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Huacheng Temple

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Huacheng Temple

Huacheng Temple (Chinese: 化城寺; pinyin: Huàchéng Sì) is the oldest and most prominent temple on Mount Jiuhua, Qingyang County, Anhui Province, China. It has a history of more than 1,500 years.


Huacheng Temple is the first temple and also the leading temple on Mount Jiuhua. It is said that in 401 CE during the Jin dynasty, an Indian monk Huaidu built a small Buddhist temple here. During the Kaiyuan era of the Tang dynasty, a monk Tanhao was in charge and called it "Huacheng". In 781 CE, the governor of Chizhou, Zhang Yan, got approval from the central government, and moved the old board "Huacheng" to this temple. In 794 CE, Jin Qiaojue died at 99, and fellow monks regarded him as the incarnation of the bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. Ever since Huacheng Temple was dedicated to Ksitigarbha.

In the late Southern Song dynasty, the abbot was Guangzong, later called Guangchuan monk. In 1321 during the Yuan dynasty, the abbot was Zhenguan, later called Wuxiang monk. In 1391 during the Ming dynasty, the abbots Zongling and Fajian expanded it to a Zen Buddhist temple. In 1435, Fuqing monk of Linggu Temple in Nanjing moved to Mount Jiuhua to preside over Huacheng Temple due to his old age. He rebuilt Grand Hall of the Great Sage, Cangjing, Zushi, Jingang, Tianwang and Jialan Halls, and also expanded Eastern Halls. In the Zhengtong era of the Ming dynasty, the abbots Daotai, and later Dugang, Fayan, Faguang expanded Foge, Fangzhang, Langwu, Dizang Hall and Shijie, forming Western Halls. In 1569, businessman Huang Longding of Anhui donated to rebuild the temple. In 1603, the abbot Liangyuan went to Beijing and the central government bestowed purple garment on him.

In 1681 during the Qing dynasty, the governor of Chizhou, Yu Chenglong, renovated the temple and built "Juhua Pavilion". The temple comprised Eastern and Western Palaces and totaled 72 halls. Thus, Huacheng Temple became the leading temple in Mount Jiuhua, called General Buddhist Temple. From 1703-1705, the Kangxi Emperor ordered his close servant to come to Mount Jiuhua to worship the temple three times, making donations and bestowing a board "Superior Place of Jiuhua"(九华圣境). In 1766, it received another board written by the emperor, "Fragrant Grand Temple"(芬陀普教). However, in 1857, the temple was destroyed, and only Sutra Library was left. In 1890, the abbot Lunfa and pilgrim Liu Hanfang and others donated to rebuild four halls. In 1926, Shi Rongxu founded "Jiangnan Mount Jiuhua Buddhist Academy" here.

The government of Qinyang County renovated the temple in 1955. But in 1968, all the Buddhist figures were destroyed. In 1981, the temple was rebuilt, and Mount Jiuhua Historical and Cultural Museum was opened. The preserved collection of more than 1,800 pieces was on exhibition. The temple has a land area of 3,500 square meters. On 8 September 1981, the government of Anhui claimed Huacheng Temple as a key conserved location of historical relics. In 1983, the state council honored Huacheng Temple as national key Buddhist temple in Han area.


Mount Jiuhua has always attracted creative minds; poets and artists have visited here. As a result, there has been a rich legacy of art in the Huacheng Temple. Great artists, poets, and playwrights such as Li Bai, Liu Yuxi, Du Mu, Mei Yaochen, Wang Anshi, Wen Tianxiang, Tang Xianzu and Zhang Daqian have come to the mountain. Their calligraphic works and paintings survive to this day and are now housed in the Jiuhua Museum of Buddhist Relics.[1]



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