Lingyin Temple, sitting at the foot of Mount Lingyin right next to West Lake, is not only the oldest temple in the city of Hangzhou, but also one of the ten most significant ancient temples of Zen Buddhism in China. Built in the third year of East Jin Dynasty (328 AD), Lingyin Temple now has a history of over 1680 years.
It is said that Huili, an Indian monk travelling in Zhejiang area after going all the way through central China, found a peak among the Lingyin Mountains that resembled one other that he had seen before. He said, "This is a small peak in Lingjiu Mountain in India - when did it arrive here? It looks like a resting place for fairies in the time of the Buddha." At the foot of the peak he built five temples consecutively, namely Lingyin Temple, Lingshan Temple, Lingfeng Temple, Yongfu Temple and Lower Sindhu Temple (or, according to other anecdotes, Lingjiu Temple, Lingyin Temple, Lingshan Temple, Lingfeng Temple and Lingshun Temple). The other four temples were either abolished or rebuilt, and thus no longer exist. During early days when the Lingyin Temple was barely in order, there were only a few monks and attracted only a small number of worshipers. The temple was so desolate in the time of Abbot Zhiyi in South Song Dynasty (420-479AD), that he had time to gather a group of monkeys, named himself the "Father Ape" and played with them throughout the day.
The fortune for Buddhism turned around during the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-589AD) , when aristocrats who believed in Buddhism made great effort to promote this religion and to build temples around the country. Xiao Ziliang, King of South Qi Dynasty and Xiao Yan, Emperor Wu of Liang Dynasty, were both advocates of Buddhism. In the third year of the reign of Emperor Wu of Liang Dynasty (504 AD), Xiao Yan ordered that people should "abandon Taoism and return to Buddhism" and assigned Buddhism to be the state religion, which was followed by the building of a large number of Buddhist venues such as temples and pagodas. For a time there were temples everywhere, and the prosperity of Buddhism was depicted in the early poem 'Southern Dynastie's 480 Temples." In Hangzhou alone there were Tianzhen Temple, Jingkong Temple, Donglin Temple, Jianguo Temple, Faxin Temple, Gushan Temple and so on--many common people even remodelled their homes to temples so as to worship. Lingyin Temple, too, received royal favour from Emperor Wu of Liang Dynasty, expanded on newly granted properties, developed to better shape and attracted an increasing number of worshipers. In the reign of Emperor Wu of North Zhou Dynasty (561-578AD), however, Buddhism was again abolished: monks were forced to secularise, religious instruments and books burnt, and properties of temples confiscated. Lingyin Temple consequently fell back to desertion.
In the second year of the reign of Emperor Wen of Sui Dynasty (602AD), Buddhism was favoured again, and Master Huidan was sent to Hangzhou to spread the influence of Buddhism. In Tang Dynasty, Lingyin Temple was already very well expanded. Lu Yu, the Chinese Sage of Tea, ever wrote one essay Story of Lingyin temple:
During the Changqing period of Tang Dynasty (821-824AD), a monk named Daofeng in Lingyin Temple specialised in Huayan School of Buddhism, and preached both within Lingyin Temple and in other temples in Hangzhou, with numerous followers. Many temples, including Lingyin Temple and Sindhu Temple, joined this school, which was highly popular back then. Unfortunately, following the incident by Emperor of Wu, North Zhou Dynasty, another catastrophe in the history of Buddhism, or the so-called "Disaster of Huichang", happened in the fifth year of the Huichang period of Tang Dynasty (845AD). The Wu Emperor of Tang Dynasty was determined in abolishing and abandoning Buddhism. Lingyin Temple, suffering from its inevitable fate, was destroyed and its monks escaped, its bells went quiet and its joss sticks went cold. It was slightly recovered afterwards, and the worship continued to some extent, but far from its previous scale, until the light of Buddha was shed upon Lingyin Temple again in the reign of Qian Liu, Emperor Wusu of Wuyue (852-932 AD).
