Temple Of The Six
Buddhism has remained the most influential
religion in the life of Guangzhou people as well as
those of China. There are many Buddhist temples in the
city, and the Temple of Six Banyan Trees is one of them.
This Buddhist temple is about 1,400 years old, and has
witnessed a lot of ups and downs of the Chinese history.
It is situated at the Liurong Road. Coincidentally enough,
the literal meaning of this road refers to the road
on which the six banyan trees are located.
The Temple of Six Banyan Trees was not always
known by this name. In fact, like the structure itself,
its name has also gone through several changes. The
current name popped up during the reign of the Song
Dynasty. In the beginning, the temple was known as Changshou
Temple or the Longevity Temple, which was later changed
into Jingshui Temple, before finally getting its current
name. The present name of the temple was suggested by
Su Dongpo, a well known litterateur. He found the presence
of six banyan trees in the temple compound quite soothing
Considered to be one of the oldest Guangzhou
attractions, the temple was built in the year 537 AD
and currently houses various relics that refer to the
rich culture of ancient China. You will find a pagoda
located in the temple's middle part. The pagoda is known
as the Six Banyan Pagoda or the Flowery Pagoda, and
is about 57 meters tall. On the left of the pagoda,
you will find ten tablets, one of which narrates the
history of the structure. You will also find an image
of Su Dongpo in one of the tablets. There is also a
bronze sculpture of Hui Neng.
The main hall of the temple is known as
Daxiong Baodian Hall and has three famous statues, namely
Amitabha, Sakyamuni, and Apothecary Buddha. The symbolic
meaning of these statues is that they denote past, present,
and future respectively. You can burn incenses and make
a wish before these statues.
The most amazing thing of this pagoda is
that you cannot properly have an idea by just looking
at it from the outside. When looked from the outside,
though the pagoda seems like only a 9 storeyed structure,
it actually has 17 storeys. Once you go to the top level
of the pagoda, you will find a bronze column that has
about 1000 figures of Buddha. The pagoda has a very
ornate design, which justifies its name.
The other halls of the temple include the
Tianwang Hall and the Weituo Hall. In the former room,
you will see a statue of the Laughing Buddha. The latter
is erected in the memory of a Chinese general named
Weituo, whose figurine is also present in the hall.
According to popular beliefs, the general had recovered
many art Buddhist relics and valuables from thieves.
The best time to visit the temple is during
the Chinese Spring Festival and Lantern Festival. The
temple remains open from 8:30 am to 5 pm. Since it will
take you a full day to explore the temple in detail,
you should plan accordingly. Your visit to the Temple
Six Banyan Trees will help you understand the importance
and influence of Buddhism in the Chinese life.