Beijing Wofo Temple: The Temple of Recumbent Buddha2016-06-29 16:01:00Share:
Located about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the downtown area and near the Temple of Azure Clouds at the north foot of Xishan (Western Hills), Wofo Temple is one of the famous ancient temples in Beijing.
Wofo Temple (The Temple of Recumbent Buddha) was built during the Tang Dynasty (618 A.D. - 907A.D.) and has a history of more than 1,300 years. It was reconstructed during the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. There is a bronze recumbent Buddha inside it, which is how it the name was received.
Four Heavenly King's Hall, Three Buddhas Hall and the Recumbent Buddha's Hall are the three main spots of Wofo Temple.
The Recumbent Buddha's Hall is the most important apot in the temple. The present hall is the one built in the Jin Dynasty (1115A.D. - 1234A.D.). It underwent further construction during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 A.D.- 1368A.D.). The recumbent Buddha inside the Hall is the statue of Sakyamuni, which is five meters long and weighs 54 tons, was built in 1321A.D. during the Yuan Dynasty. His left hand touches his leg and his right hand supports his head. It was said that this pose is that of Sakyamuni when he got nirvana ('nirvana' means the ineffable ultimate in which one has attained disinterested wisdom and compassion in Buddhism.). This bronze recumbent Buddha is the biggest bronze recumbent Buddha in present day China. Around this Buddha are twelve other figures of Buddhas. This group of statues of Buddhas reflects the scene that Sakyamuni tells his disciples what to do after his nirvana. All twelve Buddhas appear to be grieving. The recumbent Buddha is perfectly kept and reflects the high iron-melting techniques in the Yuan Dynasty.
Sacrifices have been offered to three Buddhas inside the Three Buddhas Hall: Burning Lamp Buddha, Sakyamuni and Maitreya. On both sides of the three Buddhas are 18 color-clay-made Arhats. One of them is very special because he wears his clothes just like the human beings who live on earth. However, he is a false Arhat. Real Arhats who live in God's place wear special dresses. A legend said that this false Arhat is Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644A.D. - 1911A.D.).
Inside the Four Heavenly King's Hall, a sitting statue of Maitreya is offering sacrifice in the middle area. Four heavenly kings are on the two sides of Maitreya to bless the stability of the country and the happiness of the common people.
In front of the Three Buddhas Hall is an ancient tree planted, which was said to be transplanted from India and symbolizes how Sakyamuni got nirvana.
To its west, there is a peony garden of an area of more than ten thousand square meters. More than 2000 peonies are planted here. Also, there is a bamboo garden outside.
The autumn months between September and November have the best weather and fewer tourists. Summer (June to August) is considered peak season, when hotels typically raise their rates and the Great Wall nearly collapses under the weight of marching tourists. Spring is less pleasant not many tourists but lots of wind and dust. In winter, you'll have Beijing to yourself and many hotels offer substantial discounts, just remember it's an ice box outside. Everything is chock block during the Chinese New Year (usually in January or February).
If the time allows, it is strongly suggested to visit the Wofo Temple together with the Beijing Botanical Garden, Temple of Azure Clouds, and Western Hills Park.
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