More than 1,600 years old, Lingyin Temple is a Buddhist temple situated in the northwest of Hangzhou. Lingyin in Chinese literally means “the soul’s retreat,” so the complex could also be named Temple of Soul’s Retreat. Nestled between Feilai Peak and Beigao Peak, Lingying Temple is one of best known temples south of the Yangtze River.
In the Kingdom of Wuyue (907 – 978 CE), Lingyin Temple reached its highest peak with nine multi-story buildings, 18 pavilions, 72 halls, and inhabited by more than 3,000 Buddhist monks. During the North Song Dynasty (960 – 1127 CE), magnificent Lingyin Temple was considered the most important temple in southern China. Over 1,600 years, the temple has been both damaged and rebuilt for many times. Through two renovations in 1956 and 1975, Lingyin Temple assumed its present scale.
The layout of Lingyin Temple is very similar with other temples in the Jiangnan region. The axis of the temple lines up three main halls: Hall of the Heavenly Kings, Great Hall of the Great Sage and Hall of the Medicine Buddha.
Hall of the Heavenly Kings is the main entrance of the temple. In front of the building hangs a plaque with inscription Yunlin Chan Si (literally meaning “Chan temple of the Clouds and Forest”) by Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty. The main statue enshrined in the hall is that of the Maitreya Buddha. At the back of statue of Maitreya Buddha stands the Skanda Buddha which can be dated back to the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 – 1279). The statues of the Four Heavenly Kings are lined along the left and right side.
Grand Hall of the Great Sage faces Hall of the Heavenly Kings and the two halls are separated by a large courtyard. At the center of the Grand Hall of the Great Sage is a statue of Shakymuni. With the height of 81 feet (24.8 meters), the vivid statue of Shakymuni is a rare Buddhist work of art. At the back is a large screen which features the carved images of 150 Buddhist personalities with the statue of Guanyin in the center.
Hall of Medicine Buddha, as its name suggests, houses the statue of the Medicine Buddha which is also called Bhaisajyaturu.
Admission Fee: 30RMB
Open Time: 7:00-18:00
How to get there: Take Bus No. J17, J18,L7, K807, Y1, Y2 to Lingyin Stop.