No. 12: Jing'an Temple, Shanghai

(This article was published in the Shenzhen Daily on March 12, 2012.)

When I visited Jing'an Temple (静安寺) in Shanghai (上海), it was just being rebuilt. On a later
visit, although the temple was not finished, I saw this silver figure of Shakyamuni (释迦牟尼).
August 26, 2009 - The next morning, I walked back to Jing'an Si Station, where I finally saw the interior of the temple there, which is under construction.

Shanghai's Jing'an Temple (literally "Temple of Peace and Tranquility") is one of the oldest AND newest temples I've been to.

It was built originally in 247, during the Three Kingdoms period. It was moved during the Song Dynasty, and was then reconstructed in the 1880s, in the late Qing.

And it's happening again.

On my first visit, in the summer of 2009, only a few side halls had statues (including an impressive 11-ton jade Buddha and a Guanyin made of 5.2 tons of thousand-year-old camphor wood); the rest were in mid-construction. But the massive wooden halls alone were impressive enough.

Although construction continues, I was fortunate to return this past January to see the stunning 8.8-meter-high Buddha made of 15 tons of pure silver.

There are some nice little touches to be seen, too. Behind the silver Buddha is a series of panels made of various colors of jade showing scenes from the Buddha's life (weight not given). And outside, right in front of a huge shopping mall, is an impressive modern Ashoka pillar like those erected in India by the king honored at Ningbo's Ayuwang Temple.

One warning: although called "Peace and Tranquility," this is a busy temple in a busy area; don't expect an atmosphere of contemplation!

Jing'an Temple couldn't be easier to reach; it's right over Jing'an Temple Station, in the heart of Jing'an District. You can't miss it!

GPS Info:
  • 31.223011, 121.445655



Ashoka Pillar outside Shanghai's Jing'an Temple
Massive wooden halls at the rebuilt temple
11-ton jade Buddha in the Main Hall
15-ton silver Buddha, the centerpiece in the Main Hall
Jade panel showing the Buddha's life, behind the silver Buddha
Guanyin made of ancient camphor wood, in a side hall

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