Putuo Mountain is situated on an island of Zhoushan Archipelago, Hangzhou Bay, Zhejiang Province. It has been reputed as Sea-Heaven Buddha Kingdom for a long time. This mountain and Wutai Mountain in Shanxi Province, Emei Mountain in Sichuan Province, and Jiuhua Mountain in Anhui Province are called Four Famous Mountains of China's Buddhism.
Principal temples on Putuo Mountain include Puji Temple, Fayu Temple, and Huiji Temple, which are the largest ones among more than 20 extant temples in China.
Puji Temple, covering an area of about 11,000 square meters, was built during the Dazhong reign (847-859) of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and is the main temple enshrining Kwan-yin on Putuo Mountain. It has nine halls, among which Dayuantong Hall is the main hall which enshrines the Statue of Kwan-yin at the center. This statue is about nine meters high, and on both sides of the statue stand 32 Kwan-yin statues.
Fayu Temple was built during the Wanli reign (1572-1620) of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It was built according to the mountain's hypsography, and has a clear overall arrangement. It consists of six tiers of halls among which Dayuantong Hall was moved from the Imperial Palace of the Ming Dynasty in Nanjing City, and is an architectural masterpiece. At the center of the hall the Image of Vairocana Buddha is enshrined and the Statue of Thousand-hand Kwan-yin is enshrined behind the image, carved with camphor wood. A stand of Lamp of Heaven east of the temple is the vertex of Putuo Mountain. Ancient trees around Fayu Temple are very tall, and the ambience here is quiet and secluded.
Huiji Temple was built in the Ming Dynasty and is the third largest temple on Putuo Mountain. Because it was built on the Fodingshan Mountain, it is also called Dingshan Temple. The temple features the style of a typical garden in southern China. The Statues of Sakyamuni and his two disciples are enshrined at the center of the Main Hall. Among all temples on Putuo Mountain, this is the only temple that enshrines Buddha but not Kwan-yin Statue in the Main Hall. The Statue of Buddha is enshrined on the vertex of the island, showing Buddhists' respect to Buddha.
Why Putuo Mountain becomes Buddha Kingdom is that it is related to a legend about Kwan-yin. According to the Buddhist legend, Bodhisattva Kwan-yin expounded Buddhist doctrines here one thousand years ago. In 858, Japanese monks obtained the Statue of Kwan-yin from Wutai Mountain. When they passed Putuo Mountain on the way home, they met with blustering ocean waves; therefore they could not go back home. Thereupon, they built a temple on Putuo Mountain's southeastern corner to enshrine the Statue of Kwan-yin. Since then, Putuo Mountain has gradually become the place enshrining Kwan-yin, and gained widespread fame home and abroad, especially in Southeast Asia.