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Jingshan Temple

Well known for the Jingshan Temple and Luyu Fountain, Yuhang District ofHangzhou in Zhejiang Province was dubbed as the “original place of Japanese TeaCeremony and the birth place of the Tea Sutra” . Lu Yu, the tea saint of Tang Dynasty,ever made aspecial study in Jingshan Mountain and created the Tea Sutra, the world’ sfirst book on tea, along Shaoxi River at the foot of the Jingshan Mountain.

Jingshan Temple(径山寺)located at Jingshan Hill, Changle Town, Yuhang District, Hangzhou, was originally built in Tang Dynasty. In South Song Dynasty, Jiangshan Temple was at its summit time and the top temple among five most famous Buddhist temples in Jiangnan region. The scale of Jingshan Temple was quite huge and significant, and had more than 1,700 monks and more than 1000 rooms. Due to the warfare and lack of reconstruction, the original building complex was mostly ruined. Currently, there is only the bell tower was the original architecture and a huge bell, made in the first years of Yongle period of Ming Dynasty, hung in it. And also three iron Buddha statues made in Song Dynasty as well as a huge stele themed with different biographies of Buddhist masters of different periods. After 1983, annually, several groups of Buddhist monks visited Jingshan Temple. And in April, 1997, Jingshan Temple was largely reconstructed. Today, it is quite eye-catching surrounded by the highrise buildings of downtown Hangzhou.

in the south of the Yangtze River Delta during the Song (960-1279) and the Yuan (1279-1368).
  Master Faqin came to Jingshan in 743. He built himself a shelter, started a tea farm, and practiced Buddhism. From the very begin-ning, tea was an integral part of the master’s Buddhism practice. The temple came into being and the reputation spread. During the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), it was designated as the tem-ple for the royal house and called Jingshan Wanshou (meaning Lon-gevity) Zen Temple. It was officially designated as the number one of the ten Buddhist temples in the south.

Tea was more than a way of life since day one with Master Fa-qin. Zen monks needed to sit and meditate for a long while. A cup of tea helped them calm down and sustain their energy for keeping concentrated on their spiritual inquiry. Tea sipping became popular first among Zen monks. This practice became widespread with the promotion on the part of Lu Yu, who wrote Book of Tea. During one of his field studies across Zhejiang, he stayed near Jingshan Hill.
  Tea evolved to play a central part in the Buddhism practices at Jingshan Temple. A set of complex tea rituals was developed and integrated. Monks needed to master the tea-related commandments and daily routines. Tea rituals were also developed to entertain visiting monks, pilgrims and disciples. Over centuries, initial rules concerning tea at Jingshan Temple grew into “Commandments of the Zen Temple”, stipulating procedures and a complete list of dos and don’ts concerning how tea rites should be observed and con-ducted at the temple. This set of tea rites went to Japan and grew into the Sado or the way of tea, developed and perfected by monks of Rinzai Sect in Japan.
  In the past, the tea party was held at Bright Moon Hall for visit-ing VIPs such as court ministers, nobles, venerable monks, and celebrated scholars. Such a ceremonious reception differed in scale and process from those held by and for monks at the temple. At a reception for secular VIPs, monks acted as hosts and VIPs guests. They sat separately according to a seating plan developed and abided by at the temple. On some occasions, however, guests and seculars could be mixed in seating.
  Ordinary tea parties were small in scale and did not qualify to be held at the Grand Brightness Hall. Tea could be served at Zen rooms, guest rooms and monks’ dorms.
  Bright Moon Hall is spacious with large windows. The simply furnished hall opens to a view of shady trees, peaks and the sky, creating a sense of serenity and majesty. In front of the hall is a small pond dug by a monk hundreds of years ago.

 

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