Xiangji Temple (Shaanxi)

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Xiangji Temple
DeityPure Land Buddhism
LeadershipShi Benchang (释本昌)
LocationChang'an District, Xi'an, Shaanxi
Xiangji Temple (Shaanxi) is located in China
Xiangji Temple (Shaanxi)
Shown within China
Geographic coordinates34°07′40″N 108°53′58″E / 34.127702°N 108.89936°E / 34.127702; 108.89936Coordinates: 34°07′40″N 108°53′58″E / 34.127702°N 108.89936°E / 34.127702; 108.89936
StyleChinese architecture
FounderHuaiyun (怀恽)
Date established681

Xiangji Temple (simplified Chinese: 香积寺; traditional Chinese: 香積寺; pinyin: Xiāngjī Sì) is a Buddhist temple located in Chang'an District of Xi'an, Shaanxi, China. The temple is regarded as the cradle of Pure Land Buddhism.[1]


The name of the temple is cited from the Vimalakirti Sutra.[2]


Tang dynasty[edit]

In 681, during the reign of Emperor Gaozong of Tang dynasty (618–907), master Shandao, the founder of Pure Land Buddhism, passed away. To commemorate Shandao, his disciple Huaiyun (怀恽) established the temple, which became the first temple of Pure Land Buddhism.[3][2][4] At that time, the emperor gave thousands of Sariras to the temple. When the poet Wang Wei visited the temple, he wrote a poem Visiting Xiangji Temple (过香积寺) to eulogize the beautiful scenery. Xiangji Temple was badly damaged in the An Lushan Rebellion.[1] In 840, when Taoist believer Emperor Wuzong ascended the throne, he presided over the destruction of tens of thousands of temples, and confiscate temple lands and force monks to return to secular life. Xiangji Temple was devastated in the Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution.

Song dynasty[edit]

In the Song dynasty (960–1279), Pure Land Buddhism continued to prevail in China. In 978, in the 3rd year of Taiping Xingguo period of the Northern Song dynasty (960–1127), the temple was renamed "Kaili Temple" (开立寺). But it restored the original name soon.

Ming dynasty[edit]

Xiangji Temple was renovated and refurbished in the Jiajing era of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).

Qing dynasty[edit]

In 1768, in the 32rd year of Qianlong period of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911), monks repaired the temple. In the Tongzhi period (1862–1874), the temple was completely destroyed in the Taiping Rebellion.

People's Republic of China[edit]

1956, it was listed among the first batch of provincial level key cultural heritage by the Shaanxi Provincial Government.

After the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, With the support of the Chinese government, local authorities began to reconstruct the temple.[5]

It has been designated as a National Key Buddhist Temple in Han Chinese Area by the State Council of China in 1984.

On June 25, 2001, it was classified as a "Major National Historical and Cultural Sites" by the State Council of China.[6]


The temple complex is located in the north and faces the south. Along the central axis of the temple stand five buildings including the Paifang , Shanmen, Four Heavenly Kings Hall, Mahavira Hall, Dharma Hall.


Under the eaves is a plaque with the Chinese characters "Xiangji Temple" written by the former Venerable Master of the Buddhist Association of China Zhao Puchu.

Mahavira Hall[edit]

The Mahavira Hall is the main hall in the temple. The statue of Maitreya is enshrined in the center. On both sides of the hall there are two stone lamps.

Dharma Hall[edit]

In the middle of the hall placed the statue of Sakyamuni, with Ananda and Kassapa Buddha on the left and right sides.

Pagoda of Shandao[edit]

The pagoda was built in 681 during the early Tang dynasty (618–907). The 33-metre (108 ft) pagoda has the brick structure with eleven stories and four sides. Curved bars and cornices are set on each story, which are magnificent and become the symbol of Xiangji Temple.[3][7][2][4]

Cultural relics[edit]

The Tang dynasty (618–907) reliefs of Four Heavenly Kings was lost to the United States in 1920 and is now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.[8]


  1. ^ a b 净宗祖庭:西安香积寺. Tencent (in Chinese). 2013-11-27.
  2. ^ a b c "Xiangji Temple". Chinadaily. 2005. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b Zhang Yuhuan, 2012 & 219–220.
  4. ^ a b "Shan Dao Pagoda at Xiangji Temple in Chang'an County of Shaanxi Province". china.org.cn. 2005. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  5. ^ 盛世甘露雨 祖庭又中兴. iFeng (in Chinese). 2015-07-31.
  6. ^ 国务院关于公布第五批全国重点文物保护单位和与现有全国重点文物保护单位合并项目的通知. sach.gov.cn (in Chinese). 2001.
  7. ^ Liang Sicheng (2005), p. 122.
  8. ^ Liang Sicheng (2010), p. 97.


  • Zhang Yuhuan (2012). "Cradles of Pure Land Buddhism: Xiangji Temple, Pure Land Temple and Xuanzhong Temple" 《法净土宗祖庭:香积寺、净土寺与玄中寺》. 《图解中国佛教建筑》 [Illustration of Buddhist Architecture in China] (in Chinese). Beijing: Contemporary China Publishing House. ISBN 978-7-5154-0118-8.
  • Liang Sicheng (2005). "Pagoda of Xiangji Temple" 《香积寺塔》. 《中国建筑史》 [Architecture History in China] (in Chinese). Heping District, Tianjin: Baihua Literature and Art Publishing House. ISBN 7-5306-4168-9.
  • Liang Sicheng (2010). Lin Zhu (ed.). 《佛像的历史》 [History of Buddhist Statues] (in Chinese). Beijing: China Youth Press. ISBN 978-7-5006-9253-9.