Shandong Lingyan Temple, China
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The Lingyan Temple is located in Wande, a town in Changqing County of Shandong Province.
It lies upon the Taishan Mountain and is 70 km away from Jinan. The temple is a famous scenic spot and a historic Buddhism place.
The temple was built in Eastern Jin Dynasty and became famous in Northern Wei. During the Tang and Song Dynasty, it was called "the first of the four most famous Chinese temples" because it attracted a large number of pilgrims.
There're mountains around the temple and in the temple, there're winding paths lead to quiet seclusion. Beautiful scene are everywhere in the temple: ancient green trees, stones with strange forms and grand halls.
There're tens of main constructions in the temple like Thousand Buddha Hall, Forest of Tombs and Pagodas, Pizhi Pagoda and the Main Hall ( in which Sakyamuni is the central figure of a triad enthroned upon lotus pedestals, the two others being usu. Ananda and Kasyapa, his two favourite disciples).
Every construction has its beauty. The most attractive view is the colorful Song statues of 40 Disciples of Buddha in the Thousand Buddha Hall. Each one is 1.1 meter high and vivid: Some are sitting quiet, some are talking about the scripture and some are thinking hard.
Near the Thousand Buddha Hall, there's an exquisite pagoda towering to the skies. It is the famous pagoda - the Pizhi Pagoda. If you go into it, you'll find it is telling a story of Buddhism - the whole life of King A Yu. There're relieves about Lotus in the Hell on the 54 meters high and nine floors pagoda. On the foundation stone, there're elegant mural paintings.
It is said in Shandong Province: traveling around Taishan Mountain but missing the Lingyan Temple means you've never been to Taishan Mountain. From the saying, you can know how important the temple is.
The Statues of the 40 Disciples of the Buddha
In the Thousand Buddha Hall, there're statues of 40 disciples of the Buddha. Each statue has its own facial expression. After more than a thousand years, they still standing vividly in front of people. Everybody will highly praise the statues whoever he is a common visitor or an artist of sculpture.
Liu Haisu, the great artist of China has written his praise with calligraphy: The statues in the Lingyan Temple are the finest statues in the world and how vivid they are! From this you can see, the highly skill of ancient workmen is admired by the modern artists.
In the early years of ancient China, people made statues by giant stones and wood. Later, soil was used. Virtually, statues made up of soil are much more exquisite than those made up of stones. The 40 soil statues made in Song Dynasty are more than a thousand years old, but they're perfectly reserved. This is rare!