Guangxiao Temple is located on the Guangxiao Road and is the biggest and oldest Buddhist temple in the city. It is also a National Cultural Relic Protected monument.
Guangxiao Temple is considered to be very important in the history of Chinese Buddhism and several famous monks have visited and lectured at the temple.
Guangxiao Temple or the Bright Filial Temple is among the oldest temples in the history. The temple had once been the residence for Zhao Jiande who was the great grandson of Zhao Tuo, a Nanyue King during the Han Dynasty. Yu Fan, a Wu State lord had given lectures at the temple during the period of Three Kingdoms when he had been exiled to Guangzhou area. The temple had earlier been known as Yu Garden to commemorate Yu Fan. After his death, his family had donated his residence as a temple.
The Grief Bell and Drum
There are various historic relics inside the Guangxiao Temple. One of them is Grief Bell which had been set up first during the second year of the reign of Baoli in Tang Dynasty. This bell is shaped like a mushroom and is made from stone. Around the bell are various Hercules embossments. These embossments have vivid facial expressions that are elegant and well shaped in postures.
These embossments convey the soul and spirits of Buddhism. The temple also has a drum which is used for prayer meetings. The drum is located above the drum tower. It corresponds to the chimes of the bell. The drum and the bell ring simultaneously during prayer meetings.
The Grand Hall
The Guangxiao Temple also has a Grand Hall that had been built during the Eastern Jin Period. It showcases the profound Buddhism details in the temple with its constantly play of cymbals and musical stones. Additionally the hall also has a washing bowl that has been carved by Southern Dynasty dharma. There is a Tang Dynasty stone bell. The iron tower has thousands of Buddhist statues from the Ming and Song Dynasties. The Lying Buddhist Palace is home to several precious items.
West Iron Pagoda
In the Guangxiao Temple complex is the Western Iron Pagoda which had been cast by the Five Dynasties in 963. It is said to be the oldest pagoda in the country. The pagoda is square and once had 7 stories. However, some of them collapsed and were destroyed during the Qing Dynasty. Today the pagoda only has three stories. All over the pagoda there are carved Buddha images.
At the center of each side is a large niche for the seated Buddha statue. The base of the pagoda is surrounded by large petals and supported by a Sumeru pedestal. All of these are made from iron. The pedestal and eaves are engraved with beautiful images of celestial guards, flying apsaras and various designs.
East Iron Pagoda
The Eastern Iron Pagoda in Guangxiao Temple is a seven story, square pagoda which had been cast by the Five Dynasties in 963. It is 7.69 meters in height and has a 1.34 meters stone Sumeru pedestal. The iron body is 6.35 meters in height. The pagoda’s steeple is already destroyed. There are over 900 niches and Buddhist statues on the pagoda showcasing excellent workmanship. The base of the pagoda is surrounded by large petals and supported by a Sumeru pedestal and was first known as the Gilded Pagoda of One Thousand Buddhas.