Lingyin Temple

Lingyin Temple (Temple of the soul's retreat) is situated north-west of Hangzhou city and gets its name from its quiet and tranquil location among the trees and hills. Founded in 328A.D. by an Indian monk named Hui Li, it is one of China's most famous and important Buddhist temples. Throughout the centuries it has been destroyed and rebuilt sixteen times. At its biggest during the Five Dynasties Period (907-960) there were 9 buildings, 18 towers, 72 halls with 1,300 rooms and more than 3,000 monks. The temple that stands today dates from the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and was renovated in the 1970's.

Lingyin Temple is built beside the Feilai Feng Peak which you will pass on your way. A number of different areas make up the temple including "The Hall of the Heavenly King", where there is a statue of the fat, bare bellied, laughing Buddha Maitreya. "The Hall of the Great Hero" is the temples main and most impressive building containing a huge wooden statue of the Buddha Sakyamuni which is nine meters tall and stands on a ten meter high base. The hall's roof extends to 33.6 meters high and also behind the statue there is a carving of 150 different Buddhas. Another is "The Hall of the Medicine Buddha" which houses a statue of Bhaisajyagura.

The temple contains many Buddhist relics and literature and is an important place for studying the history of Buddhism in China. Lingyin temple is a popular place for both worshippers and tourists and is worth a visit for anyone with an interest in Chinese Buddhism.