The Lingyin Temple (literally "Temple of Soul's Retreat") stands between Peaks of Feilai and Peaks of Beigao at the northwest ofthe the West Lake Scenic Area, Hangzhou. Lingyin is one of the famous Buddhist temples in the Yangtze River Delta Region and it is praised for its surrounding tranquil environment.
Lingyin Temple is renovated based on the rebuilding during the late Qing Dynasty, the layout of the temple is roughly akin to the style of temple architecture in the Yangtze River Delta.There are the Hall of Heavenly King(天王殿), the Great Buddha’s Hall(大雄宝殿) and the Hall of Medicine Master(药师殿) in a proper order on the axle wire of Lingyin Temple.
The history of Lingyin Temple can be traced back to about 1600 years ago. At that time, an Indian monk Huili came to Hangzhou and was moved by the beautiful hill scenery and good natural environment, he thought that this was the place for living of heavenly spirits, so he built a temple here and called "Soul's Retreat". One day when the Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty came to the Lingyin Temple. He looked at the surroundings of Lingyin, it was cloudy and misty, very peaceful, so he inscribed "Yun Lin Chan Si" (The Zen Temple in the Forest of Clouds). Kangxi's words were engraved on a giant plaque at the gate of the hall of Heavenly King(天王殿) of the Lingyin Temple. During its most flourishing time, the temple had 9 buildings, 18 towers, and 72 halls with 1,300 rooms and more than 3,000 monks. Nowadays the Lingyin Temple is still a popular place for Buddhist followers and travelers at home and abroad.
In the center of the Hall of Heavenly King, a big statue of Maitreya(弥勒佛), the fat Buddha with a friendly smile but wearing a garment that does not cover the breasts, is very eye-catching. Inside of the other niche which has his back to the gate, that is the Cinnamomum camphora statue of Dharma Protector Skanda with a history of more than 700 years. At the two sides of the hall, there are colored sculptures of Four Heavenly Guardians(四大天王or 四大金刚).
The Great Buddha’s Hall(大雄宝殿)
The Great Buddha's Hall is the main hall of Lingyin Temple.A majestic statue is seated in the middle and seems very solemn.He is the founder of Buddhism Sakyamuni, sitting on a giant lotus.The 24.8 m tall Sakyamuni statue is a woodcarving and really worth visiting for it is a precious religion art work.Behind this great statue, there is a sculpture of Buddhism Mountain with 150 magnificent Buddha.
This hall was rebuilt a few years ago, with a statue of Medicine Master and two other sculptures of the Heaven Sons of the Sun and the Moon. On the left side, there is a reconstructed Arhat Hall with 500 Arhats and many Buddhist relics .
In front of the Hall of Heavenly King, there are two stone Dhvajas on the both sides. And two beautiful pagodas which built about 1,100 years ago, are standing on the platforms of the Great Buddha's Hall. Sutras and other valuable Buddhist heritage are collected here too.
The Feilai Feng (The Peak Flown from Afar) which lies near the Lingyin Templeis one of the best attractions in Hangzhou. The peak is an important place for finding the ancient cave art in southern China. Inside these caves, 330 Buddha statues made between the Five Dynasties Period and the Yuan Dynasty, can be found.
Author: Wuhao Posted in 2012
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