Built in the Zhiping period of the Northern Song Dynasty around 1064-1067 and originally named Zhiping Temple, Luohan Temple is one of China’s national key Buddhist temples. It is part of the National Key Cultural Relics Protection unit and the residence of the Chongqing Buddhist Association. The temple offers a surprisingly calm and quiet atmosphere despite being located in the center of the downtown area. The small entrance fee is well worth it, even to escape the outside hustle and noise.
BACKGROUND & HISTORY
The Buddhist temple was built around 1000 years ago, remodeled in 1752, and rebuilt in 1945 after the second world war. It is fair to say; this temple has seen its fair share of history over the years. Luohan is the Chinese Equivalent of the ancient Sanskrit word Arhat, which means a holy man who has left all his earthly desires and concerns and entered nirvana. The temple serves as a cloister for a small community of monks and serves as the Buddhist society headquarters in Chongqing.
In the eleventh year of the Guangxu in the Qing Dynasty, in the year 1885, a monk named Longfa rebuilt the temple and built the Luohan hall in the model of the Baoguang Temple. The temple was then renamed to Luohan temple. It was hit by bombs in 1942 and was later restored again during the cultural revolution. However, the statue of Luohan was completely destroyed, and in 1984 the government allocated funds for its reconstruction.
In Luohan temple, there are ancient Buddhist rocks, one of which stands more than 20 meters tall and contains more than 400 Buddhist rock carvings. Of the many motifs here, you will find the sleeping Buddha, the statue of Guanyin, and the statue of offerings. These stone carvings are very similar in style to those you will find at the Baoding Mountain of the Dazu Rock Carvings.
Luohan Temple, located centrally in Jiefangbei District, should not be missed for those who love Ancient Traditional Architecture. Luohan Temple boasts incredibly detailed buildings and details, and the temple overall is very beautiful.
Buddhist Art Treasures
Luohan temple houses a collection of Buddhist art treasures in the Daxiong Hall. Here you will find the Statues of the 16 deities, the best students of Sakyamuni, a bronze statue of the Three Sages of the West from the Ming Dynasty, and the Sakyamuni Chengdao Jade, originally from Myanmar.
The Tripitaka, Sanskrit, and Tibetan classics and ancient books, calligraphy, and paintings have been collected in the Buddhist scripture building in the temple and are considered treasures of the Tang and Ming Dynasties.
There are 524 Buddhist statues located inside Luohan Temple in the Luohan hall. All of which are made from clay and have a very lifelike appearance.