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Hall of Five Hundred Arhats


The Hall of Five Hundred Arhats is located to the west of the Grand Hall. As currently the largest hall of Arhats in China, it was built in late 1990s, with a total area of 3116 square meters and a height of 25 meters. Different from past floor plans shaped like Chinese characters “Tian”(), “Hui”(), “Ri”(), “Gong”() and so on, the floor plan of the Hall of Five Hundred Arhats was designed into the pattern of a Buddhist swastika. Imitating the exterior of the Qing Dynasty architecture, the Hall of Five Hundred Arhats was constructed into a double-eaved structure, with overhanging roof and upturned eaves, looking quite magnificent.

The hall houses a total of 500 bronze seated statues of Arhats, all cast in American tin bronze. Each statue is 1.7 meters in height, 1.3 meters in width, and about 2000 catties (1 ton) in weight. Their light-bronze-colored body parts are carved into various unique and vivid postures with smooth lines. At the center of the hall stands the “Bronze Hall of Four Great Mountains” housing four statues of Bodhisattvas. They represent four different virtues in Buddhism: Manjusri Bodhisattva of Mount Wutai is the symbol of great wisdom; Samantabhadra Bodhisattva of Mount E’mei is the exemplar of great practice, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva of Mount Putuo represents great compassion, Ksitigahba Buddhisattva of Mount Jiuhua is the realization of great vow. Carrying solemn expressions, these four statues of Bodhisattvas give off a sense of compassion and serenity. The Bronze Hall is 12.62 meters in height, 7.77 meters long in wingspan and 5 square meters in area. Applying 12 different sophisticated techniques as casting, forging, carving, engraving, inlaying and so on, the Bronze Hall was constructed into an exquisite and magnificent architecture with triple eaves, four facades, stone pillars entwined with dragons and columns with ornamental engraving. As currently the tallest solid bronze structure in the world, the Bronze Hall has already been listed in Guinness Book of World Records. There are other supporting facilities around the Bronze Hall, such as Ju De Pavilion, Tablets of Arhats, Well of Shorea Robusta, Rockery of Buddha’s Palm, ponds, fountains, etc.

As the Buddhist sage in Sravakayana, Arhat, short for Arahant in Sanskrit, is a Buddhist word with threefold meanings: “Killer of thieves”, means nothing can bring vexation on an Arhat; “Worthy of offerings”, means Arhat is supported by celestial devotees; "Without birth", means Arhat will never suffer from transmigration of the soul while in the state of Nirvana. Those 500 Arhats were Buddha’s disciples accompanying him before he entered parinirvana.

The Hall of Five Hundred Arhats has won the provincial award “Qianjiang Cup for High Quality Engineering”, and the municipal award “Westlake Cup for High Quality Engineering”.

 

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