Zhiyun Temple situates in the west of Lijiang near the Lashi Basin. It was built in 1727 during the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912), with the combination designs of the traditional Tibetan style, and local Naxi features. Nowadays, people can see some Buddha statues, some daily use items of the Living Buddha, such as clothes, bronze seals, and chopsticks.
Origin of the name
Zhiyun in Chinese means “pointing at the cloud”. The name Zhiyun is derived from a folk story. A Tibetan Buddhist master was honorably invited to give sermons when he was traveling across Lijiang. While local people found it difficult to choose a proper site for the master and a Buddhist monastery. After observing around the surroundings, the master raised his Buddhist stick to point at a colorful cloud in the west. Therefore the place right under that colorful cloud was determined for the temple, hence the name.
The unique design of Zhiyun Temple
Zhiyun Temple is the first lamasery temple among five main Tibetan Buddhism monasteries in Lijiang. The temple has unique designs. It differs from traditional Tibetan architecture. All the carvings and structural designs of the temple were taken from the Naxi, Han and Bai people. It is a peaceful lake side corner enclosed by pear trees and sacred relics. Based on the strong influence from the Kamaba sect of Tibet in the past, majestic hall and indoor settings were decorated by multi-ethnic structure.
Zhiyun Temple has two courtyards facing the east. The main architectures are the gate, the Buddha Hall, the side halls, and the Chanting Hall. The Buddha Hall together has 5 rooms, which is a 3-storeyed pavilion with double eaves. The first floor is a preaching hall, and its second and third floors serve as a Buddhist library. In the past, Zhiyun Temple complex Zhiyun Temple was made up of thirteen different structures. However, only six structures remaining complete today.
In the courtyard of the temple, there are five different kinds of big trees, including Cherry tree, Plum tree, the Ginkgo tree, Mulberry tree, and the Chinese Scholar tree, and all of them have a history of more than 200 years.