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Jie Tai Temple (The Temple of the Altar)

Updated:2008-06-06 09:59 | Source:

  Jie Tai Temple, or Jie Tan Temple (the temple

  of the altar) is situated on Ma'an hillside of the

  Western Hills in Beijing 25 kilometers from Beijing.

  First built in the reign of the first emperor of the

  Sui Dynasty (581- 600) and named as Hui Ju Temple,

  it has a history of over 1,400 years. In the reign

  of Xianyong of the Liao Dynasty (1065-1074), a monk

  named Fa Jun built the altar here. Later during the

  Jin, Ming and Qing Dynasties, Buddhist Monks came

  all the way to build temples here and help people

  attain full monks status. In the reign of Zhengtong

  Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, the temple was renamed

  Wanshou (Longevity). As ceremony of attaining

  monkhood used to be held here, it is also called Jie

  Tan Temple (Jie means Buddhist percepts and Tan

  means altar). Along with Zhaoqing Temple in

  Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province and Kaiyuan Temple in

  Quanzhou, Fujian Province, it is one of China's

  Three Altars. The altar in this temple of Beijing is

  the largest one among the three altars, hence an

  honorary title The First Jie Tan in China.

  The buildings in JieTai Temple face east and are

  laid out orderly by the northern and southern axes.

  Along the Southern axis is Shan Men Hall, The Hall

  of Kings in Heaven, the Da Xiong Bao Hall, the

  Pavilion of 1000 Buddhas (the existent historic

  site) and the Guanyin Hall. On the northern axis lie

  Ming Wang Hall, Luo Han Hall (The Hall of Eighteen

  Disciples of the Buddha), the Altar Hall (JieTai

  Hall) and Dabei Hall. Besides, there are many

  featured courtyards including the Abbot's Courtyard,

  South Palace Courtyard, the Peony courtyard and the

  upper and lower courtyards.

  The Temple of the Altar has long preserved precious

  cultural relics such as stone tablets and stone

  column carved with Buddhist scriptures through the

  Liao Dynasty till the Republic of China (1912-1949).

  Outside the temple there exist old paths and stone

  carvings. Jie Tan Temple is most well known for its

  unique pines and the altar.

  At present, there are ten famous pines like Wo Long

  Pine (S1eeping Dragon Pine), Zi Zan Pine (Leisure

  Pine), Nine-Dragon Pine, Bao Ta Pine (Embracing

  Pagoda Pine) and Huo Dong Pine (Mobile Pine) as well

  as a 200-300 year old ancient lilac, a four-season

  Jin Dai, peony, Tai ping Flower and other ornamental

  tree and flowers.

  In 1997 religious activities were permitted by the

  government to be restored in the temple. The first

  and fifteenth of every month of the lunar calendar

  are set as Buddhist Day for religious activities.

  Nowadays, a hotel in the style of ancient

  architecture has been built. With its quiet

  environment and pleasant facilities, the hotel is an

  ideal place for the short stay of a family and

  conferences as well.

  (Source:

  http://www.ebeijing.gov.cn/Tour/ScenicSpots/)

Editor : Zhu Jia

Opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics