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 Essential Architecture-  Peking

Temple of Recumbent Buddha




located about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Beijing and is near the Temple of Azure Clouds at the north foot of Xishan (Western Hill)


c. 1200


Jin Dynasty




The temple was built during the Tang Dynasty (618 A.D. - 907A.D.) and has a history of more than 1300 years. The temple received repairs during the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. There is a bronze recumbent Buddha inside the Temple, which is how it received the name Temple of Recumbent Buddha.

The main buildings of the Temple are: Four Heavenly King's Hall, Three Buddhas Hall and the Recumbent Buddha's Hall.

The Recumbent Buddha's Hall is the most important hall in the Temple. The present hall is the one built in the Jin Dynasty (1115A.D. - 1234A.D.). The temple 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 the west of the Temple, 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 Temple.

Admission Fee: CNY 5
Opening Hours: 08:10 to 16:30
Time for a Visit: Half an hour
Bus Route: 360,333