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Kaiyuan Temple

Kaiyuan Temple, situated in West Street of Quanzhou City, Fujian Province, is the largest temple in Fujian Province. It was equally as famous as Baima Temple in Luoyang City, Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou City, and Guangji Temple in Beijing City, and has strong influence upon Taiwan and overseas Buddhists. In 1983, it was designated as one of national key temples in the areas of the Han nationality.

Kaiyuan Temple was built in 685, and renamed several times afterwards. In the 26th year (739) of the Kaiyuan reign of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Emperor Xuanzong ordered each state in this country to build a temple named Kaiyuan. Through several destructions and reconstructions during the Tang, Southern Song (1127-1279), Yuan, and Ming dynasties, the existing buildings are relics of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)).

Kaiyuan Temple is a relatively integrated square-yard Buddhism buildings group, and covers an area of 78,000 square meters. On its medial axis stand in proper order Buddha's Warrior Attendants Hall, Heavenly King Hall, Main Hall, and Sutra Hall. The Main Hall is the principal building, located at the center of this temple. The Statue of Vairochana Buddha, the highest God of Buddhism's Secret Sect is enshrined in the temple. A large number of cultural relics are preserved here and there are more than 3,700 volumes of Buddhist scriptures of various editions stored in the Sutra Hall, in which the relatively rare scriptures include Great Treasury Scriptures and Lotus Scripture. Manuscripts of Hongyi, a modern accomplished monk, are also treasured up herein.

Twin pagodas near Kaiyuan Temple are also famous. The east one is Zhenguo Pagoda and the west one Renshou Pagoda. They are forty meters in height, as the highest twin pagodas in China. They are the unique symbol of the ancient city of Quanzhou. Moreover, the east pagoda was selected as one of the four stamp patterns of China's Ancient Towers in 1994.

Since its establishment, Kaiyuan Temple has had endless stream of pilgrims, and become a divine religious place where Buddhists can cultivate themselves according to Buddhist doctrines with great concentration. After the Ming Dynasty, a lot of inhabitants of Chaozhou-Shantou area of eastern Guangdong (near Fujian Province) emigrated overseas. Therefore, Kaiyuan Temple has become a famous scenic spot as well as a symbol of missing the hometown.

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