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Brief Introduction


Lingyin Temple, founded in 326AD, is regarded as the most recognized temple in Hangzhou with a long history of about 1,700 years. Situated at the west end of the West Lake, the temple is nested between Feilai Mountain and Beigao Mountain. Today, the section flanked by the two mountains is still the Buddhist and poetic destination as throughout history--massive trees, the old temple, dramtic clouds and mist.

Master Huili (326-334AD), a monk from Western India, the founding master of Lingyin Temple, travelled through the central plain to present-day Zhejiang area in the Eastern Jin dynasty. When setting foot on Wulin  (Hangzhou), he pondered the presence of a mountain with distinct craggs, “This is a small peak in Lingjiu Mountain of India, when did it arrive here? This looks like a resting place for celestial being at the time of the Buddha... ” For this, he set up a temple before the mountain and named it “Lingyin”.
In the early periods of the temple's history, Buddhism was preliminarily developed and gaining following. The temple was not expanded until Liangwudi (an emperor in Nan dynasty) donated land for its expansion. In 771 A.D., the temple was fully restored with strong following. By the end of Tang dynasties(619-907), suffering from the “Huichang Disaster”, the temple was destroyed and all monks were dispersed. The next turning point was not until the Five Dynasties (907-960AD), when Qianliu of Wuyue dynasty, had Yongming Yanshou rebuild the Monestary and renamed it “New Lingyin Temple” with stone pillars scripted with Buddhist text, chambers and halls of worship, and grand pavillion for Maitreya Buddha. At the height of the temple's prolific times, it had nine buildings, eighteen chambers, and seventy-two halls. The number of monks was as high as three thousand with up to one thousand three hundred living quarters. After designating Hangzhou as the capital of then China, Emperor Gao (1107-1187) and Emperor Xiao (1127-11194AD) of Song Dynasty frequently visited the temple, managing governmental affairs and worked on calligraphy. The temple was regarded as one of the "Five Chan (Zen) Mountains" of the south in Jading period, South Song dynasty. At Shunzhi’s time of Qing dynasty, great Chan Master Jude, took charge of the temple.

Under his leadership of nearly eighteen years, the temple was completely rebuilt and seem as the most famous temple in the south east with solemn atmosphere and grandeur in scale. In 1689, when Kangxi, an emperor in Qing dynasty, made his inspection tours in Jiang’nan, he officiallygifted the name, “Yunlin Temple.”

In new China, Lingyin temple has undergone large-scale restoration many times. Today, with the efforts of Venerable Master Guangquan, abbot of Lingyin temple, it, the ancient temple has prospered with sublime Buddhist Philosophy, great harmony with the public the public--the focus of fully cultivating fine Buddhist  traditions and striving to built a pureland in China’s southeast.

Lingyin Temple covers an area of 130 mu, a central axis with Heavenly Kings Hall, the Mahavira Hall, Medicine Buddha Hall, and the Avatamska Hall.
Other magnificant Monestary structures includes Zhizhi Hall (Dharma Hall), Huayan Hall, The Hall of Five Hundred Arhats, Jigong Shrine, Liandeng Pavilion, Huayan Pavillion, Great Compassion Pavillion, Abbot Quarters, etc. The Skanda (Weituo) Bodhisattava statue in the Hall of the Heavenly Kings dates back to the period of Tang Dynasty--engraved from 24 huge camphorwoods, 24.8m high with a dignified, majestic appearence.

Since the establishment of Lingyin Temple, eminent monks and scholars have flooded to this center for cultural gatherings in Buddhism, arts, literary, caligraphy, exchanges in Buddhist and Taoism, which presented the longstanding cultural heritage. In addition, many precious historical relics such as antique josses, instruments, Jingzhuang, stone pagodas, imperial stele, calligraphy and painting still exist in Lingyin Temple.