went down to the pit by a flight of steps. There is a white marble board carve three characters of Tan Zhe Si up the pit. It was said that an old abbot was worried about that there would be a fire disaster in the temple, so ordered the board hung up on it and let it being burned everyday for luck. It was said that the Abbot’s idea could have the temple away from fire disasters, and constantly remind cooks of danger of fire.