In the twelfth year of Tianfu Period in Late Han Dynasty (947AD), Qian Hongchu, King of Wuyue, expanded Lingyin Temple to nine buildings, eighteen pavilions and seventy-two halls. At some point Lingyin Temple hosted as many as three thousand monks, with visitors from foreign countries coming for pilgrimage constantly. In the seventh year of Late Zhou Dynasty(960AD), Qian Hongchu invited the eminent monk Yanshou from Fenghua to be the abbot of Lingyin Temple, built over five hundred new rooms for accommodation of the monks as well as two stone pillars with Buddhist scriptures. In the east of the temple a hundred-chi-high (around 33 metres) pavilion for Meitreya Buddha was built, and in the west the garden of Jetavana, with over one thousand and three hundred halls and chambers in total. Verandas and corridors twisted and turned, connecting the abbot's room from both sides. The rebuilt temple is therefore called New Lingyin Temple. Story of Reconstruction of Monument in Lingyin Temple, an essay by Luo Chuyue (960-992AD), literati in early Song Dynasty, depicted the exquisite architecture, tranquil environment, magnificent internal decoration as well as the solemn appearance of the temple.
In the fourth year of Jingde period (1007 AD) under the reign of Emperor Zhen of Song Dynasty, Lingyin Temple was renamed as Jingde Temple of Mount Lingyin. In the fifth year of Tianxi period (1021 AD), Emperor Zhen named it Lingyin Temple of Jingde. Lingyin Temple was favoured greatly by Song royal families. In the second year of Tiansheng period (1024 AD) under the Emperor Ren, for instancce, Empress Dowager Zhangyi granted 9054 strings of cash from her own savings to the temple for its renovation. In the eighth year of Tiansheng period (1030 AD), she again granted Lingyin Temple over 13,000 mu (ca. 867 square kilometers) fertile farmland in Hangzhou and Xiuzhou (or present day Jiaxing ). In the second year of Jingyou period (1049 AD), Abbot Yanshan moved two stone pillars with Buddhist scriptures, which were inscribed in the second year of Kaibao period (969 AD) and had previously been placed in Fengxian Temple (now abolished), to the front of Hall of Heavenly King in Ling Yin Temple. During the Qingli period, grand counselor Han Qi and deputy grand counselor Ouyang Xiu suggested to the emperor that works by Master Qisong, most notably Chuanfa zhengzong dingzu tu(Chart establishing the patriarchs of Dharma Transmission of the True Lineage, hereafter Chart), Chuanfa zhengzong ji(Record of the Dharma Transmission of the True Lineage, hereafter Record), and Chuanfa zhengzong lun (Critical essay on the Dharma Transmission of the True Lineage, hereafter Critical essay) should be included as the Temple's collection. Emperor Ren agreed, requested that these work to be included into the Chinese Buddhist Canon, and entitled Qisong "Great Master of Religious Clarity". Lingyin Temple at that time was the destiny of pilgrimage for Zen believers across the country. Su Shi, while serving as the major of Hangzhou, frequently visited Lingyin Temple during his spare time to relax and to compose. Not only did he added a "ting" (pavilion) character to complement "lengquan" (cold spring), a previous calligraphy by Bai Juyi (772-846 AD), but also write many poems about Ling Yin Temple.
With Lin'an (old name of Hangzhou) being the national capital city of South Song Dynasty. Emperor Gao and Emperor Wu visited Lingyin Temple frequently to worship, and sometimes to write calligraphy in their spare time. Emperor Li of Song Dynasty, for instance, renamed the Mahavira Hall to Jue Huang Hall, and dedicated calligraphy as a gift to the temple. In an evaluation of Zhejiang temples conducted in Jiading period of Song Dynasty under the reign of Emperor Ning (1208-1224 AD), Jing Shan Temple ranked first, Ling Yin Temple second, followed by Jing Ci Temple, Tian Tong Temple in Ningbo and Ashoka Temple. In February 1167, the third year of Qiandao period under the reign of Emperor Xiao, it was ordered that the temple receive an annual grant of fifty rolls of silk on the eighth of April in lunar calendar, which is the birthday of Buddha.
In the sixth year of Qiandao period (1170 AD), the abbot of Lingyin Temple, Huiyuan, was assigned the name "Fo Hai". In the eighth year (1172 AD), Emperor Xiao of Song Dynasty visited Lingyin temple in person, summoned Huiyuan for conversation, and re-named him "Master Xi ". Huiyuan's sutra collection pavilion was renamed " Forthright Hall", and Huiyuan himself received a stamp with the same name. In the twenty-eighth year of Shaoxing period (1158 AD), following the step of Jingci Temple, grid-shaped halls were built in Lingyin Temple, with 500 statues of Arhat, as referred to in the once-popular expression of "countless Arhat statues of Lingyin Temple" around Hangzhou, Jiaxing and Huzhou areas.
During Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368 AD), which lasted for over ninety years, Lingyin Temple experienced both construction and destruction. In the first year of Zhida period under the reign of Emperor Wu of Yuan dynasty (1308 AD), Juhuang Temple, as named by Emperor Li of Song Dynasty, was falling into decay, and its renovation fell on the responsibility of Lingyin monk Cizhao, Abbot Zhengchuan and Abbot Pingzhang. The construction lasted for four years and was completed in the first year of Huangqing period under the reign of Emperor Ren of Yuan dynasty (1312 AD). In the fourth year of Zhiyuan period under the reign of Emperor Shun of Yuan dynasty (1338 AD), Master ZhuQuan FaLin , initially working in Jingci Temple, moved to Lingyin Temple, leading to flourishing of Buddhism, and received a gold-threaded robe from the imperial government. The temple was destroyed in warfare in the nineteenth year of Zhizheng period under the reign of Emperor Shun of Yuan dynasty (1359 AD), was renovated by Abbot Fuliang in the twenty-third year of Zhizhang period (1363AD), but only partly with the abbot's and monks' chambers rebuilt. Early indicators of the fall of Lingyin Temple started to reveal in early Yuan dynasty.
In the third year of Hongwu periods in Ming dynasty (1370 AD), Zhu Yuanzhang, Emperor Hongwu of Ming, summoned Jianxin, the abbot of Lingyin Temple, to his capital to preach, creating the sensation both in the court and in the commonalty and bringing Jianxin fame and respect. Emperor Hongwu personally enlisted him as one of the ten most prominent monks, awarded him a gold-threaded kasaya, and ordered that he write four volumes of apothegm. Unfortunately he was executed later for his involvement in the case of Hu Weiyong.
In the same year, Lingyin Temple suffered from fire and consequently a great loss. The Juehuang Hall was rebuilt by Abbot Huiming in the seventeenth year of Hongwu period (1384 AD), and the temple renamed as Ling Yin Chan Temple(灵隐禅寺). Due to limitation in funding, however, buddha statues in the hall were not completed until the first year of Yongle period (1403 AD). Fundraising and building of statues of buddha and devaraja as well as preparation for worship instruments were taken charge of the monk Shancai. Juehuang Hall was destroyed by fire again in the fifth year of Xuande period (1430 AD). In the seventh year of the same period (1432 AD), Abbot Tanzuan built wing doors on both sides and the meditation room, succeeded by Abbot Liangjie, who rebuilt Juehuang Hall.
In the eleventh year of Zhengtong period (1446 AD), Xianli, a monk in the temple, built Forthright hall, with the plaque written by Zhang Jizhi(1186-1263 AD). The temple had, by this time, recovered to its old splendor to some extent, with Maitreya Pavilion, Mount Lotus Pavilion, Hall of Thousand Buddha, Yanbing Water Pavilion, Cloud-Sea-Viewing Pavilion, White Cloud Convent, Songyuan Convent being built. In the third year of Long Qing period, (1569AD), the whole Lingyin Temple except Forthright Hall was destroyed by thunder. In the tenth year of Wanli period (1582 AD), Zhang Han, the Minister of Official Personnel Affairs, and Lu Guangzu, Minister of Penalty invited Master Rutong to be the abbot of Lingyin Temple, who started preaching right upon his arrival and attracted a large number of worshipers as well as donations. The reconstruction of Lingyin Temple started in the winter of the eleventh year of Wanli period (1583 AD) and lasted for five years. The major hall, following the fashion of Tang Dynasty, used forty-eight flat-headed columns and sixteen stone pillars, and was named Mahavira Hall instead of Juehuang Hall. In the eighteenth year of Wanli period (1590 AD), Rutong worked with a monk named Fuhui rebuilt Ligong Pagoda, had five hundred statues of Maitreya sculptured in the wall of main hall, and built Triptaka Hall on the old site of Maitreya Pavilion, at the back of which were Forthright Hall and the abbot's chamber. In the twenty-eighth year of Wanli period (1600 AD), Sun Long who is a high official in the government, took charge of the renovation of Lingyin Temple, and set up rotatable bookshelves in Triptaka Hall so as to store and enshrine a collection of sutra pitaka with as many as six hundred and thirty-eight pieces. To the left of the rotatable bookshelves were the canon of Bhaişajya guru vaidūrya prabhārāja with forty-nine volumes, and to the right the canon of Water-Land, with one hundred and twenty-five volumes in total. Ling Yin Temple was struck by misfortune again in the thirteenth year of Chongzhen period (1640 AD). The whole temple was on fire, and was burnt down in entirety except the main hall and Forthright.
