Lingyin Temple

Lingyin Temple
Ling Yin Temple, located in a long and narrow valley between Feilai Feng and North Peak northwest of West Lake, is one of the most famous Buddhist temples in China. The name of Lingyin Temple is indicative of its peaceful natural surroundings. The temple is a well-hidden retreat covered on three sides by hills. The temple was first built in 326 AD some 1,600 years ago by an Indian Monk Huili. It prospered and flourished during the Five Dynasties Period when there were 9 buildings, 18 towers, and 72 halls with 1,300 rooms and more than 3,000 monks. Over history, the temple has been ruined and undergone renovation several times. It has recently been rebuilt to its original style.   

Lingyin Temple
Lingyin Temple is laid out along traditional lines. What makes the temple unique is its size, particularly the size of its principle buildings. The front hall, and former entrance, is the huge Hall of the Heavenly Kings (Tianwang Dian). This hall is a huge double-eave building that is as large or larger than the main hall at many temples, at least 60 feet tall. The principle Buddha here is Maitreya or Milefo, the Laughing Buddha. He faces the front of the hall to the south to greet visitors who enter the compound. To the left and right are the four Deva Kings. These statues stand 30 to 40 feet tall and are newly painted. It is not clear if they are new or newly restored. The ceiling is ornately painted with phoenixes and dragons.

From here one enters a huge courtyard bounded by the Hall of the Heavenly Kings on the south, a group of shops and offices to the east, the Hall of the Five Hundred Arhats to the west, and the Main Hall to the north. The main hall is called the Mahavira Hall or Daxiong Baodian with its huge golden image of Shakyamuni. There are also huge images of the 18 Arhats, and the back of the hall has the traditional depiction of Guanyin and the 500 Arhats at Vulture Peak. This hall is the largest religious building I have seen in China. It is triple-eaved and stands at least 120 feet high. The trees growing in the front courtyard make it almost impossible to capture the whole building in a single photograph. 

Lingyin Temple
Behind this hall and uphill is a newly built Hall for Bhaisajyaguru Buddha (Yaoshi Dian), commonly called the Medicine Buddha. This was not part of the Qing dynasty temple, but was built last year as part of an expansion project. Another part of the project is the Hall of Five Hundred Arhats (Wubai Luohan Tang). This hall is laid out with a floor plan shaped like a Buddhist swastika and contains five hundred life-size bronze statues of the five hundred Arhats. There is a statue of Guanyin in the center where the four arms of the swastika meet.



Opening Hours: 5:00 - 18:00
Admission Fee: CNY 30 (Ling Yin Temple)
CNY 35 (Fei Lai Feng)