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Tayuan Temple

Tayuan Temple

Located in the central area of the Buddhist culture region of Taihuai County, Tayuan Temple was originally a yard of Huayan Temple. In the 5th year during the reign of Emperor Zhudi of the Ming Dynasty (1407AD), it was expanded from a yard to a temple and got its name Taiyuan Temple. It’s one of the famous five temples for practicing Zen, and one of the famous ten temples for accommodating monks in Wutai Mountain. Tayuan Temple stands in the north facing the south, consisting of rows of temple and monks’ dorms. Its axis is filled with magnificent structures such as screen walls, arches, stone stairways, passing doors, gates, drum towers, Tianwang Hall, Daci Yanshou Temple, Cangjing Mansion, Shanhai Mansion, Wenshu Pagoda Temple, and so on. It has an area of 15,000 square meters with over 130 halls and houses.

Currently, there are three exquisite wooden-arch structures that were built during the Wanli Period of the Ming Dynasty. Daxiong Hall stands in front of the temple, Cangjing Mansion in its back and Sheli Pagoda in its middle. The statues in the halls are all well-preserved. There are 20 layers of wooden rotating wheels in the Cangjing Mansion, each of which is placed with Buddhist sutras. These sutras are placed there for the monks to recite. Sheli Pagoda is the main building in the temple. It was a Tibetan-style pagoda built in the shape of a rectangle. Being some 60 meters high, it was constructed with rice pastes and limestone, towering amongst the mountains and trees and standing out with its white pagoda. The tower spires, trays and pearls are all made of bronze. Wind-bells are decorated in the middle of the pagoda and the trays. When the bells all dance to the blowing wind, you will find the pagoda is so charming and enticing. Today, people reckon this pagoda as a symbol of Wutai Mountain. The Tayuan Temple have significant importance in China.

Tayuan Temple is home to Big White Pagoda, which is the very symbol of the Wutain Mountain. The pagoda is 50 meters high and its color is white. Over 200 bronze bells are hung on the top of the pagoda. The sound made by the bells is loud and clear.

To the east of the Big White Pagoda stands a smaller white pagoda. Legend has it that inside the pagoda stores the golden hairs of Bodhisattva Wenshu when he presents himself to the people on earth. Therefore, the pagoda is also called “Wenshu Hair Pagoda.”

Located north of the Big White Pagoda, is Cangjing Mansion, which is a wooden structure storing over 20,000 Buddhist sutras in Chinese, Mongolian and Tibetan characters. Among them, there are over 2,000 complete and widely-read sutras that were written from the Song Dynasty to the Qianlong Period of the Qing Dynasty.