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Guiyuan Temple

guiyuan-temple Guiyuan Temple, situated on Cuiwei Street of Hanyang district, is one of the four largest Buddhist temples in Hubei Province as well as an important Buddhist temple in China.

Guiyuan Temple is the leading temple in Wuhan with prosperous public worship, flourishing Buddhist ceremonies, and many pilgrims.

Gui Yuan Temple, an ancient Buddhist temple dating from the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD), is an example of classic architecture commonly seen in southern China.

guiyuan-temple01Inside the temple is a huge hall containing 500 Luohans (also known as arhats or disciples) in different postures, each with a highly individualized facial expression. Some look experienced and astute, others jolly, angry, or complaisant; in other words, the expressions show the full spectrum of human feelings. There is also a large 105-ton Buddha sculpted of white stone--a gift from Burma in 1935. Guiyuan Buddhist Temple (Temple of Original Purity). The Temple, situated on Cuiwei Street, is one of the four largest Buddhist meditation temples in Hubei as well as an important Buddhist temple in China.

The temple was first built in the early Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911) by two monks named Baiguang and Zhufeng on the base of Sunflower Garden, which was owned by a poet. The temple got its name from the Buddhist chant: "When guided by purity, one can go anywhere." Guiyuan Temple has survived through more than 300 hundred years of repeated cycles of prosperity and decline. Above all others, it has always led the other temples in Wuhan with prosperous public worship, flourishing Buddhist ceremony, and welcoming many pilgrims.

The temple was destroyed and rebuilt several times in its history and the present temple dates from the early Republic of China (1912-1949 AD). Covering an area of 46,900 sq. m with a floor space of 20,000 sq. m, the temple mainly consists of Daxiongbaodian Hall, Arhat Hall, and the Sutra Collection Pavilion. Daxiongbaodian Hall is the main hall of the temple. A statue of Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism who preached for 45 years, is enshrined in this hall. On his right is a statue of Mahakasyapa, one of the ten disciples of Sakyamuni. It is said that he was of eminent virtue and is believed to be the first patriarch. After Sakyamuni died, Mahakasyapa carried on his career. On the left is a statue of Ananda. Also one of the ten disciples of Sakyamuni, Ananda was the master of hearing and memory and is believed to be the second patriarch. He followed Sakyamuni for more than 20 years and is attributed with compiling the Buddhist sutras. Arhat Hall was first built in 1850 AD during the reign of Emperor Daoguang of the Qing dynasty; the hall is the most characteristic building of the Temple with its structural layout being in the four-in-one-square shape. In the Arhat Hall are five hundred statues of the disciples of Buddha, sculpted by two artists between 1822 and 1831. Sitting, standing, or reclining, in anger, sadness, or delight, they stimulate people's imaginations. The 500 arhats are the best-preserved and most highly valued artistic group of carvings in China.

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