Elder Li’s Pagoda, also called Lingjiu Pagoda, located next to the Elder Li’s Rock near the entrance of the Longhong Grotto, was built to commemorate the Indian monk, Master Huili, who founded Lingyin Temple.
The abbot of Lingyin Temple, Master Rutong, reconstructed elder Li’s Pagoda in 1590. It is a loft-style solid stone pagoda more than 8 meters high with six sides and seven layers. The first layer is hollow with arches at each of the six sides. At the southern side of the second layer, there is a tablet with the inscription of “Elder Li’s Pagoda,” while at the southeastern side there is a tablet with “The Pagoda Inscription For Master Huili” written by Yu Chunxi in the 16th year of Wanli Period in Ming Dynasty. Another inscription is of “The Six-Character Great Bright Mantra” on the southwestern side. The Diamond Sutra, the name “Bright Pure Land,” and the words “Namo Baocang Sheng Fo” are carved on the third layer. On the fourth layer and above are various Buddha statues and carvings of doors and windows. A gourd-shaped Tasha is found on the top of the pagoda. In addition, there are two stone carvings next to the pogoda, one being a statue of the Buddha and the other being a sculpture of a god with a Vajra in his hand. Both of these statues were built in the Yuan Dynasty with the Chinese characters “Zhi Yuan” inscribed upon them.
Long ago in A.D. 970, there was a pagoda built for Huili, but unfortunately it collapsed in A.D. 1587. “Elder Li” refers to Master Huili, who was a Western Indian monk in the Jin Dynasty and the founder of Lingyin Temple.