- Join a ceremony of monk blessing.
Overview – Puning Temple
The Puning Temple (lit.: ‘Temple of Universal Peace’), commonly called the Big Buddha Temple, is a Buddhist temple complex in Chengde, Hebei province, China. It was built in 1755 during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor in the Qing dynasty. It is near the Chengde Mountain Resort and alongside the equally famed Putuo Zongcheng Temple. Puning Temple is one of the “Eight Outer Temples” of Chengde.
Puning Temple is about 250 meters in depth and 130 meters in width. The architecture of the temple is very unique. The front yard is all Han-style buildings. There are traditional Chinese-style mountain gates, Tianwang Hall, side hall and Daxiong Hall. The backyard is a typical Tibetan building. With the majestic Mahayana Pavilion as the center, there are a group of buildings imitating the famous Samye Monastery in Tibet.
The Puning Temple was modeled after the Samye Monastery, the sacred Buddhist site in Tibet (much as the Putuo Zongcheng Temple was modeled after the Potala Palace in Lhasa). The front temple was constructed in the Chinese style, although the temple complex follows both Chinese and Tibetan architectural styles. The Puning Temple houses the world’s tallest wooden sculpture of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara (22.28-meter-high and 110 ton), hence it is often nicknamed the “Big Buddha Temple”. The complex features temple halls, pavilions, drum towers, and bell towers.
Since the 18th century, during the Qing dynasty, the Dzungar people of northwestern modern China (Xinjiang) were engaged in war against Qing empire invasion. The Qianlong Emperor of the Qing dynasty dispatched an army to Yili to suppress their resistance against Qing rule. The Qing army attacked Kulja (Yining) and captured the ruling Dzungar khan. After the conquest, the Qianlong Emperor personally inscribed his writing on a tablet that is in the stele pavilion of the Puning Temple.
This stele of 1755, called the Puning Sibei, commemorated the founding of the temple and the victory over the Dzungars. The Qianlong Emperor ordered the building of this new Temple of Universal Peace, a symbol of his ambition to maintain peace among ethnic minorities and a stable environment in the northwestern regions. The historian Waley-Cohen calls Chengde “a crucial location for the exhibition of Manchu power and the representation of Qing imperial knowledge,” is the location of the summer capital.
As of 1994, the Chengde Mountain Resort and Chengde’s Eight Outer Temples (including the Puning Temple) were established as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Mountain Resort (the Qing dynasty’s summer palace), in Hebei Province, was built between 1703 and 1792. It is a vast complex of palaces and administrative and ceremonial buildings. Temples of various architectural styles and imperial gardens blend harmoniously into a landscape of lakes, pastureland, and forests. In addition to its aesthetic interest, the Mountain Resort is a rare historic vestige of the final development of feudal society in China.UNESCO
The large wooden Buddhist statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara in the main hall of the Puning Temple is one of its most renowned features. It shows a thousand different eyes and a thousand different arms stretched out from its frame (in various sizes). The statue itself is made from five kinds of wood, including pine, cypress, elm, fir, and linden.