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Master Huili

Master Huili (birth and death unknown) who came from India during Jin Dynasty was the founder of Lingyin Temple.

According to historical records, Master Huili came to Hangzhou from China central plain during Jin Dynasty (326 AD). He was initially living in Mount Wulin (now known as Lingyin). One day, he saw a craggy looking peak which appeared to be very different from the surrounding mountains, but similar to the Vulture Peak in India. Vulture Peak was believed to be the retreat of the souls during Buddha’s time, and had one black ape and one white ape lived in there. Master Huili tried to call for these two apes, and was surprised to see them appeared. He wondered if the Vulture Peak had flown over to Hangzhou. People believed this legend and so the peak is named ‘Feilai Feng’. (Flying peak) Not long after Master Huili’s arrival, he built Lingjiu Temple under Feilai Feng. In 328 AD, he built Lingyin Temple under BeiGao Feng. In 330 AD, he built three more temples namely Lingshan Temple, Lingfeng Temple and Lingshun Temple. Today, only Lingyin Temple survived over 1600 years and became one of the China’s famous Chan sect.

There was a cave under Feila Feng called Elder Li’s Cave. The cave is so-named because Master Hui Li used to meditate (Dhayana) here. A 211-character rock carving with the titile of Li Gong Yan Ji was found inside the ‘Jing Guang Dong’ in Elder Li’s Cave. This religious rock carving recorded the story of Master Huili's medition practice in the cave. It was done by a calligrapher named Zhou Boqi during Yuan Dynasty and had been successfully conserved until this date. In 1957, the Elder’s Li Pagoda which was built to commemorate Master Huili was restored. It is now located near to the Cave Longhong at Feilai Feng. According to legend, Master Huili has spent his later years living in seclusion at Xizhao Temple below Shiren Hill, Xixi, Hangzhou.

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