Why is Daming Monastery special?
Situated in a northwest of Yangzhou city, Jiangsu Province, the Daming Temple combines religious buildings, important historical sites and beautiful gardens together. Scatted along the Slender West Lake, Daming Monastery is a well-renowned attraction for tourists worldwide.
First built in the Southern Dynasties (420-589), Daming Monastery has gone through many changes. However, the monastery remains its major buildings and historical relics till nowadays.
Daming Monastery Highlights
On entering the temple gate, visitors are greeted by a stately archway that was built in memory of the old Qiling Tower. The hall behind the archway is the Hall of Heavenly Kings, in the center of which sits the big-stomached Maitreya Buddha, smiling widely to welcome guests and visitors. The next hall is the Mahavira Hall, also the main focus of the temple. This hall is dedicated to the Great Buddha, Sakyamuni. His figure dominates the center of the room while statues of other Buddhist gods surround him. The gods are responsible for the good harvest and peaceful life of the people. The remaining space is that of the Scripture Repository. The structures in this area date back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Daming Temple has been a famous attraction for hundreds of years. Part of its appeal lies in its sites of historical and cultural importance. Many famous Chinese poets, such as Li Bai, Liu Yuxi, Bai Juyi and Su Dongpo visited the site and wrote numerous poems to praise its glamour.
The garden area is decorated with delicate pools, elegant pavilions, oddly-shaped rockery, lush trees and fragrant flowers. However, the most spectacular feature is the Qiling Tower. First built in the Sui Dynasty (581-618), the present structure was rebuilt in 1993. The tower is 70 meters high, which makes it possible for visitors to gain a bird eye view of the enchanting scenery that surrounds the temple.
Memorial Hall of Monk Jianzhen
Daming Temple is also famed because of Monk Jianzhen. Memorial Hall of Monk Jianzhen contains detailed introduction and historic materials of Monk Jianzhen, where visitors are welcomed to appreciate the efforts and persistence of his lifetime story.
Jianzhen was born in Yangzhou in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and firstly enrolled as a monk before progressing to become the superior of the Daming Temple. On the invitation of the Japanese people, Jianzhen decided to venture across the sea to Japan in an attempt to spread the practice of Buddhism. Due to the poor navigation technology of the time, he failed on a number of occasions to complete the crossing, eventually succeeded and was warmly welcomed by Japanese people. Jianzhen spent his final years in Japan, and made a great contribution to the cultural exchange between the two countries. Visitors can learn more about his life in the Memorial Hall of Monk Jianzhen.