Lingyin Temple was in ruin in late Ming and early Qing dynasties. The abbot Master Huotang, knowing that he would not be able to bring Ling Yin Temple back to life on his own, invited a close friend and monk named Jude, who was preaching in Yangzhou area, to come revive this historic temple. In the sixth year of Shunzhi period in Qing dynasty (1649 AD), Jude thoroughly examined previous records on renovation of Lingyin Temple left by Rutong from Ming dynasty, which suggested that 80,000 liang (=4000 kg) silver was spent on the project, which, in the time of Jude, would equal at least 1,000,000 liang (=50,000 kg) silver due to increase in prices of construction materials, resulting in strong objection from his fellow monks. Jude, despite opposing voices, went through eighteen years of untold hardships and eventually gave an entirely new appearance to Lingyin Temple. The ceremony of raising the upper beam of the Mahavira Hall attracted more than 100,000 witnesses. As recorded in History of Lingyin Temple, "[t] here has never been such a spectacular occasion since the temple was built!"
Lingyin Temple, after Jude's renovation, was extraordinarily grand in scale, with seven halls, twelve courtrooms, four pavilions, three buildings, and three chambers.
Apart from above, Hall of Five Hundred Maitreya, which is also called "Grid Hall" and included fifty-four chambers, was built next to the West chan Hall following the fashion of Jingci Temple. According to historical literature, the Buddha statues are smaller in size than those in Jingci Temple, but in better condition. The temple was covered by trees inside out, which had been called "Jade woods)". The whole temple was solemn and magnificent, and was known as "the top in south-east China" at its time. The eighteen years of painstaking effort by Ju De made Lingyin Temple completely renovated and well built. The so-called revival should rather be seen as initiation, according to History of Ling Yin Temple. Wang Yipeng, in his Story of Reconstruction of Monument in Lingyin Temple, spoke highly of Lingyin Temple as "unprecedented among the numerous temples in Qian Tang Region. In comments on the history of Ling Yin Temple from later generations, "Huili is the forefather, Yanshou the ancestor, Jude the revivor". Jude, a reformer, eventually eradicated long-standing malpractices in earlier days of Lingyin Temple and re-energised it by promoting Buddhist traditions after eighteen years of hard work, making Lingyin Temple "the first in southeastern China" at his time.
The next abbot of Lingyin Temple is Huishan, who, since his succession after Jude, lead the construction of stone plaques, halls, and pagodas as complementation of existing architecture.
According to History of Yunlin Temple, Lingyin Temple received a royal visit from Emperor Kangxi of Qing dynasty on his tour to Hangzhou in the twenty-eighth year of his reign (1689 AD). The abbot at that time, Dihui, pleaded that the emperor writes a plaque for the temple. The emperor, upon request, wrote "云林" (literally “cloud forest”), after which the temple was renamed. Emperor Kangxi revisited Lingyin Temple three times later, in the thirty-eighth (1699 AD), forty-second (1703 AD) and forty-fourth (1705 AD) years of his reign, respectively, with essays and poems composed after each and every visit.
In the sixth year of Yongzheng period (1728 AD), the governor-general Li Wei led the reconstruction of Mahavira Hall, Hall of Heavenly King and several other chambers and pavilions. On June the second in lunar calendar in the eleventh year of Yongzheng period (1733 AD), five hundred liang (=25 kg) gold from treasury was granted to the temple, together with food that served two thousand monks.
In the first year of Qianlong period, Abbot Jutao, who succeeded Dihui, was well-read, of great attainment in Buddhism and highly valued by both the imperial government and the public. Wang Yinggeng from Yangzhou, who was an official at the nationan official at the national level, acquainted himself with Jutao after their first meeting during his visit to Lingyin Temple, and made donations for renovation of Mahavira Hall and a donzen other halls, chambers and pavilions. He also funded the redecoration of the statues of five hundred Maitreya and the repair of several major structures, which eventually cost over 20,000 liang (=1000 kg) silver, and took three years spanning from October of the sixth year of Qianlong's reign (1741 AD) to the same month in the ninth year (1744 AD).
