Monday, September 22, 2008

Big Bell Temple

The Big Bell Temple is a Buddhist temple located at the Beisanhuan Xilu at Beijing, China.

The Big Bell Temple was built in 1733 during the reign of Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty . The temple's name came after the famous "Yongle" Big Bell that is housed inside the temple, which was cast during the reign of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty . Many music experts, including some from the Chinese Acoustics Institute have found its tone pure, deep and melodious with a sprightly rhythm. Its frequency ranges from 22 to 800 hertz.

Accord to


Baoguo Temple

Baoguo Temple is a Mahayana Buddhist temple located in Jiangbei district, 15km north of Ningbo, in Zhejiang, China. It is famous as the oldest surviving wooden structure in southern China, as the main hall of the present temple dates back to 1013 in the Northern Song dynasty.


The temple was originally named Lingshan Temple , but was later renamed to Baoguo Temple in 880, during the . The main hall was rebuilt in 1013, during the Northern Song dynasty, and is one of the oldest and most well preserved wooden constructions in China. The temple also contains columns of the Tang dynasty, a hall dating from the , and two halls and towers of the .

Today the temple is a tourist attraction, and many of its rooms and halls are used to house various exhibitions, including:
*Guanyin statues
* bronzes
*Ningbo furniture
*Traditional Chinese wedding attire
*Carved stone screens
*Miscellaneous architectural pieces from the temple compound
*Famous places around China


The temple can be accessed by bus 232 from Ningbo city. The ride takes approximately 35 minutes.


Standard tickets are 12 yuan per person. Guides are available for an additional fee.

Bailin Temple (Beijing)

The Bailin Temple , also known as the "Monastery of the Cypress Grove", is a temple and monastery located in Beijing, China.


Imperial Era

Construction of the Bailin Temple started in 1347, under the reign of of the Yuan dynasty, in an open tract of land east of the . The temple, the largest of its kind in the capital of , was occupied by the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism, which enjoyed great power under the Mongol emperors. The fortunes of the temple, though, were short-lived: in 1355 the Sakya were overthrown in Tibet by local warlords, and the Yuan dynasty would suffer the same fate only 13 years later: in 1368 Dadu was taken by a rebel army and pillaged.

The structure of the Bailin Temple mostly survived the event but the monastery fell into disrepair in the following decades, even though since 1421 the Ming dynasty moved the capital back to the North, naming it Beijing. Only in 1447 Emperor Zhengtong ordered a renovation of the monastery, and in the following years a small square developed in front of the temple’s main gate.

In 1644 Beijing was again taken by a rebel army, and shortly afterwards occupied by the Manchu. Apparently the Bailin Temple did not suffer heavy consequences from the wars. In 1694 a palace for prince Yong, fourteenth son of Emperor Kangxi, was built directly west of the temple: the prestige of the new neighbour resulted in the gift of a monumental bell and in a complete renovation of the monastery , on occasion of the 60th birthday of Kangxi. The works of renovation were directly supervised by prince Yong himself who, in 1722, succeeded his father on the Imperial Throne as Yongzheng. That same year, the new monarch donated part of his former palace to Tibetan lamas of the Gelug school, which would transform it, in a few decades, into the largest Tibetan temple outside Tibet, the .

The rise of such monastery resulted into a partial oblivion for Bailin Temple which, by the end of the dynasty, had become dependent on its western counterpart. However, the generosity of Qing Emperors and the wealth of the Gelug school made sure that temple was kept in good repair. In 1758, Emperor Qianlong ordered a lavish renovation of the buildings, part of his great project to shape Beijing into a monument to his power.

Like the Yonghegong Lamasery, Bailin Temple was not touched by the pillages of 1860 by and of 1900 by the Eight-Nation Alliance, because of the superstitious fear that Tibetan Buddhism inspired to the invaders.

Warlords Period

However, as the Empire came to an end in 1911 and the capital was moved to Nanjing, Tibetan Buddhism came to be seen as a feudal and non-Han religion and the temples entered into decadence.

According to the property register of the temple in 1931, the abbot was Master Taiyuan. The address for the temple was not 1 Xilou Hutong, but 4 Bailin Temple Hutong. The register records that there were more than 100 Buddhist statues, 18 cypress trees, one pine tree, a pair of steles, one stone spirit wall, one pair of stone lions.

In 1931, the Abbot Taiyuan of Bailin Temple was rather famous in Beijing, and was very active in the upper class circles. According to a memoir by Master Tanxu, Abbot Taiyuan was from northeast China: prior to his conversion, his secular name was Zhang Jiechen. His family was rather wealthy, however after his father died, the wealth was quickly trifled away by family members. In 1924, Zhang Jiechen became a monk under Master Tanxu in Harbin.

