The two iron pagodas on either side of the main temple are worth inspecting closely, as they are thought to be the oldest of their kind in China. The Eastern Iron Pagoda (Dongtie Ta) dates from 967 and is decorated with over 900 niches with statuettes of Buddha. The Western Iron Pagoda (Xitie Ta), dating from 963, only retains three storeys.
The Temple of Bright Filial Piety on Jinghau Road, a short distance from the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees, is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Guangzhou and was the mansion of Prince Zhao Jiande of the Nanyue Kingdom during the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D.24).
The temple was initially built by an Indian monk during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317- 420) but the present temple, occupying an area of 31,000 square meters, dates from the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911). The temple has an important place in Buddhist history as Huineng of the Zen Buddhist sect was a novice monk here in the 7th century. In 1151 the building received its present name. Of the original 30 temples and palaces only about ten have survived. More photo's can be found in my travelogues.
Open: 8am-5pm. Admission: RMB5.
As the sixth patriarch of Zen Buddhism, Hui Neng, trained at this temple in the 7th Century, it is a popular pilgrimage site for Zen Buddhists. The temple has been destroyed several times by fire, and the current buildings date only from the mid 19th century.
Guangxiao Temple is a magnificant and ancient temple, built as the mansion for Prince Zhao Jiande of the Nanyue Kingdom during the Western Han Dynasty (206BC - 24AD). An Indian monk first built the temple during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317 - 420). The Mahavira (Daxiong) Hall is the oldest structure in South China.
In 676 Huineng, one of the six founders of Chinese Buddhism had his head shaven in Guangxiao Temple and became a monk. Later monks of the temple built the a small pagoda to hold his hair.
The temple grounds also hold the oldest Iron Pagodas in China, dating from 963 (West) and 967 (East). At one time they were gilded, but this has long since peeled off.
Please see my travelogue for more pictures of the temple.
Guangxiao Si has been a famous Buddhist temple and pilgrimage site for millenia... It was one of the temples where the famous Chan (Chinese Zen) master Hui Neng practiced during the 7th century (circa 676 A.D.) and he even had his hair cut at this very place...! Shown here, a detail view of the large golden Buddha of the temple...
More amazingly, the first ancestor of Chan, the Indian Monk Damo (or Bodhidarma), also practiced here and according to legend built the ancient well (circa 527 A.D.) that you see in the photo shown here, just behind the two young Chinese girls that I met at the temple who offered to guide me... It is called the "Spring for washing the monk's alms bowl".
Guangxiao Si, also known as the Bright Filial Piety Temple, is built on the site of one of the oldest Buddhist Temples in China, extending back at least as far as the 4th century A.D., and possibly all the way back before the founding of the city of Guangzhou itself around the 2nd century A.D.... Pictured here is the huge golden Buddha of this temple...
Guangxiao-Temple: Faith is a precious gift though a wellperformed art in China,
thousands of joss sticks spreading fragant smoke everywhere throughout the park...
Guangxiao-Temple: On the right hand side of the park there is an open pagoda
with wall paintings that tell tales about the coming of Buddha.
Guangxiao Temple - founded in the 3rd century and populated by Huineng, a chan-buddhist, buried in the pagoda of the entombed hair (yifata).