EXTRA: Longxing Temple, Zhengding, Hebei

(This article was published in the Shenzhen Daily on June 8, 2015.)

Buddhas (佛) in the exquisite collection at Longxing Temple (隆兴寺), Zhengding, Hebei (河北, 正定).

September 3, 2012 - On the final touring day of my two-week trip (indeed, the final day of my Chinese pilgrimage so far--but I didn't know at the time that it would be), I again visited an outlying area of Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei Province. This time I went to Zhengding, where the Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport (out of which I would be flying) is also located.

I had been in Zhengding once before, a little over a year earlier, to visit the Linji Temple and several other famous pagodas. But I had entirely missed Longxing Temple, one of the most beautiful places I have seen in China.

The temple was once a private garden which was converted to use as a temple over 1,400 years ago, in the Sui Dynasty. It was expanded in the Song in 971, and twice more in the Qing under the great emperors Kangxi and Qianlong.

It is no longer actively used for religious purposes. Instead, the temple has become a museum, and a repository for the remains of other temples in the region. The buildings are huge and stately, and in excellent repair. And the collection of statuary is beyond compare.

In fact, one statue--a giant bronze statue of the Buddha--has given the temple a nickname, the "Temple of the Great Buddha." Elsewhere is a hall with twelve statues of Vairocana, the "Great Sun Buddha," in three groups of four. These are supported by another thousand smaller statues. Another hall holds a colossal statue of Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Perhaps the most unusual item here is the rotating sutra repository, a kind of bookshelf that can be turned as a substitute for prayer.

And so it goes: one magnificent hall after another filled with priceless works of the best in Chinese Buddhist art, and the last place visited on my Chinese pilgrimage as of this writing in December, 2019.

GPS Info:
  • 38.14238, 114.58276


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


More pictures can be found here.

The Great Buddha at Longxing Temple

This revolving sutra repository could be turned as a substitute for prayer.

Ancient musicians play ancient instruments in front of an ancient hall.

An unusual arrangement of 1,012 statues of Vairocana Buddha

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