A phenomenological study of Chinese Buddhist temples - Essay Example

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This paper is about Chinese Buddhist temples from an architectural perspective. The introduction in part A describes what these temples are and this is followed by a selection of some temples of architectural significance as examples…
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A phenomenological study of Chinese Buddhist temples
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Download file to see previous pages This paper is about Chinese Buddhist temples from an architectural perspective. The introduction in part A describes what these temples are and this is followed by a selection of some temples of architectural significance as examples. The introduction in part A describes what these temples are and this is followed by a selection of some temples of architectural significance as examples. This brief survey is then used to identify some typical architectural features in part B, a description of three distinct architectural styles, and a discussion of the impact of the introduction of Buddhism in China. The main part C then describes the phenomenological study of a particular temple, namely the Bao Shan Chan Si after first justifying the method and introducing the temple. Part A: Chinese Buddhist temples Introduction to Chinese Buddhist temples Buddhist temples are spiritual spaces designed for worship, devotion or offerings according to the Buddhist religion. Chinese Buddhist temples have been known throughout history as Ci, Lanruo, Jlalan, Jingshe and Si. Temples are one of the most conspicuous and significant of buildings that exhibit Buddhist (xiu xing) architecture. Others are pagodas (religious towers), grottos (religious caves) and stupas (dome-shaped monuments). They display marvellous items with Buddhist symbolism, sculpture, painting and calligraphy. But they have more than these outward features alone. They are also places of serenity, tranquillity and holiness. They exude an atmosphere in which people can feel inner peace and spend time to purify their souls. A selection of some temples of architectural significance There are many Buddhist temples all over China, but three of these were selected to illustrate the significance of Chinese Buddhist temples from an architectural perspective. These are the JieTai temple, the Longhua temple, and Yo Fu Si. The construction of the JieTai Temple, which is outside Beijing, began during the Tan dynasty but was completed during the later Qing dynasty. The JieTai temple has a special ordination platform made of white marble containing beautifully carved figures and special rock formations and trees around its main courtyard. JieTai Temple (Source: http://www.buddhist-tourism.com/countries/china/temples/tanzhe-temple.html) The Longhua Temple is the largest in Shanghai. In its domed Grand Hall is a glided statue of the Buddha together with his disciples. There is also a special sculpture that shows how reincarnation happens. In another hall called the Three Sage Hall, there are three incarnations of the Buddha, and another room contains 500 golden small arhat statues. The temple complex also has a special pagoda constructed from wood and brick. It has an octagonal structure and seven stories, which is highly symbolic. The Grand Hall of the Longhua Temple (Source: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/china/shanghai-longhua-temple) Also in Shangai is a famous temple known as the Jade Buddha (Yu Fo Si) Temple. It is so called because it contains two Buddha statues made from white jade, which were brought over from Burma. From the perspective of architecture, the temple has a Song dynasty style so it is a fairly new temple and therefore distinct from traditional Chinese architecture. One of these distinct features is the use of circular doors as shown in the photo below. One of the circular doors of the Jade Buddha Temple (Source: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/china/shanghai-jade-buddha-temple) Part B: Typical architectural features of Chinese Buddhist temples The above survey of Buddhist temples in China has revealed typical architectural features listed below. Chinese Buddhist temples tend to have: Several large halls connected together Small courtyards separating its halls Statues of the Buddha and other ornamental sculptures Tiled roofs turned upward at the corners Common materials were wood, brick and stone Usually symmetrical ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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