china edition


Datong - Huayan Temple

Shanxi - Datong - Pingyao - Taiyuan

Situated in the southwest of Datong, Huayan Monastery, named after the Huayan sect of Buddhism, is a complex of the Upper Huayan Monastery, also called the Great Temple of Treasure (Da Xiong Bao Dian) and the Lower Huayan Monastery.

Huayan TempleThe Upper Huayan Monastery is considered to be one of the 2 biggest Buddhist halls existent in China. And it was built under the Liao dynasty in 1062. The Monastery suffered from a severe damage in the last years of the Liao and yet it was restored by the Jin in 1140.

Unlike the most temple buildings in China which face southward, the main building, the Great Temple of Treasure, faces to the east. The legend goes that Qidan, an ancient tribe appeared in 400 BC in the northern China, had a popular custom of worshipping the Sun. Later when they dominated the northern China, this practice influenced the Han people. There are 5 major Buddhas in the center of the hall, either side of which are 20 celestial warriors.

Contrary to the splendid Upper Huayan Monastery, the Lower Huayan Monastery, constructed in 1038, has a touch of quaintness, where Buddhist scripture are stored. The Trinity Buddhas comprising the Past Buddha, the Present Buddha and the future Buddha are enshrined and worshipped here.

Around the sides of the Trinity Buddhas are 28 guardian figures, among which the Bodhisattva with a pious prayer pose is the most lifelike.