It is believed that the temple was first established in the fourth century a monk known as Hui Li. It was destroyed on a number of occasions, the last time during the Taiping Rebellion, and was last rebuilt in the early part of this century. The temple fell into disrepair, but in 1956 it was carefully restored.
The temple is set at the foot of the Northern Peak in a wooded area, a stream running before it. Some of the trees in front are thought to be thousands of years old.
The front temple houses a Laughing Buddha carved in camphor wood and covered in gold with a carved gilt figure standing behind and guarding him. Both figures are set under a two-caved wooden canopy decorated in red and gold. Ornate lamps hang on either side.
A long the two side wails of the temple are the traditional Celestial Guardians, which have been beautifully restored. Perhaps the most interesting is the one playing the pipa. One Benevolent Guardian is holding an umbrella in his right hand and a phoenix in his left, while a Malevolent Guardian holds a sword and a dragon.
The rear temple houses a 60- foot-high carved Buddha. The building itself is from the later Qing period. In the 1930s the main cross beam of the temple roof broke and crashed down,destroying some of the statues inside, but these were repaired during extensive renovations in 1956. Built in traditional style, the temple appears to have three floors, since there three roofs with fine upswept eaves. But inside you will find that there are no upper floor levels, the whole space being devoted to housing the enormous Buddha.
One of the most interesting sights in the temple grounds is the four Buddhist pillars installed on either side of the main door in A.D. 969 by the King of Wu Yue. These have been identified as the originals. There are also two octagonal stone stupas which are thought to be even older than the pillars.