Dating from 1882 the Jade Buddha Temple (also known as the Yufo Temple) contains two jade Buddha statues brought to Shanghai from Burma. The statues were given to the Abbot HuiGen after a visit to Tibet and Burma. On his return to Shanghai he built a temple with funds that had been donated for that task. The statues remained there until the uprising of 1911, which brought an end to imperial rule. The temple was destroyed during the revolution but was reconstructed on the same site during the period 1918 - 28, in the style of the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279). The statues were saved from the original temple and were brought back to the new one in 1928 when the new temple was completed
The statues are carved from white jade; one is the sitting Buddha which is 1.9 metres high encrusted with jewels and portrays the Buddha in meditation at the moment of enlightenment. The other is the reclining Buddha which is just under a metre long; it lies on a redwood bed and represents the Buddha at the moment of his death. The temple also has another reclining Buddha which is four metres long and was brought to the temple in 1989 from Singapore.
Apart from being a Temple it is also a Chan (Zen) Buddhist monastery, it consists of a number of main halls which are open to the public, these being the Tianwang Dian Hall which contains the statues of ferocious looking deities known as the four celestial kings; the Daxiong Baodian Hall which has three large gilded Buddha statues: the Buddhas of the past (Bhaisajya-guru), present (Sakyamuni) and future (Maitreya) surrounded with eighteen gilded Luohan statues. The third is the Jade Buddha Tower which houses the Sitting Buddha, no photographs of that are allowed; it has two courtyards and at the sides are the Kwan-yin Dian Hall, the Amitabha Dian Hall, the Zen Tang Hall, and the Recumbent Buddha Hall where the Reclining Buddha is located. The temple contains many other statues and artefacts, not all of which are on display, while the walls are line with around 7,000 Buddhist sutras.
From the outside the temple is quite plain looking but inside it contains many beautiful items which make it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Shanghai.
To see more photographs and take a virtual tour of the site click on the photoshow below.
Copyright - All Photographs copyright Ron Gatepain