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Jade Buddha Temple
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrDeep among the hustle and bustle in Shanghai is the Jade Buddha Temple. It seems strange to see such a beautiful building with such a heritage so close to a busy, main round and surrounded by modern shops.
The temple dates back to 1882 and was founded by Hui Gen, who was an Abbot. He was on a pilgrimage that took him to Mount Emei and Mount Wutai , then Tibet and onto Burma. While in Burma he acquired five statues of Buddha made from jade. When he reached Shanghai, he had a temple built and left two of the statues there. During the uprising of 1911, the temple was destroyed and was not rebuilt until 1918. The Cultural Revolution saw it destroyed again, but the statues were well taken care of and when the final rebuilding occurred again in 1928, the statues had a permanent home.
Relics That Are StoredAs well as the statues of Buddha, there are other cultural relics stored at the temple including some fine porcelain works of art. The Buddhas themselves, the Recumbent Buddha, and the Sitting Buddha are made from white jade and this gives them a vivid and charming appearance. They show Sakyamuni; a peaceful mood, and there is also a Buddha that comes from Singapore.
There is a peaceful atmosphere throughout the temple and it is clear that many of the people who visit are not Buddhists, although many are as in each room there are people praying and making their own offerings of incense.
Layout of The TempleWhen walking round the temple, there is a courtyard with different rooms around it. In the courtyard, there are a number of metal burners and people offering gifts and saying prayers while burning what is called “ghost money”, “hell money” or “heaven money”. When burned, it smells of incense – a smell that you will get used to when walking around the temple – and is meant to be sent to those who have passed on so that they can spend it.
It is hard to believe that this temple is as modern as it is, and it has a classical style. There are three main parts of the temple, Jade Buddha Tower, Devajara Hal, and Mahavira Hall while along the sides are the Dining Hall, Kwan-yin Dian Hall, Zen Tang Hall, Amitabha Dian Hall, and the Recumbent Buddha Hall.
It seems that wherever you look there are statues and all have been exquisitely made – elephants and figures of entities important to the Buddhist faith. Even for those of you who don’t follow the faith or know who they are, they are worth viewing.
Grand Hall or Great HallStatues are plentiful in this area and include three Golden Buddhas: Gautama Buddha , Amitabha, and Bhaisajyaguru. The Gods of the 20 Heavens are gold and are to be found along the walls of the west and east side of the hall. Two groups of nine Arhat s are also inside and there is a big stature of Guanyin and Shan Cai is by her side, along with the sculptures of 53 teachers.
There was one part of the temple that came as a surprise as there are still 70 monks living and worshiping there, and suddenly you come upon their quarters. Washing is hung out and voices can be heard, but sightings are brief as they rush from one place to another. Some areas of the temple are private for the monks, but it would seem churlish to expect to see the entire building.
If you want to eat there, it has a vegetarian restaurant that serves Shanghai cuisine of a fairly good standard. Unlike many attraction cafés, there are over 80 items, some that look like meat but are clearly not, and anything can be eaten on the premises or taken away.
A shop sells smaller scale versions of the items that are used in ceremonies. It also has a lot of other little, tourist-type items and there is a man who will provide you with a seal of your name while you wait. One issue, at the time, was being approached by a member of staff who offers to show the tourist a specific item, and then it is very difficult to get away without making a purchase, so make sure you want to buy an item before entering.
Travel TipsEntrance to the temple is ¥20 RMB ($3.20 USD) each and it is opened from 8.30 AM until 17.00 PM. There is an additional charge to see the Jade Buddha.
Getting there is easy as the following buses pass - 19, 206, 316 or 738 and alight at Jiangning Road Anyuan Road Station.
On the subway, it is Line 7 to Changshou Road Station, leaving at exit 5 and travelling along Xinhui Road and turning right till Jiangning Road – then onto Anyuan Road.
Taxis are cheap so unless you are on a budget, this may be a better option.
Photographs are not allowed in some sections of the temple.
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Author: mekwriters. Last updated: Sep 05, 2014