Guiyuan Temple (guī yuán sì 归元寺), which covers an area of 46,900 square meters situated on Cuiwei Street (cuì wēi jiē 翠微街), is one of the four biggest temples for Buddhist meditation in Hubei as well as an important Buddhist temple in China. It is very famous in the Buddhist world owning to perfect construction, spiffy sculpture and abundant collection. A large number of people including our compatriots in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and those residing abroad, as well as many foreign tourists have successively been here to visit it. They presented gifts to the temple separately.
First built in the early Qing Dynasty (qīng cháo 清朝, 1644-1911) by two monks named Baiguang (bái guāng 白光) and Zhufeng (zhǔ fēng 主峰) on the base of Sunflower Garden owned by a poet, the temple got its name form Buddhist chants: "With purity kept in mind, one has the thoroughfare everywhere." Guiyuan Temple has survived through more than 300 hundred years of repeated cycles of prosperity and decline, above all else, it is always leading the other temple in Wuhan with prosperous public worship, flourishing Buddhist ceremony and many pilgrims.
The temple was destroyed and rebuilt for several times in its history and the present temple dates from the early Republic of China (1912-1949). Covering an area of 46,900 square meters with a floor space of 20,000 square meters, the temple mainly consists of Daxiongbaodian Hall, Arhat Hall, Sutra Collection Pavilion, etc.
Daxiongbaodian Hall (dà xióng bǎo diàn 大雄宝殿) is the main hall of the temple. Statue of Sakyamuni (shì jiā móu ní 释迦牟尼), who preached Buddhism for 45 years as the founder of Buddhism, is enshrined in this hall. On his right is a statue of Mahakasyapa (mó hē jiā yè 摩诃迦叶), one of the ten disciples of Sakyamuni. It is said that he was of eminent virtue and was reckoned to be the first patriarch. After Sakyamuni died he continued his career. On the left is a statue of Ananda (ā nán 阿难). Also one of the ten disciples of Sakyamuni, Ananda was the master of hearing and memory and was reckoned to be the second patriarch. He followed Sakyamuni for more than 20 years and is said to have compiled the Buddhist sutras.
First built in 1850AD during the reign of Emperor Daoguang of the Qing dynasty, the Arhat Hall (luó hàn táng 罗汉堂) is the most characteristic building of the Temple with its constructional layout being in the four-in-one-square shape. In the Arhat Hall are five hundred statues of the disciples Buddha sculpted by two artists between 1822 and 1831. Some look experienced and astute, others jolly, angry, or complaisant; in other words, the expressions show the full spectrum of human feelings. And they stimulate people's imagination. The 500 arhats are now the best-preserved and very high artistic-valued group carvings in China.
Sutra Collection Pavilion
Built in 1696AD during the reign of Emperor Kangxi (kāng xī dì 康熙帝) in the Qing dynasty, the Sutra Collection Pavilion (cáng jīng gé 藏经阁) is an indicative building in the temple for collecting Buddhist scriptures and art treasure. In this hall, a statue of Sakyamuni carved from a single block of white jade is most attractive. The statue, harmonizing well with the tranquility of the chambers and pavilions, companying with the incense smoke filtering through the sky, gives the temple a majestic magic. Besides, over 7000 Buddhist sutras and sutras from Japan, India, Burma, Thailand, etc are all stored in this hall.
Guiyuan Temple is famous not only for spreading Buddhism throughout the whole country, but also for perfect architecture, excellent sculpture and rich collection of Buddhist doctrine among Buddhist temples. In 1956 Guiyuan Temple was listed as preserved antiques unit of Hubei province and in 1983, it was appointed as one of the key Buddhist temple of Han nationality district in China by the State Council.
Location: It is located at Cuiwei Road, Hanyang (hàn yáng 汉阳)
RMB 50 on the first and fifteenth day in lunar calendar and on the birthday of Caishen (cái shén 财神) who is a mystical elder bringing fortune to people.
RMB 30 on the first day of a year and in spring festival
RMB 20 at other times
Opening hours: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
The vegetarian diet in Guiyuan Temple is very famous, you should have a taste of it.
You can take the bus 45, 707, 524 and the tourist bus 1 to get there. And it is convenient for you to book a room in a nearby hotel.