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Jade Buddha Temple

By Devik Balami at
Reclining Buddha statue at Jade Buddha Temple

Jade Buddha Temple is a Buddhist temple situated in Shanghai, China. The temple was established in the late 19th century, initially housed two Buddha statues made up of Jade which was imported from Burma. The statues are in sitting and reclining position. The statue with sitting position has the height of 1.95 m. In addition to this, the temple has larger reclining Buddha statue made up of marble. This statue was donated by Singapore.

Historical background of Jade Buddha Temple

It was recorded that a Buddhist monk named Huigen set off for the pilgrimage to Tibet via Mt. Wutai and Mt. Emei. After Tibet, he then visited Burma and was gifted five Buddha statues made up of jade by an overseas Chinese resident in Burma, Chen Jun-Pu. Huigen then transported two of the statue to Jiang-wan, Shanghai. The temple was then built with the help of donations. This temple was uprising during the early 20th century and later on, the statue was moved to Maigen Road.

Later the Buddhist monk, Kechen also built new Buddhist temple with the support from Sheng Xuanhuai, a senior official in the Qing imperial court. They built houses with thatched roofs at Yizhou Pond by the Zhuanghuabang River in the northeast of Shanghai. The constructions took about ten years, from 1918-1928. After completion, Kechen also invited Reverend Dixian from Mt. Tiantai to give a lecture on Buddhism in a grand ceremony.

The people have observed various events in the temple complex. In 1956 BCE, Shanghai Buddhist Association organized the ceremony to celebrate the 2500th anniversary of the Buddha's enlightenment. Likewise, in 1966 BCE, during the Cultural Revolution, the monks made a living by selling handicrafts. In 1983, the Shanghai Institute of Buddhism was established at the temple under the Shanghai Buddhist Association. In 1985, After the return of the monk Zhizhi Xuan and others from the trip, regular scripture lectures, meditation and other features of temple life was resumed.

Architectural features of the Temple

The temple layout can be categorized into Chamber of Four Heavenly Kings, Grand Hall, and Jade Buddha Chamber.

Chamber of Four Heavenly Kings

This chamber is located on the southern edge of the temple. The chamber of Four Heavenly Kings contains the statues of Maitreya Buddha, Skanda, and the Four Heavenly Kings. These icons represent favorable circumstances.

Grand Hall

The Grand Hall is also popularly known as the Great Hall which contains various statues in the different theme. The grand hall consists of statues of three golden Buddhas- Gautam Buddha, Amitabha Buddha, and the Bhaisajyaguru Buddha. Among these Buddha statues, Gautam Buddha is placed in the middle while Amitabha is in the left and Bhaisajyaguru is in the right.

The hall also houses statues of Gods of the Twenty Heavens which is glided with gold. These statues are placed on the eastern and western sides of the Grand Hall.

The hall also houses statues of 18 Arhats which is also glided with gold and stands in two groups of nine. The other statues are the statues of Guanyin, Sudhana, and his 53 teachers. The statue of Guanyin stands at the northern entrance to the Great Hall and statue of Sudhana is placed next to Guanyin. The statues of the 53 teachers have placed above of them.

Jade Buddha Chamber

This chamber housing Jade Buddha statue is located in the northern section of the Temple of the second floor. This chamber houses Jade Buddha statue which was imported from Burma. The chamber also houses additional Buddhist sculptures.

Recent additions

The Public restaurant is built on level two at the eastern edge of the temple and is equipped with its own street entrance.