Changzhou Tianning Temple
The thousand-year-old ancient temple, Tianning Temple, is grandly based outside the East Gate of Changzhou City. It overlooks the world famous Jing-Hang Grand Canal in the front and lies at the back of the Red Plum Park, the first largest park in Changzhou. It is the largest-scale and most intact thousand-year-old ancient temple existent in Changzhou. It is featured by five larges, namely “large hall, large Buddha statue, large bell, large drum and large treasure tripod”, and reputed as “the first jungle in the southeast”.
There are multitudes of believers making pilgrimage to the Buddha and tourists taking a tour around the temple all the day around. The main buildings of the Tianning Temple include eight halls, twenty five halls, twenty four towers, three rooms and two pavilions, which cover a total area of more than 110 mu. The Heavenly King Palace is one of the few splendid halls that can be found all over the country. Below the eaves hangs the large tablet inscribed with the three large glittering characters Heavenly King Palace by Zhao Puchu, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), president of the Chinese Buddhist Association, a famous modern calligrapher. In the Arhat Hall, there are five hundred Arhats ('saints' or sages who have fully realized for themselves the Buddhist Doctrine) who are lifelike with grand golden bodies and varied expressions. The Precious Hall of the Great Hero is the largest Buddhist hall in the whole temple. There stand sculptures of three Buddha, who are popularly called Three World Buddha, namely, Shakyamuni Buddha in the center, Medicine Buddha Bhaishajyaguru from the East land and Amitabha Buddha from the West Pure Land. On both sides of the wall are embedded with 518 stone sculptures of Arhats, which have extraordinarily high artistic level and is regarded as a treasure of the temple.