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Tiantong Temple
2016-09-08 14:37 Text Size: A A A

Tiantong Temple, a state-level cultural relics protection units and a renowned scenic resort, lies in the Taibai Mountains, more than 30 kilometers east of the city proper of Ningbo. The temple was built in the first year of Emperor Yuankang, West Jin Dynasty (or 300 AD). The legend goes that a traveling monk called Yixing came amd settled dowm here. He opened land and build the first hut, prayed with piety, which moved the King of Heaven, who sent God Taibai incarnated as a boy servant for him to help him build a house for him and did not go back until it was finished.   Thus the mountain was named Taibai and the temple Tiantong means “heavenly child”. In 732 AD of the Tang Dynasty, monk Faxuan established the temple in the mountain side while in 757 AD the monk Zongbi chose another location to build a new temple, the present address of Tiantong Temple. The existing architecture was reconstructed in the Qing Dynasty and renovated in 1979.

Tiantong Temple, built down the hillside and ascending layer upon layer, consists of more than 20 ancient architectures including the Hall of Heavenly Kings, the Grand Hall, the Arhat hall, the Thousand-Buddha Pavilion,the Sutra Depository, the Imperial Library, the Hall of Light Recovery, the Hall of Enlightenment, the Bell Tower, the Hall of Abbot, and the Hall of Disciplining. The temple used to have 999 rooms,   now 730 rooms remain, covering 58 thousand square meters, a size which is rare for Buddhist temples in China. Inside the hall stands a 7-meter-high statue of Buddha hakyamuni and four heavenly guardians. Inside the temple there are Cypresses of the Tang Dynasty, imperial pardons, edits, seals, inscriptions and many other ancient relics. The halls and palaces are magnificent, with towering ridges and cornices. In front of the temple, there is a Wangong pool, meaning 10, 000 people attended the construction of the pool. Before the gate there is a Pipa Stone and to the west of the temple there is a rock with exquisite shape called Linglong Rock. To the east of the temple lies the site of the ancient temple and the Tomb of Monk Yihe. The Tiantong Temple is surrounded with mountains, ancient trees and the landscape is unique and splendid.

Tiantong Temple has over 1600 years of history. In its prime time, it was the home of thousands of Monks. It has “Thousand-Monk-Pot”, a cooking utensil of the Years of Emperor Chongzhen, over 350 years ago. Tiantong temple is also the ancentral place for the Caodong School of Buddhists of Japan, which has over 8 million of believers. A renowned Japanese artist, Xuezhou created a large number of works in Tiantong Temple during the 15th Century. In the autumn of 1980, the leader of Caodong School of Buddhism of Japan and abbot of Yongping Temple on DabengMountain, QinhuiyuBiqiu, together with his followers, erected a monument in memory of Dogen, a Chan mater in Japan.

The temple, surrounded by the dense woods and covering an area of 533.5 hectares, was zoned as one of the Tiantong Forest Parks in 1981. It is regarded as a natural summer resort for its well-preserved vegetation, profuse varieties of trees and emerald green spreading around the mountain.

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