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South Putuo Temple

South Putuo Temple is situated at the foot of Wulao Peak and lies on the southern end of Xiamen.  The temple was first built more than a thousand years ago during the Tang Dynasty and is famous throughout Fujian as a sacred place for Buddhism.  It is called South Putuo for its conformity to Guanyin (Goddess of Mercy) and Bodhisattva (Buddhist seeker of enlightenment) as well as its Bodhimandala (a place where a Bodhisattva has achieved "Buddha hood").

South Putuo temple has a total area of 25.8 hectares and is spread out over the mountain's slope.  From the north to the south lie the Hall of Heavenly Kings, the Precious Hall of Great Heroes, the Hall of Great Mercy, and the Buddhist Scripture Garret.  There are annexes on both sides which include corridors, the Bell and Drum Towers, Haihui Hall, Puzhao Hall, Taixu library, and classrooms that are part of the Buddhist Institute.  


South Putuo Temple was built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Through constructions in several following dynasties, it was rebuilt in the twenty-third year of the Kangxi reign of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Because it is in the south of Putuo Mountain -- one of China's Big Four Buddhist Mountains in Zhejiang Province, it is called South Putuo Temple. Currently, it is among top ones in China in terms of the number of monks.


South Putuo Temple, with a delicate pattern, stands at the foot of South Putuo Mountain and faces to the East Sea. Its buildings are elevated tier upon tier along the medial axis. Its main buildings include Heavenly King Hall, Bell and Drum Towers, Main Hall, Hall of Great Compassion (Avalokitesvara Boddhisattva), and Sutra Hall. These buildings are symmetric on the left and right sides of the axis, so their arrangement is very distinctive. The Hall of Great Compassion has a very delicate architectural structure as well as a pavilion-like shape, and Thousand-hand Kwan-yin (Goddess of Mercy) is enshrined therein. The Statue of Kwan-yin was built with superb craftsmanship, and has one thousand hands and one thousand eyes, shining and glinting. The Sutra Hall treasures up a large number of Buddhist cultural relics and books as well as records. Around the temple, many stone inscriptions have been preserved up to now.

The temple was first built during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). And rebuilt during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it is now an imposing multi-layered trapezoidal structure that overlooks the sea. The Shrine of Buddhist Scriptures houses a huge collection of Buddhist cultural relics, including a Burmese jade carving of the Buddha and many important Buddhist literature. It is one of the sacred places of Buddhism in Southern Fujian. Inside the temple there are the Heaven King's Hall, the Daxiong Hall, the Great Compassion Hall, all of which are built in an exquisite and grand style.

Enshrined in these halls are the statues of Maitreya, Sanshi Reverend Buddha, Thousand-handed Guanyin (Bodhisattva), Four Kings of Heaven, and the eighteen arhats. Although all are serious and solemn in appearance, each is distinctly different from another. The temple attracts a large number of pilgrims at home and abroad. The excellent craftsmanship of the Thousand-handed Guanyin is marked by its thousand hands and thousand eyes and glistening golden color.

As to the Pavilion where Buddhist scriptures are kept, it has a rich collection of the historical articles of Buddhism. such as classics, statues of Buddhas, bronze bells from the Song Dynasty, calligraphic works and paintings from the ancient times. Among them, "Intriguing Lotus Scripture" written in blood in the Wanli period of the Ming Dynasty and the statue of Guanyin in white porcelain, a masterpiece of He Chaosong, are most valuable.

In the temple are preserved many inscriptions, among which the stone inscriptions written by Chen Di and Sheng Yourong in the Wanli period of the Ming Dynasty and the one on a stone stele written by Emperor of the Kangxi period of the Qing Dynasty are most famous. Behind the temple, inscribed on the wall of a rock is a large word "Buddha" which is 4.66 metres in height and 3.33 metres in width. And farther behind, high up on the mountain stands a screen of five peaks coloured by green trees and bamboos and marked by serene valleys and rocks of pleasing shapes. They are called "Five Old Gentlemen Reaching the Clouds," and are one of the eight grand sights of Xiamen. Coming to the top, you not only have a view of the mountain undulating in the wind, but also the view of the sea surging in the distance.


The South Fujian Buddhism Academy, on one side of South Putuo Temple, was founded in 1925, and is the cradle for carrying forward Buddhist doctrines and training Buddhists. It has gained a great reputation home and overseas.


Dominantly, this temple enshrines Kwan-yin, with endless streams of pilgrims. Each year, on February 19, the birthday of Kwan-yin, June 19, the salvation attaining day of Kwan-yin, and September 19, the day for Kwan-yin's becoming a nun, grand ceremonies are held here, and a large number of Buddhists and tourists come here to burn joss sticks, worship Buddha, and pray for health and wealth. 


Another attractive trait of South Putuo Temple is vegetarian diets. All vegetable dishes are made in strict accordance with the vegetable dish making standards, and change the tradition of cooking vegetable in the similar way of cooking meat dishes. These vegetable dishes are well known home and abroad. Much attention is paid to color, fragrance, bouquet, shape, charm, and ware of all dishes. Each dish has a name, an elegant and idyllic name.

it has experienceed several ups and downs. Today, pilgrims pour in from home and abroad.

Admission Fee:  CNY 3
Opening Hours: 05:40 to 18:00