In the western part of Shanghai, a very modern and flourishing city, there is a venerable and famous Buddhist temple, Jade Buddha Temple. In 1882, an old temple was built to keep two jade Buddha statues which had been brought from Burma by a monk named Huigen. The temple was destroyed during the revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty. Fortunately the statues were saved and a new temple was built on the present site in 1928. It was named the Jade Buddha Temple.
The two precious jade Buddhist statues are not only rare cultural relics but also porcelain artworks. Both the Sitting Buddha and the Recumbent Buddha are carved with whole white jade. The sparkling and crystal-clear white jade gives the Buddhas the beauty of sanctity and make them more vivid. The Sitting Buddha is 190 centimeters high and encrusted by the agate and the emerald, portraying the Buddha at the moment of his meditation and enlightenment. The Recumbent Buddha is 96 centimeters long, lying on the right side with the right hand supporting the head and the left hand placing on the left leg, this shape is called the ‘lucky repose’. The sedate face shows the peaceful mood of Sakyamuni when he left this world. In the temple there is also another Recumbent Buddha which is four meters long and was brought from Singapore by the tenth abbot of the temple in 1989. Furthermore there are many other ancient paintings and Buddhist scriptures distributed in the different halls here.
Although the history of the Jade Buddha Temple is not very long, the old-time and classical architectural style makes it unique and inimitable in this modern city. Devajara Hall, Mahavira Hall and the Jade Buddha Tower make up the main structure of the temple and at sides are the Kwan-yin Dian Hall, the Amitabha Dian Hall, the Zen Tang Hall, the Dining-Room and the Recumbent Buddha Hall. The Sitting Buddha is in the Jade Buddha Tower and the Recumbent Buddhas are in the Recumbent Buddha Hall. More than 7,000 Dazang sutras are kept in the Jade Buddha Tower; these are all the inestimable culture relics.
The Jade Buddha Temple is a good place to go whether you are a Buddhist or not, the peaceful and transcendent atmosphere adds a kind of richness to our busy modern society.