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Hangzhou Jingshan Temple


zen tea culture in Jingshan Temple
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Jingshan Temple(径山寺)located at Jingshan Hill, Changle Town, Yuhang District, Hangzhou, was originally built in Tang Dynasty. In Southern Song Dynasty, Jiangshan Temple was at its summit time and the top temple among five most famous Buddhist temples in Jiangnan region. The scale of Jingshan Temple was quite huge and significant, and had more than 1,700 monks and more than 1000 rooms. Due to the warfare and lack of reconstruction, the original building complex was mostly ruined. Currently, there is only the bell tower was the original architecture and a huge bell, made in the first years of Yongle period of Ming Dynasty, hung in it. And also three iron Buddha statues made in Song Dynasty as well as a huge stele themed with different biographies of Buddhist masters of different periods.

In 745, Master Faqin(法钦禅师) came to Jingshan hill and built a temple on it, approximately in 768, Emperor Dazong published the governmental rescript to build Jingshan temple. In South Song Dynasty, Emperor Xiaozong inscribed “Xingshou Wanshou Buddhist Temple of Jingshan Temple”(径山兴寿万寿禅寺) on gate board. Originally, Jingshan temple belonged to Niutou School. In 1130, the Daoji Branch of Buddhism became more and more famous and was ranked the top one of five hill Buddhist temples and ten temples (five Buddhist temples on hills are Jingshan Temple, Lingyin Temple, Jingci Temple, Tiantong Temple and Ayuwang Temple) in Jiangnan region. Many famous Japanese monks learnt the Zen in this temple. These Japanese monks returned to Japan to spread the knowledge of Lingji Branch, and brought the tea-making technique and tea banquet rite back to Japan, and the tea banquet rite later developed to be the Tea culture of Japan. Besides, the technologies of weaving, pill-making, bean-curd-making and soy-sauce-making were all introduced to Japan. Furthermore, many monks of Jingshan Temple also went to Japan to teach the Buddhist knowledge. During Yuan and Ming Dynasties, many monks from Japan visited Jingshan Temple in sequence. Jingshan temple was destroyed and reconstructed for many times. After 1949, in Jingshan Temple, there are only the main halls and imperial steles of Emperor Xiaozong of South Song Dynasty as well as the huge bells and iron incense burner made in Ming Dynasty. After 1983, annually, several groups of Buddhist monks visited Jingshan Temple. And in April, 1997, Jingshan Temple was largely reconstructed. Today, it is quite eye-catching surrounded by the highrise buildings of downtown Hangzhou.

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