Emperor Qianlong visited Lingyin Temple six times throughout his reign, in the sixteenth (1751 AD), the twentieth (1755 AD), the twenty-seventh (1762 AD), the thirtieth (1765 AD), the forty-fifth (1780 AD) and the forty-ninth (1784 AD) years, respectively. He composed poems regarding his visit each time, which were inscribed into stone tablets, erected in front of the temple and preserved until today.
In the forty-first year of Qianlong period (1776 AD), Xu Shu, a high official at the state level, alongside with his colleagues from various ministries and departments, tried to raise fund for the renovation of Lingyin Temple, which, by then, had long been out of repair. The temple, home to over five hundred monks who collectively consume a large maintenance costs, did not have properties back then, and had its sole income from benefaction and donations of local residents. The temple received further bursaries to cover maintenance expenses from donations to Sindhu Temple due to its close location to the latter, which was sanctioned by the imperial government as a permanent practice. The administrative separation was resumed in the forty-fourth year of Qianlong period (1779 AD), as Lingyin and Sindhu Temples shared the same abbot which caused difficulties in maintaining managerial balance between the two. Lingyin Temple subsequently received an annual bursary of 2,000 liang (=100kg) silver from Sindhu Temple, a practice that continued until the period of Republic of China.
Emperors Jiaqing and Daoguang had granted funds to Lingyin Temple for its renovation and further construction. As recorded, Lingyin Temple had been destroyed by fire in the autumn of the twenty-first year of Jiaqing period (1816 AD). The temple had to petition for funds of 10,000 liang (=5,000 kg) silver from the imperial treasury to finance its massive and difficult renovation, and eventually raised 100, 700 liang (50, 140 kg) in total, with 10,100 liang (=5,050 kg) donated by governmental officials and the rest contributed by prominent figures such as Wang Dalin and Jin Zhaoxin. Yiqian, the abbot at that time, also raised approximately 20,000 liang (= 4,000 kg) silver from wealthy residents of West Zhejiang area. This particular renovation project started from the seventh of July of lunar calendar in the third year of Daoguang period (1823 AD), and lasted until the fourteenth of April of lunar calendar in the eighth year of the same period (1828AD), and cost over 130,700 liang (=6514 kg) silver altogether, bringing Lingyin Temple "back to the grandeur and magnificence of the famous mountain". In the fourteenth year of Daoguang period (1834 AD), Ruan Yuan, the newly appointed governor of Zhejiang Province, supported Lingyin Temple enthusiastically. Under his management and proposal, collections of works by Zhu Xi and Weng Fanggang were inscribed and stored in Lingyin Temple as part of the Ling Yin Collection. Other classics were also sought and gathered to complement the collection, with exhibits numbered and cataloged, and rules developed to manage the collection. Ruan Yuan appointed monks Yufeng and Ouran to organise books according to the catalogue, and wrote the history of the Ling Yin collection himself. The extensive Ling Yin Collection included such notable items as the ceremonial gavel used in rituals by Master Qisong of Song Dynasty, the ritualistic mirror, and white-sand-colored bed used by Baoda, the stamp doe forthright Hall from Emperor Xiao of Song Dynasty, the bed used by Fan Zhongyan, the cauldron given by Qin Kui, the dragon-patterned stone, painting of Feilai Peak and picture scroll of Mount Lingyin by Shen Zhou, painting of Cold Spring Pavilion by Cheng Jiasui, painting album of West Lake and painting of the red tree next to cold spring by Li Liufang, as well as the royal rename document from the eighth year of Tiansheng period (1030 AD). Calligraphy works from Dong Qichang, Miyun, Sanfeng, Dihui, Jutao, Chen Pengnian, Weng Fanggang, Hu Gaowang, Wang Shimin, Zhang Zhao, Liang Tongshu, Bai Songlin, Shi Yunyu and so on were also included.
In the tenth year of the Xianfeng period of Qing Dynasty (1860 AD), Hangzhou was conquered by Taiping troops. Most of the temples in the cities were consequently destroyed, and Lingyin Temple was no exception, with only the Hall of Heavenly King and Arhat Hall intact. A large proportion of the precious Lingyin Collection had gone to possessions of private collectors, or even lost.
