Jade Buddha Temple
Pictures by: Father Tomas Del Valle-Reyes & Mark A. Torres
The Jade Buddha Temple (Chinese: pinyin: Yùfó Chán Sì, literally Jade Buddha Chan Temple)
is a Buddhist temple in Shanghai, China.
As with many modern Chinese Buddhist temples, the current temple draws from both the Pure Land and Chan traditions of Mahayana Buddhism. It was founded in 1882 with two jade Buddha statues imported to Shanghai from Burma by sea. These were a sitting Buddha (1.95 metres tall, 3 tonnes), and a smaller reclining Buddha representing Buddha's death.
The temple now also contains a much larger reclining Buddha made of marble, donated from Singapore, and visitors may mistake this larger sculpture for the original, smaller piece.
During the rule of emperor Guang Xu in the Qing Dynasty (1875–1908), Hui Gen, an abbot from
Mount Putuo went on a pilgrimage to Tibet via the two famous Chinese mountains Mount Wutai and Mount Emei.
After Tibet, he arrived in Burma. Whilst there, Mr. Chen Jun-Pu, an overseas Chinese resident in Burma, donated
five Jade statues of Buddha to Hui Gen, who transported two of them back to Jiang-wan, Shanghai.
Here Hui Gen had a temple built with donated funds, and died shortly thereafter. This temple was occupied during the 1911 uprising, and the statues were moved to Maigen Road.
An Abbot by the name of Ke Chen later had a new temple built on land donated by Sheng, Xuanhuai. Mr. Sheng Huaixuan was a senior official in the Qing court, and his father and his uncle were pious Buddhist disciples. They built houses with thatched roofs at Yizhou Pond by the Zhuanghuabang River in the northeast of Shanghai. This can be accounted as the predecessor of the monastery. The construction took ten years, and lasted from 1918-1928. Ke Chen also invited Reverend Di Xian from Tian Tai mountain to come and lecture on Buddhism in a magnificent ceremony.
In 1956, a ceremony was held at the temple by the Shanghai Buddhist Association to celebrate the 2500th anniversary of Gautama Buddha's enlightenment.