Temple brillance

China Daily, Dec 3, 2004

Beijing, China -- The mountains in west suburban Beijing usually lure many visitors thanks to their cooling resorts in summer and golden scenery in autumn. But they are not the favourite in winter except those who like a quite surrounding in a Buddhist temple, Buddhist architecture, culture and the special winter scenery hidden within mountains saturated in pine trees.

It is easy to venture on a trip to these temples in winter, concentrated in a 30-kilometre stretch. There is no traffic, no crowds, no noisy pilgrims, only some administrative staff and a few monks peacefully walking around the temples.

One day is adequate to ensure a rudimentary understanding of different Buddhist stories and verified religious architecture.

The temples on show are Wofo, Dajue, Jietai, and Tanzhe. A group of Buddhist temples are also located in the Fragrant Hills, another day's sojourn.

Wofo Temple

Wofo Temple (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) is located inside the Beijing Botanical Gardens, almost 1 km east of the Fragrant Hills.

About 20 kilometres from central Beijing proper, the rear of the temple is set against the mountain cliffs, with its front to open fields.

The temple was first built during the Zhenguan period (627-249) of the Tang Dynasty, when it was also known as Shouansi (Temple of Peaceful Longevity).

It fell into ruin over time and was rebuilt and renamed several times. One of the last major renovations was completed in 1724.

The first structure, the shanmen, serves as the main gate. The second large building is the Devaraja Hall (Hall of the Heavenly Kings) and the third is the Hall of the Buddhas of the Three Worlds. In traditional temples, this would be the largest hall in the compound, but because the fourth hall contains the image of the Reclining Buddha, the situation here is reversed. The famous bronze Buddha is more than five metres long. It lies in a sleeping position, with one arm extended and the other propping up its head, surrounded by 12 smaller Buddhas. According to legend, this scene represents the Buddha on his deathbed giving instructions to his 12 disciples.

Tickets: 5 yuan (US$0.6), but 10 yuan (US$1.2) is required to enter the Botanical Garden.

To get there: Bus 333, 318, 360, 904, or special tour buses from Qianmen. Tel: 6259-1209

Dajue Temple

Dajue Temple (Temple of Enlightenment) stands at the foot of Yangtai Hill, in Beijing's western suburbs. The rolling hills here are sometimes said to resemble a sleeping lion.

The vista of two flanking temples, the Lotus Temple and the Temple of Universal Grace-sitting atop Hills, to the west and east of the Temple of Enlightenment, is popularly described as 'a lion rolling two embroidered balls'.

The principal structures in the temple are the Maitreya (Future Buddha) Hall, with a peaceful courtyard. The roof brackets and columns of the halls date from the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

A mountain spring flows by the Qiyun (Restful Clouds) Pavilion in the rear courtyard.

By the spring is a stupa which stands at the highest point in the temple complex.

On the grounds there is a giant 1,000-year-old gingko tree, a pool formed of giant white stone slabs, and ancient magnolia trees. On the top of the temple is a Liao Dynasty pagoda embraced by a cypress and pine.

Tickets: 10 yuan (US$1.2)

To get there: Take bus route 346 at the Summer Palace to Beianhe Station.

Tel: 6245-6163

Jietai Temple

Located 35 kilometres west of Beijing, Jietaisi, or Temple of the Odination Altar, takes its name from its ornate Ming marble altar. Built some 1,300 years ago, this altar is nearly five metres high and is decorated with delicate and exquisite carvings.

The temple was first built in 622, during the Tang Dynasty, but most of the buildings in this temple date from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The temple boasts a lot of ancient trees. Most of them are over 1,000 years old, weathered through history, having adopted unusual forms that scholars exclaim over and make legends about.

Unique construction layout, long history and unusual old pine trees make the temple a tourist must today.

Ticket: 35 yuan (US$4.5)

To get there: Take line one subway, or bus route 921, 336, 959 to Pingguoyuan Station and then change bus route 931 to the temple.

Tel: 6980-2232 6980-2645

Tanzhe Temple

Located eight kilometres west of Jietai Temple, Tanzhe Temple has seen numerous monks practice their Buddhist art for the rest of their lives here, thus leaving many pagoda tombs in different styles close by the temple.

Probably the best known is the one of Princess of Miaoyan, daughter of Kublai Khan, of the Yuan Dynasty. In order to redeem her father from killing so many people in battles, she converted herself to Buddhism, and spent the rest of her life here. Her pagoda tomb is a solid brick five-storey construction with elaborate eaves, with a smaller pagoda on each side for company.

Master Dehuada's tomb is a solid stone pagoda like an upside-down bowl, constructed entirely of carved white marble, granite and other precious stones, eye-catching and very different in colour from others in grey. The tombs provide an informational resource, both in written language and real objects, to the study of Buddhist pagoda evolution.

Tickets: 70 yuan (US$8.8)

To get there: Same transportation as it to Jietai temple.

Tel: 6086-1699, 6086-2244

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv. Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/norbuchatbot. Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv