The Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple in Dali

The Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple 崇圣三塔 used to be situated at the foot of Diancang Mountain on the shores of Lake Erhai. The temple no longer exists, but the three pagodas, different in size and history, remain. Qianxun Pagoda, the biggest of the three, is described variously in historical records, but from its structure and shape, it must have been built after the Kaicheng period (836 to 840) of the Tang Dynasty and undergone repairs in the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. When the pagoda was repaired again in 1979, three copper plates, found in the bottom of the steeple, stated that the pagoda was repaired in 1000, 1142 and 1154. Also discovered were statues of Buddha and bodhisattvas, scriptures, seals, coins, a bronze mirror, porcelain, articles used in Buddhist ritual, musical instruments, daily-use articles, various kinds of small pagodas, and gold and silver ware. Unearthed from the pagoda’s underground palace were ceramic Buddhist statues and pagodas and matrices for printing Buddhist scriptures in Sanskrit.

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Straight and towering, the Quadrangular Qianxun Pagoda, the main one was exquisitely constructed, with multiple tiers of eaves. It has 16 storeys and a height of 69.13 meters. In the central part of each facade, a shrine was built and a Buddha statue of white marble installed. The two other pagodas of 10 stories are 42.19 meters high. They are solid and beautiful, and in octagonal shape. Coated with white mud, and carved with a shrine, Buddha statue, lotus flowers, etc. on each story, the pagodas look elegant and stately.

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The newly built Chongsheng Temple covers an area of 40 hectares. It is arranged along a main axis and two auxiliary axes. Lying in proper order along the main axis are the Gate to the Temple, Heavenly Kings, Maitreya, Eleven-faced Goddess of Mercy, and Great Hero Halls, the Pavilion of Achuoyie Goddess of Mercy, Mountain-Lake Grand View Stone Archway, and the Lake Viewing Tower. Along the two auxiliary axes are Arhat, Eminent Monks (the nine kings who became monks), Founders (six founders of the Zen sect), and Heavenly Kings Halls, and Institute of Buddhism.

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Barkhor is the road tramped out around Jokhang Temple through centuries

Barkhor is the road which pilgrims tramped out around Jokhang Temple through centuries. Buddhist pilgrims walk or progress by body-lengths along the street clockwise every day into deep night. They comprise most of Lhasa‘s floating population. Careful visitors may find there are 4 columns, on which colorful scripture streamers are hung flying over the street. All pilgrims walk outside of them to show respect. The custom started in Tubo period (633- 877).

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Over time side streets, lanes and alleys were added and the Barkhor Square. Today the pilgrims are still circumambulating the temple and the surrounding area has become a major tourist destination. This is the best place to see Lhasa’s traditional Tibetan architecture and the streets are lined by small shops selling Tibetan souvenirs such as prayer wheels, the tradition Tibetan long-sleeve ‘chuba’, Tibetan knives, jade jewellery, Buddhist statues and other religious artefacts. It is also the place to find ‘Thangka’ or Tibetan scroll paintings with themes of religion, history, literature, etc.

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Tips:
1. You should walk in a clockwise direction along the street.
2. It is better not stay too late there. Because there are many lanes there, it’s easy to lose your way in the evening.
3. Different vendors may sell the same thing at different price. So you’d better ask several vendors and get more information of the articles. Of course, you should also know how to bargain with them.
4. According to the tradition of Tibet, the vendor will give a favorable price to the first customer and the last one in a day.

Lingyin Temple is one of the largest temples in China

Located 9 km away from the city west of West Lake, Lingyin Temple is one of the largest and most significant Chan (Zen) temples in China. Founded in 326 by an Indian monk named Huili, the temple originally had 72 halls and 18 pavilions, once housing 3000 monks. Unfortunately, the only buildings left today are the Celestial King’s Hall and the 33.6-meter-high Great Buddha Hall. Lingyin Temple is visited today by pilgrims from all over the world and local worshippers. Worship the Buddha and make a wish there. It is believed that Lingyin Temple is one of the top temples for making your wish come true.

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In front of the Lingyin Temple is the Hall of the Heavenly King; at the center of the hall sit statue of the Buddha of Maitreya with a smiling face and a bare belly. The 33.6 meters Hall of the Great Hero is a single-storied structure with three overlapping double layered eaves. After being completely repaired in 1954, the hall was changed to the present structure, made entirely of steel and concrete, and the great hall made spacious, imposing and grand. At the centre of the Hall of the Great Hero is a 19.6 meter’s high figure of magnificent Sakyamuni, founder of Buddhism. These palace, pavilion, stone pagoda, and figures of the Buddha in Ling Yin Temple have great significance in researching the history of Buddhism, the Chinese art of building, precious Chinese cultural relics.
Lingyin Temple is one of Hangzhou’s most popular attractions. It was the site of a temple during the Eastern Jin dynasty (317-420), and after its development during the Five Dynasties (907-960) it became a thriving monastery. Destroyed and rebuilt no fewer than 16 times since, the present structures are renovated Qing dynasty buildings.

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The two largest buildings are the Hall of the Heavenly Kings and the Hall of the Great Hero, the latter being one of the tallest single-story buildings in China and featuring a huge wooden statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha covered in gold leaf, behind which is a statue of the Guanyin, or Goddess of Mercy. The complex contains an important collection of Buddhist sutras.