The Guoqing Temple is a well known Buddhist temple in Taizhou, Zhejiang Province, China.
The temple is located on Tiantai mountain, which is roughly 220 kilometres from the city of Hangzhou. Visitors are treated to a walk through calm and fresh environs as they take the path up the mountain.
The temple is considered as the birthplace of the Tiantai sect of Mahāyāna Buddhism, and was reconstructed several times during the Tang, Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties.
From there, the Tiantai sect of Buddhism spread to both Korea and Japan during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD).
Originally built in 598 CE during the Sui dynasty, the Temple was founded by the monk – Zhiyi.
Spread around an area of 250,000 sq. ft. the temple features around 600 rooms in a total of 14 different halls, including the Grand Hall of Sakyamuni, the Hall of Five Hundred Arhats and the Hall of Monk Jigong.
The temple, which was greatly vandalised during the cultural revolution, was later restored by the Tiantai County Guoqing Temple Restoration Committee, which was appointed by the Tiantai County officials.
The 59.4 metre tall brick Sui Pagoda with 09 levels was built at the temple area in the year 597 CE is still standing, making it one of the oldest surviving brick pagodas in China.
Meanwhile, one of the Buddha statues handed to Sri Lankan Missions abroad in 2011 by the then President – Mahinda Rajapaksa to mark the 2600th ‘Sambuddha Jayanthi’, has also been placed at the Guoqing temple. Citing temple sources, the Foreign Ministry of Sri Lanka had stated that the Temple’s relations with Sri Lanka can be traced back to 200 years , and it is the third Buddha statue of Sri Lankan origin to be donated.
(Pics : Shanika Jayasekara)