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Yunju Temple

The Yunju Temple lies seventy kilometers (43.5 miles) from Beijing downtown, Fangshan District. Backing on the Shijing Hill, it covers an area of over seven hectares (about seventeen acres). The temple itself, the caves with stone sutra inscriptions and a cluster of ancient pagodas make it a Buddhist Mecca and the temple preserves the most stone sutras in caves in the world.

It was first built in the transitional period from the Sui Dynasty (581-618) to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). After much restoration during later dynasties, it revealed a sense of grandness. Six main halls stood on a central axis, comprising five enclosing courtyards. Wing halls, monk's dormitories and elegant pagodas are spread out in an orderly fashion. The temple was bombed and almost totally destroyed in 1942 during Japanese invasion of China. The current temple regains its elegant demeanor following reconstruction in 1985 and 1998.

The temple is renowned for its sutras on paper, wood and stone. The 'Paper Sutra', totaling more than 22,000 scrolls, was written and printed in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The story goes that an eminent monk wrote one of those sutras with his blood to show his piety to Sakyamuni, father of Buddhism. The sutra on wood, called Long Zang (Dragon Tripitaka), containing over 77,000 pieces, was carved from 1733 to 1738 of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). This sutra is one of the two Tibetan Tripitaka books in Chinese, with the other named Korea Tripitaka kept in Korea.

The sutra inscription on stones in caves of the Shijing Hill is truly a spectacle. The engraving work began early in the year 605 of the Sui Dynasty (581-618) and lasted 1,039 years until the Ming Dynasty. Subsequently, 3,572 Buddhist books were carved on the stone, which is a rare feat in world history. There are nine such caves in the hill; the Leiyin Cave being the most significant. Inside the cave stand four pillars, which are sculpted with 1056 Buddha statues. Visitors can see these stone sutras at the underground palace from nine windows. Now, a ropeway is available for visitors' climbing the hill and wanting a view.

The ancient pagodas in the temple are distinctive in style. One in the northeast of the temple is especially important as it was built in the Liao Dynasty (916-1125) and has an unusual and rare body. It is surrounded by four seven-storey small pagodas, built in the Tang Dynasty. Buddha's relics were unearthed from the Leiyin Cave in 1982 and was said to be Sakyamuni's remains after his cremation.

Yunju Temple
CNY 40
Shijing Hill
CNY 15
Opening Hours:
Bus Route:
917 (Tianqiao Long Distance Bus Station-Donghugang), and get off at Yunjusi Daokou, and then you could arrive at the Yunju Temple.
616, 646, 917 Zhuan, 917 Zhi 3, 953, 971 to Liangxiang Ximen, and then take a small bus No.12 to Yunjusi (Yunju Temple).