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The Upper Tianzhusi Temple is one of the three portions of the Tianzhusi Temple. As can be seen from its name, this is the upper portion, while the Lower Tianzhusi Temple and the middle portion are also considered as different scenic spots. The Upper Tianzhusi, however, is hailed as the most prosperous among all three portions.
This part of the temple was built in 939 AD and is also called the Faxi Temple, a name it acquired during the Qing Dynasty, while the other parts are called Fajing Temple. It is currently the site of the Avalokitesvara statue, which is why the temple is considered as one of the two most important worship sites for Avalokitesvara. Legend also has it that the temple is where the white-robed being was also born.
The Tianzhu Three Temples are located in Tianzhu Hill, which is encompassed by the Hangzhou West Lake scenic area. Also the newest portion among the three, the Faxi Temple is the best preserved; despite being the youngest of the three temples, however, it still has a long history of over 1000 years behind it. As expected, the three temples resemble one another closely, just as they also share the same significance in Buddhism. In the olden times, and up until now, the three temples make up what is believed to be the ‘Buddhist Heaven of Tianzhu’.
The Faxi Temple has already been restored after it suffered devastation during the Cultural Revolution.
Things to do
When visiting the Faxi or Upper Tianzhusi Temple, guests are often fascinated by the solemnity that surrounds the place. The temple is used as a worshipping site up until now, and several monks even live there for solitude. Also, since the temple is perched on a hill, guests will be treated with the sight of the Tianzhu mountains. Since the temple is hidden deeply in the Tianzhu valley, the act of worshipping in the midst of the mountains is one that is unmatched for its solemnity and solitude.
While there, guests can look through its rooms and halls, which include:
• Heavenly King Hall
• Yuantong Hall
• The Grand Hall of the Great Sage
• The Dining Room
• The Guest Room
• The Temple Gate with the status of five-hundred arhats
One of the mountains is called the Baiyun Peak, on the foot of which the Upper Tianzhusi Temple can be found. The front of the temple is actually extended from the peak. The Baiyun Peak offers a great view as it is covered by white clouds the whole year through. The hill, however, is used as a plantation for tea, which is called the Bao Yun or ‘Treasured Cloud’. Guests should take time to try the famous tea before they leave the temple.
There are many nearby attractions in the area as well. After taking a tour of the Upper Tianzhusi Temple, guests can visit the dragon well, the Langdang Peak, and the Yu ang, a ridge of bamboo groves found between Baiyun Peak and the other nearby Zhongying Peak. Yu Gang, also known as the Ridge of Lord Yu, is another famous scenic spot in Hangzhou. Also, once visitors get to the Langdang Peak, they will have access to Wuyun Hill, which is also worth visiting.
The Tianzhu Hill itself holds a significant cultural role, as the theory of Buddhism is deeply rooted in its beautiful surroundings. In fact, according to Buddhist lore, the front of the three temples are named after the great masters of Buddhism. These are Hui Li, Bao Zhang, and Dao Yi, who are believed to have written many great poems that are relevant to the Buddhist faith.