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Da Xiangguo Temple (Temple the Chief Minister)

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Da Xianggguo Temple is a famous Buddhist temple in China. It was first built in Northern Qi Dynasty. It used to be favored by the imperial families, thus having been enlarged for many times and finally ranking the largest temple in Dongjing(Kaifeng) with 64 meditation and discipline yards and thousands of monks.

Today's Da Xiangguo Temple mainly contains Tianwang(Heavenly Kings) Hall, Daxiongbaodian Hall(Hall of Sakyamuni) , Octagonal Glazed Hall, and Sutra Hall. The Octagonal Glazed Palace houses a seven-meter high, thousand-handed and thousand-eyed wooden statue of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva with so delicate carving techniques that it is regarded as the masterpiece of China's ancient wood carving art. After 1992, such buildings as Bell Tower and Drum Tower were gradually built in this temple. You can find a large bell of the Qing Dynasty in Bell Tower.

Daxiangguo Temple reached its heyday in the Tang and Song Dynasty. Especially in the Song Dynasty, continual enlargements were made in the temple so that it became the largest Buddhist temple in the nation. With a total area of more than 500 mu (Mu is a unit of area(=0.667 hectares), this temple owned 64 meditation and discipline yards and more than 1000 monks. Its buildings were so splendid and beautiful that it won a reputation as "having the glitter of gold and of jade and surpassing the rosy cloud". The abbot of Daxiangguo Temple was chosen by the emperor himself. This temple was also called "imperial temple", for it was the place where the emperor made frequent visits and held prayer, Heaven-thank, and even Jinshi(winners of civil examination) title granting ceremony. But as the Northern Song Dynasty perished, the temple received great damages. In following dynasties, it was continuously rebuilt and restored with ups and downs.The existing structures were mainly built in the Qing Dynasty.

History of the Name:

Originally, Xiangguo Temple was the house of Lord Xinling of Wei Kingdom. In 555, the sixth year of Tianbao Rein of the Northern Qi Emperor Wenxuandi, a temple was built here and named Jianguo Temple, but finally destroyed in wars. In 701, the first year of Chang'an Rein of the Dang Dynasty, a monk named Huiyun came here and in the name of its being a sacred place collected donations to purchase this place and construct a temple. The tablet of Jianguo Temple was found during the construction process, so the name "Jianguo Temple" was adopted again. In 712, the first year of Yanhe Rein of the Tang Dyansty, Emperor Ruizong changed "Jiangguo Temple" into "Xiangguo Temple", for he ascended the throne as Xiang Prince. He even wrote "Da Xiang Guo Si" (Daxiangguo Temple) as the tablet.