Daxingshan Buddhist Temple

Located near the bustling Xiaozhai business district in Xi’an, Daxingshan Temple is a serene Buddhist temple exuding an aura of tranquility amidst the urban bustle. It is about 2.5 kilometers from the southern gate of the Xian City Wall. As a popular Buddhist destination in Xi’an, the temple attracts both pilgrims and tourists alike with its rich history, majestic atmosphere, and well-preserved ancient architecture.

Currently, the main structures in the temple are dated from the Ming Dynasty, besides the Turn Wheel Repository of the Tang Dynasty.

  • Opening hours: 08:00-17:00
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • How to Get to: Xiaozhai Station of Metro L2 & L3, and bus No. 215, 19, 616, 600, etc.
Gate of the Daxingshan Temple
Daxingshan Temple

History of Daxingshan Temple

Daxingshan Temple is one of Xian’s oldest temples which was originally constructed from 265 AD to 289 AD. It was named Daxingshan Temple during the Sui Dynasty (581-618) when Xi’an was known as Daxing and the area around the temple was called Jingshan Fang at that time.  The temple was named by combining the city name and district name.

Daxingshan Temple played a significant role during the Sui and Tang Dynasties (618-907) when Buddhism flourished in Changan. During that time, many learned monks and scholars from India came to this temple to translate Buddhist sutras and study Chinese Buddhist culture, making it one of the three major centers for Buddhist sutra translation.

From 841 to 846, an anti-Buddhist movement was carried out across the country, destroying over 4600 temples, and Daxingshan Temple is one of them.

In the following dynasties, the temple had undergone many reconstructions and restorations, that’s why it stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Buddhism in China.

Serene Atmosphere of Daxingshan Temple

Though being embraced by the bustling business district, Daxingshan Temple maintains its serene ambiance, seemingly unaffected by the modern world’s distractions. Only outside the temple gates, a few fortune-tellers and beggars eke out a living, showing a diverse tapestry of life in Chinese culture. Once enter the temple gate, visitors will be greeted by sacred Buddhist architecture, towering censers filled with incense, dignified statues of the Buddha, and devout monks and followers.

Even if you don’t subscribe to Buddhist beliefs, the atmosphere in the temple will evoke you a sense of reverence and spirituality.

Daxingshan Temple
Daxingshan Temple

Experience the Tradition: Free Porridge Offerings at Daxingshan Temple

On December 8th of the lunar calendar, the temple offers free porridge to all visitors, which is a custom cherished among Chinese people for centuries. On that day, volunteers from nearby areas will gather here in the early morning to assist in cooking and serving the porridge. The porridge offering will last until the early afternoon, welcoming visitors of different backgrounds, genders, ages, and nationalities. If you plan a Xi’an trip on December 8th, you are warmly invited to join in this cultural experience.

Main Architecture in the Temple

Daxingshan Temple is a typical temple garden, with its layout resembling the shape of the Chinese character “回” (pronounced “hui”). Some of the main architecture in the temple include:

The Temple Gate

Dating back to the Ming Dynasty, the gate boasts a unique design and a two-story hip-and-gable roof structure. The gate is surrounded by inscriptions on different sides.

Hall of Heavenly Kings

The Hall of Heavenly Kings is behind the gate, along the north-south central axis. A statue of the Maitreya Buddha sits inside the hall which is decorated with gold-embroidered silk from the Ming Dynasty. Visitors can also view different sculptures and inscription on different side of the hall.

Hall of Heavenly Kings in Daxingshan Temple
Hall of Heavenly Kings in Daxingshan Temple

The Bell and Drum Towers

These two towers are located on the east and west sides of the square in front of the Great Hall.  Each of them has a plaque on it. There is a large drum with a diameter of 1.5 meters inside the Drum Tower.

Dharma Hall

This is one of the most tranquil areas in the temple. The Mahavairocana Buddha of Esoteric Buddhism is enshrined in the hall, along with bronze Buddha statues from the Tang Dynasty and sculptures from the Song Dynasty. Each of the statues shows a different shape. In the courtyard of the hall stands dozens of ancient cypress trees and a wisteria tree from the Ming Dynasty.

Stupa

The stupa is a five-tiered hexagonal pavilion-style structure on the west side of the temple. It was constructed in commemoration of monks who made great contributions and propagation of Buddhism in the temple.

Daxingshan Temple in Xian
Daxingshan Temple in Xian

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