Located on Guangxiao Road in Guangzhou, the Guangxiao Temple (Temple of Bright Filial Piety) occupies an important place in Chinese Buddhism. During the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-581), Zen Master Zhiyao, an Indian monk, traveled to Guangzhou via Tibet. He lectured on the site of the temple and planted a bodhi tree he had brought with him. Another Indian monk came to lecture in Guangzhou, bringing with him the cassock and alms bowl of the Buddha. In 749, the eminent Monk Jianzhen of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) stayed in the temple for a while. Also during the Tang Dynasty, Monk Huineng was initiated into monkhood under the said bodhi tree. Huineng founded the Southern School of Zen Buddhism and has been extolled as the "Sixth Master of Zen Buddhism."
The temple has a magnificent and imposing appearance. The Mahavira Hall is its main structure. Standing on a high platform, this stately hall is guarded by the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower on either side. Inside are three newly repaired statues of Buddha. The central one is Sakyamuni with Manjusri on the left and Samantabhadra on the right. Together, they are called the "Three Sages of Avatamsa." The arches of the roof protrude in the typical style of the Tang Dynasty. Many temples in south China imitate the architectural style of Guangxiao Temple.