Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple in Xi’an

Chinese Name in Pinyin: Gu Guan Yin Chan Si

Guanyin Chan Temple, aka Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple or Zen Temple of Guanyin, is located in the Zhongnan Mountains, which is 30km south of Xian City. The temple was built in the early Tang Dynasty (618-907). Neighboring Fengyu and Gaoguanyu ( 2 little valleys of Qinling Mountain Ranges), it boasts quite nice scenery, a thousands of years old ginkgo tree, and a sacred spring.

To the west of Guanyin Chan Temple is Caotang Temple, the womb of the Three Sastras School of Buddhism. To the east of the temple is the Jingye Temple, the origin place of the Vinaya School of Buddhism. Behind the temple is Chanling Hill, and to the south of the temple is Guanyin Hill. In ancient times, Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple is the first temple leading to Guanyin Hill.

  • Location: Lohandong Village, Dongdajie Subdistrict, Chang’an District, Xi’an City.
  • Opening time: 9:00-17:00 all year round; 8:30-17:00 on public holidays in China
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Highlights: nice scenery, a thousands of years old ginkgo tree, a sacred spring, ancient architecture
  • Time needed: about 2 hours
  • Transportation: Taxi or hire a car from local travel company
Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple in Xi'an
Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple

History of Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple

 

Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple covers an area of over 300 mu before the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. However, in the 1960s, due to the Cultural Revolution, it was repurposed as Hongyan Middle School. Most monks fled during that time, and only five main halls of the temple were left.

Thanks to the religious freedom policies implemented in the 1990s, the former school was relocated, and the temple became a popular place for Buddhist activities again. Under the efforts of the new abbot, the environment was bettered, roads were paved with bricks, temple walls, and buildings were strengthened, Meditation was organized more frequently, and scheduled Buddhist gatherings were held.

A Tranquil Oasis Amidst Nature

Compared to temples in the city area, Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple enjoys a better natural setting. With Zhongnan Mountains as its background, the temple features a more spacious courtyard and more expansive views.

The serene surroundings will calm you down as soon as you enter the temple, s, evoking a sense of relaxation and tranquility. A famous Tang Dynasty poem captures this serene scene perfectly, “As I pick chrysanthemums beneath the eastern fence, I can leisure gaze at the Southern Mountain”

 

1400-year-old Ginkgo Tree in Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple

There is an over 1400-year-old ginkgo tree stand in the Guanyin Temple. Being over 20 meters tall with a diameter of over 3 meters, this ancient tree is believed to have been planted by Emperor Taizong during the Tang Dynasty. In each late autumn, the treen will become a golden tree showing thriving golden leaves, its fallen leaves will blanket the ground like a yellow quilt. This stunning autumn scenery is a highlight of the temple. Its relatively remote location allows visitors to marvel at this scenery with less interruption from other tourists. A visit to the temple is recommended if you visit Xi’an in autumn.

ginkgo tree in Xian Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple
Ginkgo tree in Xian Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple