Donglin Temple, located at the west foot of Mt Lu, was built by a monk called Hunyuan, who founded the Jingtuzong sect of Buddhism, during the East Jin Dynasty.It is one of the oldest temples on the mountain, with a history of over 1,600 years. Donglin Temple had religious exchanges with India, Japan and Indonesia throughout its history.
Today, visitors to Donglin Temple are offered the opportunity to dine with monks there. The dining etiquette goes as follows: visitors walk into the dining hall quietly, the man first and the woman following him; the man is seated on the right and woman on the left. No noise is allowed to be made during dinner time. Before the beginning of the dinner, there is a religious ritual, which is usually presided over by the most revered monk in the temple.
During the ritual, the director standing in the front of the Buddhist image and the other monks standing in lines on the right side of the hall, chant Buddhist scriptures, kowtow and beat drums. All food provided is vegetarian but it is well prepared and tastes very good.
All the buildings of Donglin Temple follow a vertical center axis. Along the axis are the Temple Gate, the main hall, Maitreya Hall and Shenyun Hall. Flanking the main hall are halls for 500 Buddist arhats. Behind Sanxiao Hall is the Scripture Tower and Congming Spring.Viewed from a distance, the temple buildings in their green shades look majestic.