Abbot Guantong, who worked after the incident, lead the renovation of Latern Pavilion, the primary storage room and so on. His successor, Abbot Xizheng, received supported from Sheng Xuanhuai during his ten-year term of service, and renovated the Mahavira Hall in the second year of Xuantong period (1910 AD), building it up to a total height of thirteen zhang and five chi ( =41.65 metre). In the sixth year of Republic of China (1917 AD), the Great Compassion Pavilion was also built. Quefei, a determined reformer who had taken the role of Abbot in the nineteenth year of Republic of China period (1930 AD), lead the reconstruction of Cuiwei Pavilion, Chunzong Pavilion and the Hall of Heavenly Kings, creating a brand-new image for the temple.
In the winter of the twenty-fifth year of Republic of China period (1936 AD), Arhat Hall was damaged by fire. All from previous generations but a woodcut statue of Wei Tuo, which had been placed in the Hall of Heavenly Kings, was lost. In November of
the twenty-sixth year of Republic of China period (1937 AD), Lingyin and Sindhu Temples became destinations of refugees as a result of Japanese invasion into the city of Hangzhou. An asylum was established within Lingyin Temple by the Red Cross, housing over five hundred refugees, leading to an unbearable sight of chaos and misery. The Guest Hall, Jia Lian Hall, Incense Pavilion and East Gate of the temple were all destroyed by night fires in the asylum.
After the foundation of People's Republic of China (1949 AD), The central part of the ceiling of the Mahavira Hall once collapsed due to severe termite damage, and crashed the Buddha statues underneath. Under the lead of Committee of Renovation of Mahavira Hall of Hangzhou Lingyin Temple, established by the city council and funded by government, renovation started in the summer of 1952, and was finally completed two years later.
During the 1950s, Abbot Dabei, leading all monks, participated in the three major social movements of that time, namely Land Reform, Suppression of the Counterrevolutionaries and Aids to North Korea against the United States. Temple properties were turned over to the state, unreasonable regulations, such as the inherit-based descendents system, were abolished and replaced by democracy-and-invitation-based system. Buddhist disciplines were strengthened, and the monks were motivated for achieving further religious accomplishment. The correction of previous disorganization brought Ling Yin Temple back on the right track for further healthy development.
Lingyin Temple was under serious threat at the beginning of the ten-year Cultural Revolution (1966-1976 AD), when "old thoughts, customs, habits and traditions" were challenged and the religious circle shaken as a result. Fortunately, former Prime Minister Zhou Enlai (1898-1976) issued a timely telegraph after hearing about the threat, suggesting "temporary closure of Lingyin Temple", protecting Lingyin Temple from calamity.
In 1975, a comprehensive plan was approved by the State Council to renovate Lingyin Temple as a host site for state guests. The renovation work, starting from November of the same year, included application of gold coverage to all indoor Buddha statues, protective maintenance of stone pagodas and pillars and repair of Buddha sculptures on Feilai Peak, cost over 1,300,000 yuan (= ??? Dollars at the time) and was completed in 1980.
Since 1982, a double-track system is applied to the management of the temple, with forward implementations as external policy and democracy practiced internally through establishment of Temple Management Committee. The temple became financially self-sufficient through ticketing (the issuing and sale of "Incense Coupons"), and started to actively involve in social welfare and charity. In 1987, Overall Plan of Lingyin Temple (the so-called "Ten-Year Plan") came into effect. With the support from Hangzhou Buddhism Association as well as care and concern from Buddhists home and abroad, temple Supervisors, Jiyun and Tiyan lead the comprehensive renovation of the Mahavira Hall with the help of Buddhists and the public, and re-applied the gold coverage on Buddha statues.
Since Master Muyu stepped in the role of abbot in 1998, he has been leading a group of well-learned activists in preservation and further development of Buddhist traditions. Following Buddhist architecture principles, the layout of the temple was extended in linear direction, and the solemn atmosphere of this ancient temple was further strengthened. The Sutra Depository was also rebuilt. While Lingyin Collection, founded by Zhejiang governor Ruan Yuan in Qing Dynasty and unfortunately destroyed later in the warfare during Taiping Heavenly Kingdom period (1851-1864 AD), served at the earliest public library in China, the new Sutra Depository, built more than one hundred and forty years later, is unprecedented in its scale, and in the richness, tastefulness and selectiveness of its collection. The Maitreya Hall was also rebuilt.
Lingyin Temple, dating back to more than 1680 years ago since its start by Master Huili, has undergone ups and downs. However, Buddhist faith has never been given up even when the temple is physically in ruin. With the effort of generations of monks, Lingyin Temple was rebuilt after each and every destruction, and has not only survived, but also thrived.