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Hangzhou and Buddhism 2019-08-01

Hangzhou, a renowned tourist destination in eastern China is also a must-visit place for Buddhists all over the world. Buddhism was introduced to Hangzhou during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420) and flourished in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). Most of Hangzhou's Buddhist temples, some dating back more than 1,000 years ago, are hidden in the mountains of the picturesque West Lake and have long been venerated venues for renowned monks to disseminate Buddhist teaching and culture among their believers and the general public.


Lingyin Temple


Lingyin Temple, founded in 326, is the earliest Buddhist site built in the city and which has since given its name to the general area, which is known to locals as Lingyin.

Legend has it that a renowned monk from India, the birthplace of Buddhism, gave himself the Chinese name Huili and paid a visit to Hangzhou in search for future temple sites. As he passed through the Lingyin area he was deeply impressed with the surrounding misty mountains and believed it to be an ideal place for study and meditation. Huili then founded Lingyin Temple, which is still considered today as one of the top 10 Buddhist temples in China and the largest south of the Yangtze River. Huili also created nine other temples of which Lingyin, Lingshun and Yongfu are the most preserved.


Jingci Temple


In the years following Huili, other temples were built by noted Buddhist monks, including the Jingci, Upper Tianzhu, Middle Tianzhu, Lower Tianzhu and Taoguang sites. Located to the south of West Lake and built in 954, Jingci Temple is the second-largest Buddhist temple in Hangzhou.

Peak Flying from Afar


In addition to temples, there is also the Peak Flying from Afar which consists of grottoes with over 380 statues, completed in a period spanning the 10th to 14th century and forever attracting Buddhists from all over the world.


Peak Flying from Afar


In recent years the Hangzhou city government has implemented a large-scale project to renovate the city's major temples and other places of interest. A new Buddhist culture and arts institute was completed in May 2010 and opened to the public in the following September. For Buddhists and for others who are also interested there are a number of programs at the institute, including a range of classes such as Buddhist theory, study of its painting and sculpture, and cultural exchanges.

Where to go:

Lingyin Temple (灵隐寺)

Address: No. 1, Fayun Alley, Lingyin Road, Xihu District, Hangzhou (杭州市西湖区灵隐路法云弄1号)

Tel: 86-571-87968665
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No.188, Fuchun Road, Hangzhou, China
TEL: 86-571-96123
FAX: 86-571-96123
Complain: slw@hz.gov.cn
Consult: slw@hz.gov.cn