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Shuanglin Temple

Shuanglin Temple

Standing in northern Qiaotou Village, Zhongdu County in the southwestern part of Pingyao ancient town, Shuanglin Temple, is 6 kilometers away from Pingyao ancient town.

It was originally named “Zhongdu Temple” as it was located in the former Zhongdu City. It got its name “Shuanglin Temple” around the Song Dynasty. The oldest stone tablet in the temple is “the Tablet of Aunt,” which was inscribed in the fourth year reign of Emperor Zhongxiang of the Northern Song Dynasty (1011 AD). Since it has been subject to the test of time, the words inscribed can’t be clearly seen today. The words, “rebuilt in the second year during the reign of Emperor Wuping of the Northern Qi Dynasty,” of the 20th line can be seen.

During the reign of Emperor Jingtai, Tianshun, Hongzhi, Zhengde and Longqing of the Ming Dynasty as well as Emperor Daoguang and Xuantong of the Qing Dynasty, it has been rebuilt on a large scale. The extant temple was mainly built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Looking from the outside, it resembles a castle with earth walls surrounding it. The temple is complete in structure with 10 halls and 3 yards. To its west side is a yard, its east side has rooms for storing scriptures, yards for practicing Zen and living rooms for the monks and its axis is where the Uranus Palace, Sakyamuni Palace, Daxiong Main Palace and Fomu Palace are located.

Crowned as “the treasure house of Eastern colored sculptures,” the colored sculptures in Shuanglin Temple have a high reputation. The structure of the Sakyamuni Palace is quite simple. There are frescos on the walls inside the temple that tell the story of Sakyamuni’s becoming a Buddha. The statues of the 18 disciples of the Buddha are the very essence of the colored sculptures in the temple.