In 1925, Taiyuan came to Beijing. In the following year, the warlord Zhang Zuolin became the new leader of the Northern Warlords Government of China. Since Taiyuan came from the same area as Zhang, he soon became friends with Zhang’s Chief of Staff and thus was appointed abbot of Bailin Temple. In 1929, Master Taiyuan and a few Buddhist believers established a Buddhist academy inside the temple grounds. The next year, under the efforts of Master Taixu, the academy was reorganized on a larger scale. However, in 1931, the had a serious effect on the financial resources of the temple. In 1932, it was announced that the academy was to close. Since Taiyuan had always lived a rather luxurious life, he eventually decided he could not survive in Beijing anymore and moved to Sichuan, where he later died. Although Taiyuan was active in Beijing for only five or six years, his role in establishing the academy played a major part in advancing the study of Buddhism in Beijing.

People's Republic of China

The phenomenon of decadence aggravated after the in 1949. In , the temples were attacked by , who evacuated the lamas from the area and reorganised the buildings, including dormitories, stables, warehouses and shrines outside the main temples, assigning them to danwei. After this period several brick structures were built inside Bailin Temple’s walls and the screenwall was linked to the main walls to create a closed courtyard; the Drum and Bell Towers were torn down, and the stone lions, the Buddhist statues and two stone tablets displaying the rules to observe inside the temple disappeared. After the Tangshan earthquake , the flow of refugees dramatically increased density in and around the temple.

In 1988 Bailin Temple was designated by the government to host the Cadre Academy of the Ministry of Culture/Central Academy of Cultural Administration and the Beijing Historical Site Preservation Bureau, in addition to other private and public companies’ offices. In 1992 the government funded a renovation of the temple, which restored the original building but did not touch the new ones. Since 2007, the also established its headquarters in one of the buildings. In Autumn of the same year a public mill in front of the temple has been destroyed, as the road has been levelled for easier traffic.

Architecture and Artwork

The five main structures in the temple compound are laid out on a central axis. Proceeding from the front gate to the rear of the temple, they are as follows: the main gate, the Devaraja Hall , the Hall of Attaining Perfection , the Mahavira Hall and the Vimalakirti Hall or Hall of Bodhisattva Purity .

A horizontally inscribed plaque in the handwriting of Emperor Kangxi which reads "The Everlasting Cypress Grove" hangs on the fa?ade of the Mahavira Hall, while statues of the Buddhas of the are found inside. Behind this hall is the Hall of Vimalakirti, containing seven carved and gilded Buddha images dating from the Ming Dynasty.

To the east of the main hall is an auxiliary hall containing two large bronze bells 2.6 metes tall cast in 1707. Their surfaces were cast with bas-reliefs of coiling dragons and mantra intoned after a person's death in the hope of gaining passage to the Pure Land.

Among the valuable relics in the temple is a complete set of printing blocks for the Tripitaka carved in the early 18th century. The collection has 7,240 volumes with a total of 78,230 separate blocks. Carved of high-grade pear wood, the blocks remain in fine condition today except for some minor cracks. The work of carving took six years to complete and was begun in 1733 during the reign of Emperor Yongzheng. However, fewer than 200 copies of the Tripitaka were printed during the ensuing 300 years, one reason why the blocks remain in excellent condition.

The blocks were originally stored in the Hall of Military Eminence in the Palace Museum, but were later transferred back to the temple. They are presently being cared for under the supervision of the Beijing Library.


The Bailin Temple is located in Dongcheng District, Beijing. The postal address is: ''1 Xilou Hutong, Beixinqiao, Dongcheng District, Beijing'' .
Bailin Temple is normally accessible only to people related to the institutions hosted in it. The gates open to the public on Cultural Heritage Day .


The Badachu , meaning "Eight Great Sites," refers to the eight Buddhist temples and monasteries scattered across the Cuiwei, Pingpo, and Lushi hills in the Shijingshan District, at the foot of Beijing's Western Hills Scenic Area. Located along the outskirts of Beijing, it was restored during the 1980s and has since become a famous tourist destination.

There are a total of eight former Buddhist temples and monasteries in Badachu Park. These are the Temple of Eternal Peace , the Temple of Divine Light , Three-hill Nunnery , the Temple of Great Mercy , the Temple of Dragon Spring Nunnery , the Temple of Fragrant World , The Cave of Precious Pearl , and Zhengguo Temple.

Badachu Park is an attractive place to visit all year round. It has a pleasant temperate climate, remaining cool in summer and warm in winter. Visitors can stroll from one temple to another, enjoying the beautiful scenery and admiring the arbor and rare ancient trees. Some of these trees have been standing for over 6 centuries, but their roots and branches are still strong and in good shape. In September and October, when the leaves are turning red, crowds of tourists come to climb the mountains. There is a cable-car to the top of the hill.

