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Brief Introduction


Lingyin Temple, founded in 326AD, 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, was the founding master of Lingyin Temple. He 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. Then 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) that 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, 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 Zen Mountains" of the south in Jading period, South Song dynasty. At Shunzhi’s time of Qing dynasty, great Zen Master Jude, took charge of the temple.

Under his leadership in nearly eighteen years, the temple was completely rebuilt and ranked first in southern east with solemn atmosphere and grandeur of scale. In 1689, when Kangxi, an emperor in Qing dynasty, made inspection tours in Jiang’nan, he christened it“Yunlin Temple.”

In new China, Lingyin temple has undergone large-scale restoration many times. Today, at the charge of Venerable Master Guangquan, the abbot of the temple, it, the ancient temple, has been prospering with sublime Buddhist Philosophy and mutual harmony between the public with the aim at fully cultivating Buddhist fine traditions and striving to built a pure land in China’s southern east.

Lingyin Temple covers an area of 130 mu, the axle wire of which stands Heavenly Kings Hall, the Mahavira Hall, Yaowang Hall,
Zhizhi Hall(the court of law), Huayan Hall, The Hall of Five Hundred Arhats, Jigong Temple, Liandeng Pavilion, Huayan Pavillion, Dabei Pavillion, Abbot Building and others stand beside them, which loos wonderful and orderly. There is a Sakyamuni Buddhai joss in Heavenly Kings Hall, the blueprint of which was the statue of Tang Dynasty. It was engraved from 24 huge camphorwoods, 24.8m high. The appearance looks dignified, majestic and lively, which is seldom seen
in China.

Since the establishment of Lingyin Temple, eminent monks and scholars have flooded into it to talk about the Buddhist and Taoism, which presented a splendid cultural sight. In addition, many precious historical relics such as antique josses, instruments, Jingzhuang, stone pagodas, imperial stele, calligraphy and painting still exist in Lingyin Temple.