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Home Travel in Zhejiang Jingci Temple
Jingci Temple
Travel in Zhejiang

    Jingci Temple
Jingci Temple
(jìng cí sì 净慈寺) is located at the foot of Huiri Peak (huì rì fēng 慧日峰) of Nanping Hill (nán píng shān 南屏山) in Hangzhou City (háng zhōu shì 杭州市), Zhejiang Province (zhè jiāng shěng 浙江省). It is the second prominent Buddhist temple around West Lake. Together with Lingyin Temple (líng yǐn sì 灵隐寺), it is called the jewel of the southern and northern hills. In 1983, the temple was listed as a national key Buddhist temple in Han's area by state council. Jingci Temple hosts one of Ten Top Scenic Spots of West Lake (xī hú 西湖) --- "Evening Bell Ringing at the Nanping Hill (nán píng wǎn zhōng 南屏晚钟)."

The Main Shrine HallJingci Temple was initially called "Huiri Yongming Temple (huì rì yǒng míng yuàn 慧日永明院)". It was first built in AD 954 by Wuyue Emperor (wú yuè wáng 吴越王) for a famous monk Yongming (yǒng míng 永明). In North Song Dynasty (běi sòng 北宋), its name was changed to Shouning Chan Temple (shòu níng chán yuàn 寿宁禅院). And in South Song Dynasty (nán sòng 南宋), the name was changed again, that is what we called today --- Jingci Temple, and the 500 Luohan Halls (luó hàn táng 罗汉堂) were built. The temple was destroyed and rebuilt several times in the history. There is a newly forge copper bell, weighing over 100 Kilograms. On it carved The Lotus Sutra (miào fǎ lián huā jīng 妙法莲花经), with 68,000 characters. Many famed Buddhist monks used to stay in the monastery.

Nan Ping Wan ZhongNow the temple consists of three big halls respectively in the front, middle and back. The Main Shrine Hall (dà xióng bǎo diàn 大雄宝殿) is in the middle. In the west of the Main Shrine Hall is Jizu Hall (jì zǔ diàn 济祖殿) in front of which there is a Wood - Carrying Ancient Well (yùn mù jǐng 运木古井). The well is a special attraction in the temple. A large piece of wood floating on the surface of the water in the well. It was allegedly left by Master Ji (jì gōng 济公) when he used his superhuman power to carry wood through the well to build the temple. According to record of Ci Si Zhi (cí sì zhì 慈寺志), Master Ji entered into religion in the Lingyin Temple, later he moved to Jingci Temple and lived there in his rest life.

There is a stele pavilion inscribed with four big characters “Nan Ping Wan Zhong” on the right side of the temple’s gate. The Evening Bell Ringing at the Nanping Hill is striked here. The bell has a long standing reputation in the history. The poet Zhang Dai in Tang Dynasty described bell like this, "The night air is in the Nanping Hill, the wind is as thin as paper, the bell ring emerged from the top, the night air crossing the river." Ming Taizu Hongwu (míng tài zǔ hóng wǔ 明太祖洪武) Period (1368 - 1398), a huge bell was casted, the bell weighs about 20,000 Jin (斤). When evening comes, the sun falls to the west, the bell echoed in the mountains and clear blue sky. As there are many grotesque caves and stones in Nanping Hill, the echo of the bell resounded back to the rocks, so the bell ring can spread to more than 10 miles away.

Wood Carrying Ancient WellIt is said that Emperor Kangxi (kāng xī 康熙) had visited to the top ten views in West Lake. He built many pavilions, including the stele pavilion of Nan Ping Wan Zhong. Unfortunately, in the late Qing dynasty, the bronze bell has disappeared in the chaos of war, so people could not hear the ring. Until October 1984, the bronze bell had been recasted under the help of Buddhist circles in Japan. In recently years, when New Year’s Eve comes, personages of all circles in Hang Zhou, foreign guests, oversea Chinese and visitors will gather in and outside the bell tower of Jingci Temple to strike the bell. When the 108 bell rang, it is just the time of New Year. This event symbolizes peace, happiness, stability and unity, it pours new meanings and charms to the ancient Evening Bell Ringing at the Nanping Hill.

In the backyard of the temple, the funerary tower of Rujing Chan Master (rú jìng chán shī 如净禅师) in Song Dynasty (sòng cháo 宋朝) is still exist.

Jingci Temple
Address: No. 56 Nanshan Road (nán shān 南山路), West Lake District (xī hú qū 西湖区), HangZhou City, Zhejiang Province
Admission fee: RMB 10
Opening hours: 7:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Bus: No. K4, 504, Y1, 2, 3, Holiday 5, or 7