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Temples and Monasteries of China


 
China is a secular multi-religious nation, where the major religions of the world - Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity, Islam – have all developed a large following. Temples and monasteries dedicated to various religions are found in every corner of China.

Buddhist temples are often called 寺si or 庵an, such as Shaolinsi (Shaolin Temple). Taoist and Confucian temples are variously referred to as 宫gong,, 观guan, 庙miao, 祠ci, or 庵an, examples including: 紫霄宫Zixiaogong, 清虚观Qingxuguan, 孔庙Kongmiao (Confucius Temple), 碧霞元君祠Bixiayuanjunci, etc. Christian churches are known as 堂tang, as in 东堂Dongtang (the East Church of Beijing, situated on Wangfujing Street).

Temples are a valuable cultural legacy of China. Many temples are built in deep mountains and forests, as both Buddhist and Taoist monks believe it a more desirable location for cultivation. The architecture is often fashioned after the imperial palaces, and features a complex of buildings surrounding a number of courtyards. Just like imperial structures, most Chinese temples face south and are red in color. The architecture is traditionally Chinese style, and halls are decorated extensively. Statues of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Arhats, deities, guardian gods, historical figures, etc., are placed in different halls in accordance with certain order. The most important ones are usually placed in the middle halls, and are often made bigger than those around them. Incense, joss sticks and candles are lit before the statues worshiped.

One feature of Chinese temples and monasteries may be somewhat amazing to foreign visitors. Some temples are mixed-religious. It is not uncommon to see Buddhist statues in a Taoist temple, or vice versa.

Temples are the venue for the practice of Chinese folk religions, and temple culture has left its mark on people’s life. People burned joss sticks, prayed and made wishes before the statues for safety and peace or good luck in life and career. Fortune-telling services were often available. Lectures (sometimes on more entertaining topics alomost irrelevant to religion) used to be offered at the temples. And temple fairs at various festivals were important events for the public, when vendors sold handicrafts at stalls and performers entertained the audience with recreation performances such as dance and opera.

The top ten famous Chinese temples:


    White Horse Temple     DaXiangguo Temple     Jokhang Temple     Famen Temple 

    Guandi Temple     Confucian Temple      Zhongyue Temple    Ta-er Temple (Kumbum Monastery)

      Hanging Temple       Labrang Temple
 
 
kumbum monastery
Kumbum Monastery
 

 

Top 10 Buddhism Grottoes

 
Mogao Grottoes     Longmen Grottoes          Yungang Grottoes         Maiji Hill Grottoes    Dazu Rocking Carvings
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Top Monasteries:
 
 
 
 
 
Kunming Top Temples     Golden Temple            Yuantong Temple    Yuantong Temple
 
 
 
Dali Top TemplesThree Pagodas
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

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