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Daming Temple

Daming Temple is situated in the northwest of Yangzhou City, Jiangsu Province, and was the place where Jianzhen, an accomplished monk in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), performed Buddhist rites. In 1983, it was designated as one of national key temples in the areas of the Han nationality.

Daming Temple was built during the Daming reign of the Southern Dynasty (457-464); therefore, it was named Daming Temple. But Daming Temple was renamed several times. Because there stood a pagoda to enshrine Buddhist relics called Xiling (Soul Living) Pagoda, this temple was named Xiling Temple. Also, because this temple was in the west of the Sui Empire's palace, it was called West Temple among the people.

In 1765 during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Emperor Qianlong went south on an inspection tour. When he came here, he granted the name Fajing to this temple. In 1980, the Statue of Jianzhen was exhibited from Japan to China; then, this temple regained his original name. During the history of more than one thousand years, Daming Temple reached its peak in the Qing Dynasty during which Emperors Kangxi and Qianlong arrived in Yangzhou City several times. With unceasing enlargement, its scale became larger and larger, and finally it became one of Yangzhou City's Big Eight Temples in the Qing Dynasty.

Jianzhen, an accomplished monk in the Tang Dynasty, acted as abbot of Daming Temple to carry forward Buddhist disciplines. In the second year of the Tianbao reign of the Tang Dynasty, Jianzhen, at the request of a Japanese monk, attempted to cross the sea to Japan in order to introduce Buddhist doctrines. But he failed. He tried again and again. Finally, he succeeded in the twelfth year of the Tianbao reign after five failures. Jianzhen's arrival in Japan injected new blood to Japanese culture, and he made great contributions to Sino-Japan cultural exchanges. In order to commemorate him, Jianzhen Memorial was built in Daming Temple in 1973. The memorial is an imitation of buildings in the Tang Dynasty, and was designed by Liang Sicheng, a famous architectural designer of China. The Statue of Jianzhen is enshrined in the Main Hall of this memorial.

There are also Pailou (decorated archway), Main Hall, Sutra Hall, Ouyang Xiu Hall, etc. in Daming Temple. There stands the Statue of Sakyamuni in the center of the Main Hall, and eighteen arhats sit on both the left and right sides hereof. Before the New Year's Day each year, a lot of people come here to burn joss sticks and worship Buddha; also some Japanese tourists come here to ring the bell for the purpose of praying for happiness and safety.

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