South Putuo Temple
The South Putuo Temple is an ancient, famous temple located in Xiamen. The name of the temple is due to its conformity to Bodhisattva and Guanyin and due to its location in south Putuo Mountain which is one of the great four Buddhists fields located in Zhejiang Province’s Zhoushan. The temple is grand and is spread over an area of 25.8 hectares. The building area is that of 21,270 sq meters.
Highlights of the South Putuo Temple
Located on the principle axis are the Buddhist Scripture Garret, Hall of Great Mercy, Precious Hall of the Great Hero and Hall of the Heavenly Kinds. The annexes sit on either sides of this axis such as the Buddhist Institute classrooms, Taixu library, Puzhao Hall, Haihui Hall, Drum and Bell Towers and the corridors.
All the buildings are spread over the mountain slope in a magnificent and solemn atmosphere. The South Putuo Temple faces he sea and is located at the foot of the Wulaofeng. It is a must-see attraction in Xiamen that offers a refreshing experience.
This Buddhist temple was known once as the Puzhao Temple. It was built first during Tang Dynasty and was destroyed later during the warfare in the Ming Dynasty. It was rebuilt and renamed during the reign of Kangxi, a Qing Emperor. The temple is spread over an area of 30,000 sq meters and has four different buildings on its south-north axis.
These buildings include the Pavilion which was built during 1936. Here art works such as ivory scriptures, Burmese Buddha images and Buddhist scriptures are stored. The other buildings include Dabei Hall or the Great Compassion Hall, the Mahavira Hall or Daxiongbaodian and the Devajara Hall or the Heavenly Kings Hall. There are several rooms flanking these main buildings such as the study rooms for the monks, libraries and dormitories.
Devajara Hall- This hall is also known as the Heavenly Kings Hall and is the location of the four ferocious status of the Heavenly Kings. Milefo or Maitreya, the fat Buddha, stands at the center of this hall. With an exposed paunch, bare chest and broad smile, this statue represents the future’s Buddha or the Laughing Buddha as most people know him.
Mahavira Hall: Built in the year 1921, this hall is home to the statues of Trinity of Three Ages which are the Buddha of future Maitreya, Buddha of Past Kasyapa and Buddha of Present Sakyamuni. It is also home to Avolokitesvara which is the Goddess of Mercy or Guanyin Bodhisattva along with the disciples of Avolokitesvara. The beautiful wall murals depict various Indian figures and Buddhist stories.
Dabei Hall: This is an octagonal tower that had been rebuilt in the year 1928. There are four statues inside of Avalokitesvara that are enshrined in the base of a lotus flower. The Bodhisattva has 48 hands stretched out and the arms are crossed on the chest. Every hand features a sacred, miniature eye. On either side of the hall are two planted banyans.
Sutra Keeping Pavilion: This pavilion had been built in the year 1936 and it is home to thousands of art work such as incense burners, bronze bells, wooden sculptures, ivory sculptures, Burmese Buddha images and Buddhist scriptures. The porcelain Avalokitesvara in this pavilion is considered to be highly precious.
The temple serves vegetarian food and is known for the poetic names, fresh taste and unique colors of the dishes which makes it very popular with visitors.