The Longxing Temple is a very well preserved and large scale Buddhist temple and is a very important location in China. The temple is ranked among the top ten most popular Buddhist temples located in China. This temple is spread over an area of 80,000 square meters.
Most of the structures in the temple originated during the Song Dynasty. The layout of the temple that can be currently seen is the Song Dynasty’s legacy.
Highlights of the Longxing Temple
The first monastery had been built in the Sui Dynasty in 586 AD. This monastery was originally named as the Longcang monastery. Longcangsi Stele is the oldest stelae located on the monastery’s grounds and it dates back to the year the monastery had been founded. Most of it had been reconstructed in the Song Dynasty. It is an important cultural relic that is protected by the government. The construction of the temple began in Kaihuang’s sixth year of reign during the Sui Dynasty. Emperors from various dynasties paid a visit to this temple, offering joss sticks to Buddha statues and leaving behind notes or poems on the temple’s steles.
The main features
The monastery complex follows a common pattern and has a central axis. Along this axis are focal points and various buildings. The Hall of Heavenly Kings is the first building. The Main Hall is located at its opposite end. It is a wooden structure standing 33 meters tall and it has a Guan Yin’s bronze statue. The statue had been built during the Song Dynasty’s early years and is more than 20 meters tall. There is a stair case inside the hall which leads visitors around the bronze so it can be seen from every angle.
The rotating library
The Longxing Temple is also home to a unique wooden architecture piece dating back to the Song Dynasty. This is the Pavilion of Rotating Library, restored during the 20th century. This pavilion has rotating bookshelf that had been previously used for storing Buddhist sutras and holy texts. The rotating case repository had been made in 12th century. It is currently the oldest rotating repository to be found in the world right now.
Longxing Temple has several buildings such as the Dabei Pavilioin, Jietan Altar, Mituo Hall, Moni Hall and Tianwang Hall. All of these are laid out evenly on the central axis. The Dabei Pavilion is the temple’s key building and has a large and very popular statue of Dabei Buddha. This bronze statue is 21 meters high and has 42 arms. The Moni Hall is also very popular for its plan and structure which is much like a cross and the only one from the Song Dynasty in this shape. The colorful statue of Guanyin Buddha and the frescos inside this hall are invaluable.
The Longxing Temple has around 40 steles and the Longchang Stele is the most popular. The text’s calligraphy on this stele has major importance in the Chinese calligraphy history. It is considered to be a masterpiece and reflects the transition in the calligraphy style that existed earlier during the other dynasties. The characters that can be seen on this stele are orderly, square and look very simple but beautiful.