Temple, built in 326 AD, is located in a long, narrow valley between Fei
Lai Feng and North Peak to the northwest of the West Lake. it is one of
the famous Buddhist temples in China. A legend said that a a senior Indian
monk named Huili built the temple and named Lingyin (Soul's Retreat) Temple
because the setting has a quiet and beautiful grandeur that encourages
a feeling of peace and for contemplation.
Lingyin Temple is laid out along traditional lines. It is made up of the
Hall of the Heavenly King, the Hall of the Great Hero, the Hall of the
Buddha of Medicine, the East and West Winding Corridors, the west wing,
the Liandeng Tower, the Dabei Tower, the Abbot's Room and the dining halls.
entering the Heavenly King Hall, with its double eaves and some sixty
feet in height, images of the Four Heavenly Kings stand upon either side
of the Maitreya. The ceiling is ornately painted with phoenixes and dragons.
The principle Buddha here is Maitreya or Milefo, the Laughing Buddha.
Hall of the Great Hero is seven rooms wide, five rooms deep and single
storey construction. This 33.6-meter-high Hall, distinguished by double
eaves, is the highest single storey buildings to be found in China. A
statue of Sakyamuni, carved out of 24 pieces of camphor wood, stands 19.6
meters high in the hall. This is one of the largest wooden statues in
China and is covered with gold leaf. there is a carved gilt figure standing
behind as a guard. In front of the hall are two stone pagodas built during
the Five Dynasties (907-960).
Lingyin Temple has been destroyed 16 times. It experienced its zenith
during the Five Dynasties Period. The most recent one is after the Cultural
Revolution. The current buildings are modern restorations of late Qing
buildings. In 1961, the temple was listed for protection as a key provincial
historical and cultural site. It is considered a leading centre for research
relative to Chinese Buddhist culture.