No. 95: Zhantanlin Temple, Jiuhuashan, Anhui

(This article was published in the Shenzhen Daily on May 12, 2014.)

This elephant is a fitting symbol of the mammoth (get it?) Zhantanlin Temple.

June 23, 2012 - The previous day, I had looked at a handful of temples before returning to my hotel. This morning, I discovered that one of the ones I had seen--which the guard had said was "Dabei Lou"--was actually Zhantan Lin, my first goal for the day.

The first impression one has of this temple is BIG. The next is new. Facing the road are three large, new halls--construction began on them in 2001.

The one on the left has four huge statues of Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, standing back-to-back. (The alternate name "Dabei Lou" means "Hall of Great Compassion.") This figure is surrounded by statues representing appearances of Guanyin numbering 84 (by one monk's count) or 116 (by another)--I didn't take time to do it myself.

The right-hand hall is similar in many ways, but in the center there are four gigantic statues of Dizang, Jiuhua Shan's patron bodhisattva, also back-to-back. There are also 99 seated figures of Dizang around the hall.

There are two life-sized statues of elephants in front of the central hall. Inside the hall are large (again!) statues of the historical Buddha with Puxian (Samantabhadra) and Wenshu (Manjushri) Bodhisattvas; these three together are called a "Huayan Triad." To my eye, the statues looked a bit like cartoon characters.

At the back of the property, crowded in behind a hotel, is the actual main hall of the temple, which--in addition to a central statue of Shakyamuni--has the gold-plated mummy of another Jiuhua "saint," this one of the monk Ming Jing, who died in 1992.

Big and extravagant as it was, something about this temple left me cold. But before the day was over, I would have much warmer and more memorable experiences on the mountain.

GPS Info:
  • 30.47711, 117.802


(Regarding problems with this map, please see the CHINA section on this page.)


More pictures can be found here.

Elephants in front of the new central hall at mammoth Zhantanlin Temple.
The "Huayan Triad" in the central hall exhibits a cartoonish quality.
The old main hall is squeezed in behind a new hotel.
Four back-to-back statues of Dizang are found in the right hall.
Two of the huge new halls at Zhantanlin Temple

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