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Huayan Monastery

huayan monasterySituated in the southwest of Datong, Shanxi Province is the Huayan Monastery, named after the Huayan sect of Buddhism.

The Upper Huayan Monastery (Da Xiong Bao Dian) is considered to be one of the two biggest Buddhist halls existent in China. And it was built under the Liao Dynasty in 1062. The Monastery suffered from a severe damage in the last years of the Liao and yet Jin restored it in 1140.

Unlike the most temple buildings in China which face southward, the main building, the Great Temple of Treasure, faces to the east. The legend goes that Qidan, an ancient tribe appeared in 400 B.C. in the northern China, had a popular custom of worshipping the Sun. Later when they dominated the northern China, this practice influenced the Han people.

There are five major Buddhas in the center of the hall, either side of which is 20 celestial warriors. Contrary to the splendid Upper Huayan Monastery, the Lower Huayan Monastery, constructed in 1038, has a touch of quaintness, where Buddhist scripture are stored.

The Trinity Buddhas comprising the Past Buddha, the Present Buddha and the future Buddha are enshrined and worshipped here. Around the sides of the Trinity Buddha are twenty-eight guardian figures, among which the Bodhisattva with a pious prayer pose is the most lifelike.

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