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Guangji Temple


Guangji Temple, situated in Fuchengmennei Street, Xisi, Beijing, is a famous ancient Buddhist temple in Beijing. In 1983, it was designated as one of national key temples in the areas of the Han nationality. Now, it is the site of Chinese Buddhism Association. 

Guangji Temple was founded at the end of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), and destroyed by war afterwards. At the beginning of the Tianshun reign (1457-1464) of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Zenghui and Yuanhong, two monks from Shaanxi Province, came here to raise funds and rebuilt this temple at the same place. In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1840), because emperors must pass Guangji Temple whenever they went out of the city, it began to be much valued by the imperial family. Emperors of several eras came here in person, inscribed poems, established steles, or granted tablets with autographs to this temple, which suddenly promoted its status. Since then, Guangji Temple has become a very important temple in Beijing. In 1935, it was rebuilt again, and the buildings became more magnificent. In 1953, the Buddhist Association of China was founded here.

The overall arrangement of this temple is symmetrical. On its medial axis stand such important buildings as the Temple Gate, the Main Hall, the Sutra Hall, the Jade Carving Monk Status Attaining Altar, etc. from south to north. There exists a large-scale finger painting on the back wall of the Main Hall which was drawn by Fu Wen, a famous artist of the Qing Dynasty, with fingers. It is the largest extant fresco in China depicting the scene of Buddha expounding Buddhist doctrines, and also a rare artistic work. The Sutra Hall treasures up a lot of precious Buddhist scriptures, and the tooth relics of Buddha and Buddhist relics found from the relics of Thousand Buddha Pagoda of the Liao Dynasty (916-1125) has been moved and enshrined here. In a small yard west of the Sutra Hall there stands a white marble stone carving Monk Status Attaining Altar. It is well preserved, and is the only monk status-attaining altar in Beijing.

Each year Guangji Temple receives a large number of Buddhists and tourists from home and overseas, and many large-scale meetings, religious ceremonies, and ceremonies concerning foreign affairs are frequently held here.

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