Buddhist culture has played a very important role in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province. There are a number of Buddhist temples which have been preserved in this historic city.
Qixia Mountain is known as the “most beautiful mountain in Nanjing”. With an area of 860 hectares, Qixia Mountain Scenic Area is located near the northern suburbs of Nanjing, close to the Yangtze River to the north. It is well known for its towering peaks, beautiful scenery, rich historical sties, and numerous red autumnal leaves. Its main peak, Fengxiang Peak, is 286 meters high. Qixia Mountain is reputed as one of the resorts where you can appreciate red autumnal leaves in China. In the Ming Dynasty, it was listed as one of the “48 Scenic Sights of Jinling”. Qixia Temple at the foot of the mountain is the birthplace of the Sanlun School, and was one of the holy lands for the “four major jungles” of Buddhism in the Tang Dynasty. Qixia Mountain Scenic Area is an ideal place for sightseeing and pilgrimage.
Located on the eastern foot of Jilong Mountain, Jiming Temple is one of the most ancient temples in Nanjing. It was first built in the Western Jin Dynasty. During the reigns of Emperor Kangxi and Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty, it was extensively renovated, and the gate was built. Emperor Kangxi visited the temple and inscribed the characters “Ancient Jiming Temple” during his tour to the regions south of the Yangtze River. The cultural relics and historical sites in the Jiming Temple include the Maitreya Hall, the Jingyang Tower, the Hall of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva and Ancient Rouge Well.
With towering pines and beautiful scenery, the Linggu Temple is located on the eastern foot of Tzu-chin Mountain. It was built in the early Ming Dynasty, and is the only well-preserved temple out of over 70 Buddhist temples from the Southern Dynasties on Zhongshan Mountain. Its original location was the place where the Xiaoling Mausoleum of the Ming Dynasty is located today. Later, it was moved to its current site because of the construction of the Xiaoling Mausoleum during the Ming Dynasty.
Located at No. 4 Hanfu Street in Nanjing, the Pilu Temple was first built during the Jiajing period (1522-1566) of the Ming Dynasty. Emperor Qianlong slept in Pilu Temple on the first night of his tour to the regions south of the Yangtze River. As one of the most famous temples in the south, Pilu Temple has an illustrious history. It witnessed the grand reception of the 14th Dalai Lama and the 15th Panchen Lama. The Ten Thousand Buddhas Pavilion in the temple is 30 meters high, with a construction area of 5,166 square meters – it is the largest building in Nanjing that imitates the style of the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Xuanzang Temple is located on Little Jiuhua Mountain, east bank of Xuanwu Lake. The Little Jiuhua Mountain is a foothill of Zhongshan Mountain and has an elevation of only 61 meters. It is bordered by the Ming Dynasty city walls to the north, and is adjacent to Xuanwu Lake. The part adjacent to the Xuanwu Lake is steep like an overturned boat, so it was called Fuzhou Mountain in ancient times. On the top of the mountain stands the Sanzang Pagoda, a square brick pagoda of five storeys. The parietal bone relic of Xuanzang, an influential Buddhist monk who described the interaction between China and India in the early Tang Dynasty, was hidden under the lotus seat of the pagoda.
Wuxiang Temple is named for an important idea in Buddhist scriptures. In Zen Buddhism, it is believed that “wuxiang” is the fundamental way for people to achieve happiness and even immortality. Wuxiang Temple was built in the Six Dynasties, and was renovated during the Tang Dynasty, the Southern Tang Dynasty and the Song Dynasty. Its name was changed several times and the name of the “Wuxiang Temple” was re-established in the Qing Dynasty. Now, the Wuxiang Temple is surrounded by mountains, and boasts lush forests and lakes. Its environment is pleasant and elegant.