Puning Temple

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This article is about the temple. For the city in Guangdong, China, see Puning.
Puning Temple
Chengde, China - 022.jpg
Basic information
Affiliation Buddhist
Region China
Province Hebei
Municipality Chengde
Status Preserved
Heritage designation 1994
Architectural style Tibetan
Completed 1755
Specifications

The Puning Temple (Chinese: 普宁寺; pinyin: Pǔníng Sì; literally: "Temple of Universal Peace") of Chengde, Hebei province, China (commonly called the Big Buddha Temple[1]) is a Qing dynasty era Buddhist temple complex built in 1755, during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (1735-1796 AD) to show the Qing's respect to Tibetan Buddhism. It is located near the Chengde Mountain Resort, and alongside the equally famed Putuo Zongcheng Temple, it is one of the "Eight Outer Temples" of Chengde. Much how the Putuo Zongcheng Temple was modeled after the Tibetan Potala Palace, the Puning Temple was modeled after the Samye Monastery, the sacred Lamaist site in Tibet. The front temple was constructed in the Chinese style, although the temple complex follows both Chinese and Tibetan architectural styles. The Puning Temple also houses the world's tallest wooden sculpture of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara (22.28-meter-high and 110-ton),[2][3] hence the Puning Temple is often nicknamed the "Big Buddha Temple". The complex features temple halls, pavilions, drum towers and bell towers. [4]

History[edit]

The Qianlong Emperor (r. 1735–1796) touring Chengde.
The giant wooden Bodhisattva of Puning Temple; click here for a closer look.

Since the 17th century, during the late Chinese Ming dynasty, the Dzungar people of northwestern China (modern Xinjiang) were engaged in a civil war and conflicts with other nomadic horse-archer groups in the region. The later Qianlong Emperor dispatched an army to Yili in order to suppress their resistance against the Qing dynasty. The Chinese attacked Kulja (Yining) and captured the ruling Dzungar khan. After the conquest, Emperor Qianlong personally inscribed his writing on a tablet that is located in the stele pavilion of the Puning Temple. This stele of 1755, called the Puning Sibei, commemorated the founding of the temple and the conquering of the Dzungars.[5] Qianlong ordered for the building of this new Temple of Universal Peace, a symbol of the emperor's ambition to maintain peace among various ethnic minorities and a stable environment within 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," being the location of the summer capital.[5] Since the Dzungar were followers of Lamaism, the temple was built in imitation of Samye monastery, the sacred place of Lamaism in Tibet.[4]

The large wooden Buddhist statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara within 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.

As of 1994, the Chengde Mountain Resort and Chengde's Eight Outer Temples (including the Puning Temple) were established as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Today, the Puning Temple remains a site of tourist attraction and local festivities.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "China Stamps...". Xabusiness.com. Retrieved 2007-05-16. 
  2. ^ "Puning Temple - Jongo Knows - Encyclopedia of China". Knows.Jongo.com. Retrieved 2007-05-16. 
  3. ^ "China Philatelic Information - World of Chinese Stamps". CPI.com.cnm. Archived from the original on 2007-04-09. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  4. ^ a b Waley-Cohen, Joanna. "Commemorating War in Eighteenth-Century China," Modern Asian Studies (Volume 30, Number 4, Special Issue: War in Modern China, 1996): 869–899.
  5. ^ a b Waley-Cohen, 880.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°0′50″N 117°56′48″E / 41.01389°N 117.94667°E / 41.01389; 117.94667