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Zhihua Temple

the gate of Temple of Wisdom AttainedThe Zhihua Temple (Temple of Wisdom Attained), in Lumicang Hutong of Dongcheng District, was first built in 1443, or the 8th year of Ming Emperor Zhengtong's reign, as the ancestral temple of Wang Zhen, who was the chief eunuch of Emperor Zhengtong. In 1742, the 7th year of Qing Emperor Qianlong's  reign it was converted into a temple. Imposingly constructed and richly decorated, the Zhihua Temple has kept the architectural characteristics of the Ming Dynasty, although it was repaired and rebuilt many times during the Ming and Qing. Zhihua Temple is one of the best-preserved and finest examples of Buddhist architecture of the Ming, possessing a high value of art. In 1961, Zhihuasi became one of the sites under protection as key national cultural relics.

Zhihua Temple

Major structures in the Zhihua Temple include the main gate, Bell and Drum Towers, Zhihuamen (Gate of Wisdom Attained), Rulaidian (Hall of Tathagata Buddha)and Dabeitang (Hall of the Goddess of Mercy). Rulaidian, 5-bayed in width with a double - eaved gable-hip roof, is dedicated to the worship of the Tathagata Buddha. Almost 10, 000 niches in the walls of the hall each house a small statue of Buddha. 13 centimeters in height. So the hall was also called Wanfoge (Pavilion of 10, 000 Buddhas). There used to be an exquisite coffered ceiling in the hall, entirely gilt. Unfortunately, it has been stolen and sold overseas by the monks of the temple in the 1 930s. Now, the coffered ceiling is in the Nelson Museum in Kansas, USA.

Cultural relics in Zhihua Temple

Precious cultural relics in Zhihua Temple are Zhuanluncang (Revolving Scripture Cabinet)and wooden printing blocks of the Longzang. The Zhuanluncang, resting on a marble base, was octagonal in shape and made of wood. On the surface of the scripture cabinet is full of relief patterns. This is the oldest of its kinds in Beijing. The wooden blocks of the Longzang, a series of Buddhist scriptures containing more than 7, 000 volumes which are important documents for the studies of Buddhism, philosophy, history, literature and art, were cut for printing between 1733 and 1738 by orders of emperor Yongzheng and Qianlong, 78, 000 pieces in total. Bearing exquisitely characters and vividly engraved images, it is the only set printing blocks of Longzang existing in China, and in 1988, it was moved to the Yunjusi for protection. Additional, Zhihua Temple is also famous for its unique Buddhist music, which has been passed on by generations for over 500 years and is known as the "live fossils of the music".

Zhihua Temple Tour

With a long history, Zhihua Temple is very popular among some tourists. If you are interested in Buddhism, then Zhihua Temple will be a good place for you during your Beijing tour.