Lingyin Temple

Updated : 2016-08-05

Also known as the Yunlin Temple, this temple, on the northeast part of West Lake, is the most celebrated place around the lake and one of China’s 10 most important Buddhist temples.

It was founded by an Indian monk, Hui Li, who came to China as a missionary during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420) in the year 328. He was so Impressed by the peaceful environment that he deemed it a suitable place for the immortals and decided to build it with the name“Lingyin”. It reached its peak in the 10th century with 9 multi-story buildings, 18 pavilions, 72 halls, and more than 1,300 rooms, inhabited by more than 3,000 monks. 


[Photo from en.gotohz.com]


[Photo from en.gotohz.com]

Today it is still a major destination for both pilgrims and tourists. The abbots have included Master Yongming Yanshou, Master Dahui Zonggao, the legendary monk Daoji, Master Yinguang, a 13th generation descendent of the pure land sect, and Dachuan Lingyin Puji, the compiler of the Wudeng Huiyan (Five Lamps Compendium).

In its 1,700 years, it has gone through repeated destructions and renovations at least 10 times, with the two latest large-scale renovations occurring in 1956 and 1975. The current monastery shares a similar layout with temples of the Jiangnan region and has been renovated in line with reconstruction work at the end of the Qing Dynasty. 

As one of five most-revered Zen Buddhist sites, the monastery’s Feilai Feng (peak flying from afar) is famous for its grottos and religious rock carvings. There are more than 470 Buddhist statues in the limestone that span the period from the Five Dynasties, Ten Kingdoms Era (907-960) to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), with 335 that are are well-preserved.


[Photo from en.gotohz.com] 


[Photo from en.gotohz.com]

Chinese name:Lingyin Chanzong

Address:1 Fayun Lane


District:West Lake Scenic Area