Shentong Temple is located in Licheng District, Jinan City. It is an ancient temple and the birthplace of Shandong Buddhism. Formerly known as Langgong Temple, it was built in 351 AD during the early Eastern Jin Dynasty. The founder of the temple was the Zen master, namely Seng Lang Gong.
Development process of Shentong Temple
The original temple was almost destroyed during the Northern Wei and Northern Zhou dynasties, and was rebuilt in the Sui and Tang dynasties. The Emperor Wen renamed the temple as Shentong Temple in 583, because his got the supernatural powers in his dream. The temple was destroyed by the end of the Jin Dynasty. It was rebuilt by the Zen Master Daoxing during the Yuan Dynasty. It was later destroyed by fire and rebuilt a third time in the Ming Dynasty. In the Qing Dynasty, the temple gradually declined and became ruins again.
The famous abbot Fa Zan once stayed in this temple. The existing buildings include the Four Gate Pagoda, the Dragon Pagoda, the Tiger Pagoda, the Tang Abutment and the Tombs, most of which were built during the Sui and Tang dynasties. In 1985 the local government held large reconstruction projects on these building.
The Shentong Temple is the earliest temple site in Shandong. Despite of the wind and rain in history, the mottled the splendor and magnificence of the temple, the ancient towers, old monuments and cliff statues has remained with brilliance. The temple now has become a tourist attraction for people to linger.
Main attractions of Shentong Temple
The original temple has the main gate, Daxiong Hall, Thousand Buddha Hall, Abbot Hall and Dharma Hall. The left and right sides of the temple were the Garan Hall, Dharma Hall and Zhai Hall.
The Four Gate Pagoda is located on the east side of the temple site. It was built in 661 of the Sui Dynasty. It is the oldest single-story pagoda in China. The tower’s body is made of the large bluestone and the plane is square. Each side is 7.4 meters long and 15 meters high. There are the semi-circular arches on each side, so it is called as the "Four Gate Pagoda". The Four Gate Pagoda is simple in shape, ancient and solemn. Inside the pagoda, a square core column stands on a stone pier, with a Buddha statue on each side of the pier. Behind the pagoda, there is the famous Jiulong Pine Tree. In the nearby, there are the ancient Buddhist relics such as Thousand Buddha Cliff, Ancester Square and Tang Platform. Surrounded by mountains and peaks, valleys and clear springs, the scenery of the pagoda is very beautiful.