Located in Guiyuan Temple Road, Hangyang District, Wuhan, Guiyuan Temple is famous as the first Chan (Zen) temple to be built in Hubei Province. It was constructed in 1658, the fifth year of reign of Shunzhi Emperor in Qing Dynasty. It is a large building complex, featuring many a variety of structures with the most famous being the Hall of Arhats, which was built in 1850. There are 500 arhat (Buddhist disciples) statues inside. They are said to have taken nine years to carve, and each is unique. They are so beautiful and many are quite intricate; worth the time to walk around to see all of them!
Guiyuan Temple consists of five courtyards, including the eastern courtyard, the western courtyard, the southern courtyard, the northern courtyard and the middle courtyard. The eastern one is the entrance of the temple; the southern one is Arhat Hall; the northern one is the Sutra Collection Pavilion; the middle one is Daxiong Hall. The most worth seeing buildings in the temple are Depositary of Buddhist Texts, the Great Buddha’s Hall (Daxiong Hall), Arhat Hall.
Depositary of Buddhist Texts is the main building in the northern courtyard. It was originally built from 1920 to 1922. It is a two floor pavilion-style building, about 25 meters high. The whole building and windows are decorated with the color painting, wood carvings and piercings, and exquisite and magnificent. It is the only ancient building with brick-wood construction in Wuhan. Here houses many Buddhist relics collections, in addition to the sacred Buddhist scriptures, there are Buddhas statues, stone carvings, wood carvings, paintings, rubbings, and foreign language books.
Arhat Hall It is the main building in the southern courtyard. Here enshrines 500 Arhat statues. The hall was originally built in 1852, then destroyed in a war, and was rebuilt in 1895. The reconstruction completed in 1902. It has a history of more than 200 years.
The Great Buddha’s Hall (Daxiong Hall) is the main hall of whole temple. It is where the monks have their classes in the mornings and evenings. On the high platform in the middle of the hall consecrates Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism. In the back of Sakyamuni Statue is dedicated to the most unique Buddha statue in the temple – colored clay statues of “Island Goddess of Mercy”. It is a large group statues, 6 meters high and 4 meters wide, with an angle of inclination of 30 degree. The statures were made of silk, linen and other brown virgin materials, no use of reinforced cement. Although the status characters are quite a lot, but they were made with molded with distinct gradation and bright color. And they were well protected from wars.
If you are devout Buddhist and have a chance to visit Wuhan, you should not miss the temple.
【Chinese name】: 归元寺
【How to get to Guiyuan Temple in Wuhan】: There is only one Bus Route passing by the entrance of Guiyuan Temple: Bus No.401. You may take Bus Route No. 401 and get off at Guiyuan Temple Stop(翠微路归元寺). You may take Bus Route 5, 532, 559, 727, 728 to鹦鹉大道西大街, then walk for 600 meters to reach the temple.