Lingyin Temple, established in 326A.D., is the most famous temple in Hangzhou with a long history of about 1,700 years. Situated at the west end of the West Lake, the temple is confronted with Feilai Mountain and backed by Beigao Mountain. In the section flanked by the two mountains ar massive trees, the old temple, and dramtic clouds in many shapes and sizes.
Huili, a western India master, is the originator of the Lingyin Temple. He traveled from the central plain to Zhejiang district in the early of that dynasty. When setting foot on Wulin(today’s Hangzhou), he couldn’t help signing at the presence of a mountain:“when did this small hill in Indian Lingjiu Mountain move itself to the site? Buddhism has been embedded in Sages”. As for this, he set up a temple before the mountain and named after it, “Lingyin temple.”
In the beginning, the Buddhism was preliminarily developed and didn’t come to populace. Then the temple wasn’t enlarged until Liangwudi (an emperor in Nan dynasty)donated some lands for its expansion. In 771 A.D., the temple was fully restored and became popular. At the end of Tang dynasty, suffering from the “Huichang Disaster”, the temple was destroyed and all monks were dispersed. It was not until in Five Dynasties that Qianliu, the founder of Wuyue dynasty, had Yongmingyanshou rebuilt it and called it “New Lingyin temple” with Shizhuang, Buddhist chamber and hall, and large Maitreya Pavilion newly put up. At the height of the temple, it had nine buildings, eighteen chambers, and seventy-two halls. The number of venerables was as much as three thousand and that of living room reached
one thousand three hundred. After designating Hangzhou as the capital, Gaozong and Xiaozong often visited the temple, caring for its internal business and did calligraphy. The temple was regarded as one of the Five Zen Mountains in the south of the Yangtze River in Jading period, South Song dynasty. At Shunzhi’s time of Qing dynasty, Jude, a great Zen master, took charge of the temple.
Under his leadership in nearly eighteen years, the temple was completely rebuilt and ranked first in southern east with solemn atmosphere and grandeur of scale. In 1689, when Kangxi, an emperor in Qing dynasty, made inspection tours in Jiang’nan, he christened it“Yunlin Temple.”
In new China, Lingyin temple has undergone large-scale restoration many times. Today, at the charge of Guangquan, the abbot of the temple, it, the ancient temple, has been prospering with sublime Buddhist Philosophy and mutual harmony between the public with the aim at fully cultivating Buddhist fine traditions and striving to built a pure land in China’s southern east.
Lingyin Temple covers an area of 130 mu, the axle wire of which stands Heavenly Kings Hall, the Mahavira Hall, Yaowang Hall,
Zhizhi Hall(the court of law), Huayan Hall, The Hall of Five Hundred Arhats, Jigong Temple, Liandeng Pavilion, Huayan Pavillion, Dabei Pavillion, Abbot Building and others stand beside them, which loos wonderful and orderly. There is a Sakyamuni Buddhai joss in Heavenly Kings Hall, the blueprint of which was the statue of Tang Dynasty. It was engraved from 24 huge camphorwoods, 24.8m high. The appearance looks dignified, majestic and lively, which is seldom seen
Since the establishment of Lingyin Temple, eminent monks and scholars have flooded into it to talk about the Buddhist and Taoism, which presented a splendid cultural sight. In addition, many precious historical relics such as antique josses, instruments, Jingzhuang, stone pagodas, imperial stele, calligraphy and painting still exist in Lingyin Temple.