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Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple Introduction


shanghai jade buddha temple
Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple

Shanghai is a young city but in possession of many historic sites like Yuyuan Garden, City God Temple, The Bund of Shanghai and Jade Buddha Temple. Jade Buddha Temple located on the north of downtown Shanghai, exactly on the intersection of Anyuan Road and Jiangning Road. Originally built in 1918, Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple is a building complex featuring the architectural style of Song Dynasty. On the axes of the temple, there are the main buildings such as the Heavenly King Hall, Grand Hall of the Great Sage and Jade Buddha Building. On both sides of the axes, visitors can see the Lying Buddha Hall, Kwan-yin Hall, Bronze Buddha Hall and Meditation Hall. Jade Buddha Temple is the most monastery in Shanghai. On the first day, and the fifteenth day every month, or on the traditional festivals of Buddhism, the Buddhists gather here to pray for blessing of Buddha. It is a metropolitan temple in China characterized of the tradition and modernity. In 1983, Jade Buddha Temple was approved as the key site under the national-level protection.

The History of Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple

In 1882, Master Huigen from Putuo Buddhist Mountain took a holy journey to Wutai Mountain, Emei Mountain, and entered Tibet and Tibet. After his journey, he passed by Burma and carved the jade gained from mountains into five jade Buddha statues. He bought them back to China, and left two of them, a sitting Buddha and a lying Buddha, in Shanghai. The earliest temple was built in 1900 close to Jiangwan Station of Wusong, and the whole temple was operated by Monk Benzhao, a student of Master Huigen. However, the temple was destroyed by warfare in 1918, but fortunately the jade Buddha statues are well preserved. Later, Master Kecheng rebuilt Jade Buddha Temple at the current site, and renamed as Temple of Jade Buddha. During the period of the Cultural Revolution, Jade Buddha Temple was protected well, and the monks fed on making the paper boxes. Today, Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple was quite famous and the center of Buddhists in Shanghai.

The Main Buildings of Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple

The first symbolic building is Heavenly King Hall, and it has three huge red gates meaning the moksha of Sangedatsu, In Chinese, it is pronounced as San Men Jie Tuo(三门解脱). Over the past, the temples used to be built in mountains, and the gate of temple was called Shan Men(山门, Gate of Mountain) , San and Shan mostly share the same pronunciation, so San Men gradually became the code name of Temple. Maitreya Bodhisattva was enshrined in front of the hall. In fact, this Buddha also widely known as Laughing Buddha in folk China is originated from a real monk called Qici Monk from Fenghua, Zhejiang province. He used to carry a huge hop-pocket and go begging everywhere, so he was also famous as Hop-Pocket Monk. In 916, Qici Monk passed away in Milin Temple of Fenghua, and his dying saying partially released his real identity of Buddhism:

Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple
The Gate of Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple

弥勒真弥勒, 分身千百亿: Maitreya is true Maitreya with billions of aspects
时时示世人, 世人自不识: Show the man ever and again but can not be recognized
Since then, Qici Monk is considered as the aspect of Maitreya Buddha.

The second symbolic building is the Grand Hall of the Great Sage. Three golden giant Buddha statues are enshrined in it. The middle one is the statue of Sakyamuni, and the east is the statue of the Medicine Buddha, and the west is the Amitabha of the biggest Buddha in west paradise (Elysium). The rear of the hall is the mural-style sculpture themed with Kwan-yin of Oceanic Island. Kwan-yin Bodhisattva standing on the head of sacred turtle crossed the ocean to save all the lives in trouble and hardship. Dragon Girl and Shancai Boy standing on the both sides are both the students of Kwan-yin. The left of the mural is Puxian Bodhisattva on the white elephant back , and the right is Wenshu Bodhisattva on the green lion back. The sculpture above the Kwan-yin statue is a show of tired Sakyamuni.

The third is the room of Buddhist abbot, Fang Zhang in Chinese, which means a square room. The room board is Borezhang Shi, The Room of Wisdom. The main wall of the hall is the portrait of Dharma, the founder of the Zen of Buddhism. The second floor of Fang Zhang Room is the site to set the Sitting Jade Buddha, which is 1.92 meters. The whole statue decorated with gems and gold is quite attractive. The cabinets on both sides of the statue are filled with tens of thousands of Buddhist scripts. The west side of the temple is the Lying Buddha Hall, and the white jade-made Buddha is put in it. The statue is 96 centimeters long themed with the portrait of Sakyamuni at the age of 80.


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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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