Puning Temple is also called Big Buddha Temple because it houses a large statue of Buddha. The temple was built from the twentieth year to the twenty-third year of Emperor Qianlong in the style of the earliest monastery of the Tibetan Buddhism-Sanmoye Temple. A gigantic structure, Puning Temple covers an area of 23,000 square meters.
Inside the temple are a gate hall, a bell-drum tower and an inscription pavilion on the middle axes. In the inscription pavilion stand the monuments of A Record of Puning Temple, A Record of Pacifying Other Tribes and A Record of Pacifying Their Descendents. Right behind the inscription pavilion are the Heaven King Palace and the Daxingbao Palace.
Further inside is the Dacheng Pavilion, a standard, Tibetan-style building with a height of 36.75 meters. Dacheng Pavilion holds a gilded statue of the Kwan-yin Bodhisattva. This statue has a thousand hands and thousand eyes, and is carved from the wood of pines, cypresses, elms, basses and firry lumber.
The Kwan-yin Bodhisattva statue is the largest wooden statue in China and has been recorded in the Guinness Encyclopedia. Shancai and Longnv stand in a mellow posture on two sides of the statue. A Miaoyan room and a scripture-telling hall flanking the pavilion were where the emperors listened to the scriptures and rested.
During the Qing Dynasty, Puning Temple held regular temple affairs from lunar December 25th to December 27th and from lunar January 8th to January 15th of each year. The Lamas of the Eight Temples gathered to perform Buddhist dances, which attracted an endless stream of villagers around the area.
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I updated this article on December 18, 2012
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