Great Xiangguo Temple
The Great Xiangguo Temple, standing in the centre of Kaifeng, is a temple of great fame, status and influence in Chinese Buddhism.
It was established in 555, the sixth year of the Tianbao Period of the Northern Qi and called the Jianguo Temple. It was destroyed in war and rebuilt in 711. In 712, Emperor Ruizong (r. 710-712) renamed it Great Xiangguo Temple to mark his enthronement.
In the early Song Dynasty, around the mid-10th century, it became the royal temple, with the emperor directly appointing the abbots of its branch temples.
Now, the temple has a Devaraja Hall, a Mahavira Hall, an octagonal Vaidurya Hall and a Sutra Pavilion. A Sharira of Sakyamuni’s true body donated by the Lingshan Temple of Singapore was set in the monastery in 1993. Many of its Buddhist statues are rarities, which include a gingko-wood statue of the 1,000-Armed-and-1,000-Eyed Avalokiteshvara in the octagonal Vaidurya Hall. Famous both at home and abroad, the seven-meter-high statue has 1,000 hands in each of its four sides, stretching out in four layers. This exquisite piece of art was made during the reign period of the Qing Emperor Qianlong (1736-1785), and took over 50 years to complete.