Miaoying Temple

The Miaoying Temple is a temple on the north side of Fuchengmennei Street in Xicheng District of Beijing. The temple is also sometimes known by the name of "White Dagoba Temple", as in reference to the famous white dagoba situated in the center of the monastery.

There were temples built on the sites since the and dynasties. The temple's famous white dagoba also dates to the Yuan Dynasty. However, the present-building dates to the Ming Dynasty as well as its given name, "Miaoying", meaning "Divine Retribution".

In 1976, the temple and its series of buildings were seriously damaged by the Tangshan earthquake. The top of stupa tilted to one side, and the bricks and mortar supporting the stupa crumbled off, and many relics were broken.

In 1978, the Beijing Department of Cultural Relics undertook the task of repairing and renovating the temple. The courtyards, the four corner-pavilions, the Hall of the Buddhas of the Three Ages, the Hall of the Heavenly Kings in front of the dagoba, the Hall of the Seven Buddhas and the dagoba itself were repaired and renovated.

Lingyan Temple

Lingyan Temple is a located from Tai'an in Changqing , Shandong, China. The temple grounds are situated along the western . The temple has a long recorded history, the notable landmark of the 11th century Pizhi Pagoda tower, and the Thousand Buddha Hall which houses a Ming Dynasty bronze as well as 40 painted clay statues of life-size luohan from the Song Dynasty.


The original temple was established in the Yongxing reign period , during the reign of Fú Jiān of the Former Qin state. Gaining a greater reputation during the Northern Wei , the temple reached its apex of importance during the Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty . There were over 40 different wooden temple halls located at the temple, composing more than 500 monastic rooms. More than 500 lived at Lingyan Temple during its height. Although the wooden halls were all reconstructed during the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty , the stone pedestals at the base of the pillars in the Thousand Buddha Hall are the original work of the Tang and Song eras.

Pagodas and stupas

Lake Manasarovar

Lake Manasarovar or Lake Manasa Sarovar Hindi: ???????? ???; : ?????????????, ''Mapham Yutso''; ) is a fresh-water lake in Tibet Autonomous Region of China 2,000  from Lhasa. To the west of Lake Manasarovar is Lake Rakshastal and towards the north is Mount Kailash, known in Tibetan as ''Khang Rinpoche''.


Manasarovar Lake lies at 4,556  above mean sea level. It is one of the highest fresh-water lakes in the world . Lake Manasarovar is relatively round in shape. The circumference of Manasarovar is 88 , depth is 90 m and it occupies a total area of 320 . The lake freezes in winter and melts only in the spring. It is connected to Lake Rakshastal by the natural Ganga Chhu channel. The Sutlej River, the , the Indus River, and the Karnali River all trace their sources to its close vicinity.

Cultural significance

Like Mount Kailash, Lake Mansarovar is a place of pilgrimage, attracting religious people from India, Tibet and the neighboring countries. Bathing in the Manasa Sarovar and drinking its water is believed to cleanse all sins. Pilgrimage tours are organized regularly, especially from India, the most famous of which is the ''Kailash Mansarovar Yatra'' which takes place every year. Pilgrims come to take ceremonial baths in the cleansing waters of the lake.

According to religion, the lake was first created in the mind of the .
Hence, in Sanskrit it is called "Manas sarovara", which is a combination of the words ''manas'' and ''sarovara'' . The lake, in Hindu mythology, is also supposed to be the summer abode of swans, who are considered as very wise and sacred birds. It is also believed the Devas descend to bathe in the lake between 3 and 5 am the time of the day known as .

s also associate the lake to the legendary lake known as Anavatapta in Sanskrit and Anotatta in Pali, where Queen Maya is believed to have conceived . The lake has a few monasteries on its shores. The most notable of which is the ancient Chiu Gompa Monastery, which has been built right onto a steep hill. It looks as if it has been carved right out of the rock.

The Jains and the Bonpas of Tibet equally revere this spot with great enthusiasm.

Further reading

*Allen, Charles. . ''The Search for Shangri-La: A Journey into Tibetan History''. Little, Brown and Company. Reprint: Abacus, London. 2000. ISBN 0-349-111421.
*"A Tibetan Guide for Pilgrimage to Ti-se and mTsho Ma-pham ." Toni Huber and Tsepak Rigzin. In: ''Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places In Tibetan Culture: A Collection of Essays''. Edited by Toni Huber, pp. 125-153. The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, H.P., India. ISBN 81-86470-22-0.