china edition


Yangzhou - Daming Temple

Jiangsu - Lianyungang - Nanjing - Suzhou - Wuxi - Yangzhou - Zhenjiang

Daming Temple is part of a complex of buildings. The temple was built in the 5th century. Large incense burners with bells stand in front of the main hall in which services are held daily at 4 pm.

Daming TempleThe temple has strong ties with Japan. The Buddhist abbot, Jian Zhen (688-763), was invited to teach in Japan, and made 5 attempts to go there, but failed each time. It was on his 6th attempt, at the age of 66 and by then blind, that he succeeded in reaching the Japanese capital of Nara, where he set up a study centre at one of the temples. His contribution in bringing understanding of Chinese literature and arts, architecture, medicine and printing to Japan was commemorated in 1963, when a number of Chinese and Japanese Buddhists decided to build the Jian Zhen Memorial Hall.

The walls are decorated with murals depicting his journey. In 1980 the Japanese donated a wooden statue of Jian Zhen, a copy of the beautiful lacquer statue of the monk in the Nara Temple in Japan. In front of the wooden statue is an incense burner presented by Emperor Hirohito of Japan.

Pingshan Hall was built by the great Song dynasty scholar, statesman and poet, Ouyang Xiu, in 1048 to entertain his guests when he was prefect of Yangzhou. A statue of him now stands in the hall. A student of his, Su Dongpo, also an offical in Yangzhou, wrote a commemorative poem about Ouyang, which is engraved in stone on the walls.

In the garden of the temple is another of the 7 great springs of China, mentioned in the Tang dynasty book of teas. It is known as the "Fifth Spring under Heaven".