One of the most visited attractions of Shanghai is the temple of the Jade Buddha. It is famous for its statues of Shakyamuni Buddha carved from solid pieces of jade. This place now functions as a functioning Buddhist monastery, but tourists do not recall anything about it in the church. Monks prefer to stay away from onlookers.
This is an interesting place to look on the way to other interesting places in Shanghai, as its inspection does not take much time. About what exactly you will see here, we will tell in this article.
How to get there
It's not such an easy task. Right next to the temple there is no metro station. The nearest stop of the Shanghai Metro is 800 meters from the temple, but you will not have to go straight.
We need to get to Changshou Road Station (Changshu Street). After leaving the station, you need to go along Changde Street in the direction from the intersection, and turn left at the second turn. Next in a straight line, on the left there will be a temple of the Jade Buddha, you will not confuse it with anything.
It is easy to get lost in search of a temple, therefore, we recommend to go by taxi . From the People's Square to the Temple of the Jade Buddha about 5 kilometers. You can finish watching Nanjing Street or the Shanghai Museum , and take a taxi to the temple. It will cost about 25 RMB . Agree, at such prices it is easier to get by taxi than to stray along Shanghai lanes.
Rules of conduct in the temple
We need to remove street shoes. In the temple of the Jade Buddha you will be given a pair of slippers, the service is included in the ticket price, which is 20 yuan. Not all Buddhist temples in China observe this rule. For example, in the Guiyang Temple in Wuhan, we did not see anyone who would take off his shoes.
In Buddhist temples you can not take a photo, although this prohibition is also violated everywhere. Each temple has its own rules. By the way, not a single sutra of Buddhism says nothing about the ban on images.
And of course, do not shout and do not make a noise - this rule is the same in all churches. Dressing is not best defiant, although there is no serious dress code, like in mosques, here. An example of requirements for Islamic temples, see the article about the Sheikh Zayd Great Mosque , where the dress code is shown clearly.
Naturally, one should not be drunk in a temple, drunkenness in Buddhism is considered a very negative phenomenon and is condemned.
What to watch is a jade statue of a seated Buddha
According to legend, at the end of the 19th century, a monk made a pilgrimage to Tibet and after that visited Burma (Myanmar). His name was Hui Jen (the name was slightly changed in the interest of censorship). In Burma, one of the representatives of the local Chinese diaspora presented him with 5 Buddha statues from jade. Two of them are in the temple, and the fate of three other legends is silent.
The main attraction of the temple is a large Buddha statue in a sitting position. Judging by the almost closed eyes, Shakyamuni is depicted during meditation. The statue has a height of 1.95 meters and weighs 3 tons. Indeed, such a statue of jade you will not see often. With him can only be compared "emerald buddha" in the Royal Palace of Bangkok in Thailand.
To inspect this statue you will have to pay 10 more yuan in excess of the ticket price.
In the hall with the statue you can get lucky and there will not be other visitors, and maybe you will not be lucky and the hall will be filled with people. To look at this work of art in a calm environment, we strongly recommend coming here on a weekday.
What to watch - a jade statue of a recumbent Buddha
Is in another room. It is smaller in size and weight, but also carved from a single piece of jade. This is the second statue from the monk brought by Hui Jen from Burma.
Other statues and halls
The main hall is the largest and contains three gilded statues. They are all Buddha. In the center of Buddha Shakyamuni (Buddha of the Present), on the left is the Buddha Amitabha, who lived for a long time, but is still revered, to the right Buddha Baysagyagura, about which little is known, but he is considered the patron of medicine.
Also in the hall are statues of 18 Arhats (also enlightened people who chose the path to nirvana) and sculptures of 20 Heavenly Kings. The statue of Guanin (female embodiment of compassion Buddhas) and Shang Kai (considers the patron of wealth) is surrounded by sculptures of 53 teachers. This is an ancient legend, we will tell it somehow separately.
Chamber of the Four Heavenly Kings. There is a statue of Maitreya (Buddha of the Future), as well as Shang Kai and four other Kings of the heavens.
All the characters of Buddhism, represented in the temple, to remember a simple tourist is almost impossible. In secret, most Buddhists do not understand them, not to mention travelers from European countries. We do not recommend trying to do this, but just go, watch and enjoy the ancient art.
Remember the main thing. Many call them all gods or deities. This is a very serious mistake. In Buddhism there are no gods at all. All these characters are people who have attained enlightenment and dedicated their existence to the deliverance of all living beings from suffering. Because of this, they are revered, and they are asked for help by Buddhist believers.
Even the Buddha Shakyamuni was only a man, but a great teacher of mankind.
What else to do in the temple of the Jade Buddha?
Inside there are several small restaurants. There you can sit and eat, and the prices are moderate. We recommend to rest and drink tea. This is a great place where there is no hustle and bustle of the vast Shanghai that will instantly flood you, as soon as you step outside the temple.
You can also buy a wand of incense, light it and put it in the smoker. This is not forbidden to do and not Buddhists. You can ask for something from Buddha Shakyamuni. He was a man, but after death he remained in our world, and helps people at the time of need. Naturally, you do not need to ask to make you rich or punish your neighbor, who has been repairing for two years now and does not let you sleep. Wishes should be kind.
Some sites recommend viewing Buddhist texts that are stored in the temple. It is doubtful that one of the readers knows at least the name of at least one sacred text of Buddhism. But you can still look purely out of curiosity.
Successful visit to the temple of the Jade Buddha, and read our other articles about China ( links below ).