Guangzhou Six Banyan Temple, China

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Six Banyan Temple

On the Six Banyan Road of Guangzhou, lies this famous Buddha temple. Built by Country Nanliang during the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420~577A.D.) with its former name Bao Zhuang Yan Temple.

It is say that in 1100A.D, the great writer Su Dongpo traveled around the city and wrote the two characters "Six Banyan" under six old Banyan trees in the temple, so later, people called it the Six Banyan Temple.

The structures of the Six Banyan Temple includes the main hall, the Guanyin Hall, the Liuzu Hall, the Flower Pagoda, the Rongyin Garden, the Lirong Pavilion and the Corridor of Monuments. All above are ancient relics. There are inscriptions on the monuments saying about the incidents from North Song Dynasty to Ch'ing Dynasty.

If we should say something about the kings in the history of China who believed Buddhism, we will not ignore King Liang Wudi. In 537, King Liang asked Buddhist named Yun Yu to built the temple and a Sheli Pagoda in Guangzhou.

The accomplished temple was the biggest temple in the area then, with the most complete facilities that attracted great many believers from all over the country. However, a fire later destroyed this temple. Believers rebuilt the temple in 989, the year of Emperor Duanhong of Northern Song Dynasty when the Buddhists in the temple deeply believed the 6th Master of the Buddhism Hui Neng.

The Sheli Pagoda was rebuilt in 1097A.D, and had collection of 1,000 Buddhist sculptures since then. Therefore, the pagoda believers also called it Thousand Buddhists Pagoda or the Flower Pagoda because of the colorful appearance.

The Main Shrine Hall is the most important construction of the temple. It is 14 meters high and 300 square meters large lying in the west of the Flower Pagoda. There are three big Buddhist sculptures made up of yellow brass with their names in the hall.

Built in 1663, they are all 6 meters high and weighting over 10 tons. They are the biggest ancient sculptures of Guangzhou. Also built in 1663, the Guanyin Hall is beside the main shrine hall and has 4 meters high sculpture of Buddha Guanyin.

In the autumn of 1985, the Education Bureau of Thailand gave the local government of Guangzhou a Buddha sculpture of Sakyamuni as a present. The sculpture is 2.6 meters high and weights a ton. The local government settled it in the hall of the Six Banyan Temple and the sculpture attracts more believers than ever.

In 1987, the local government rebuilt the Guanyin Hall, which made it more dignified and it is 233 square meters larger. The houses for the Buddhists, the Gongde Hall, and the Cangjing Pavilion were also builds at the same time that made the ancient temple larger.

The temple is a symbol of Guangzhou. If you missed the temple and the Guangdong (Cantonese) food, you have not really been to Guangzhou. So, when you are traveling around the city, do not forget to have a taste of Guangdong (Cantonese) food and a look of the Six Banyan Temple.