Lingyin Temple is situated in the northwest of West Lake, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, as one of big ten temples of Buddhism's Chan Sect (Zen) in China. It is also a famous scenic spot. When tourists arrive in Hangzhou City, most of them will make a tour to Lingyin Temple. Therefore, Lingyin Temple is one of the top temples in China in terms of the number of received tourists.
Lingyin Temple was founded in the year 326 during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420). It was expanded during the Five Dynasties Period (907-960). At that time, this temple had a large scale with 9 buildings, 18 pavilions, 77 halls and more than 3,000 monks, and became a famous temple in the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Since its establishment, Lingyin Temple has experienced destructions and reconstructions of more than ten times. In 1956 and 1975, it was rebuilt twice and got its present scale.
The overall arrangement of Lingyin Temple is similar to that of temples in the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. On its medial axis stand Heavenly Hall, Main Hall, and Medicine Master Buddha Hall. There stands the statue of Maitreya Buddha at the center of the Heavenly King Hall, and four Heavenly Kings stand on both sides of Maitreya Buddha. A sitting Statue of Sakyamuni at the center of the Main Hall is one of the largest and tallest sitting statues of Buddha in China. A large number of Buddhist cultural relics are treasured up in Lingyin Temple. Such buildings and sculptures as halls, pavilions, sutra pillars, and statues of Buddha in Lingyin Temple are valuable for research on China's history of Buddhism, architectural art, and sculpture art.
The ambience around Lingyin Temple is quiet and secluded and the entire temple is hided from view in dense woods. On one side of the temple there is Feilai Peak (the peak flying here), a famous scenic spot of Hangzhou City. Feilai Peak not only has beautiful scenery, but also is one of important places of ancient grotto art in South China. There are more than 330 stone statues in the grotto, among which the most attractive is the statue of Maitreya Buddha, lighting up with pleasure and exposing his breast. It is the largest statue in Feilai Peak grotto with high artistic value.