Today, my roommate and I got up super early to catch a train from Shanghai to Wuxi, then a bus to the Lingshan Buddhist Scenic Spot. Coming from a buddhist background, she hoped to wish for good grades and prosperity – but invited me to come along to experience what she aptly described as a “Buddhists theme park”.
This huge scenic area includes a range of attractions, including a giant buddha statue and several palaces and temples.
Nine Dragons Bathing Sakyamuni
We arrived just in time for the 11:30 display of the birth of Sakyamuni, who, according to Buddhist sutras, was born able to speak and walk. There is a huge fountain with a tall lotus statue, from within which Sakyamuni emerges while rotating to the music. Drinking the water of the fountain is said to bring good luck and prosperity, so after the incredible display we joined the crowds queueing to fill up water bottles!
Bronze Relief Wall
This impressively detailed wall depicts Sakyamuni meditating, calm despite being surrounded by the chaos of the world. This represents the challenges Sakyamuni faced during his path to enlightenment.
Buddha’s Hand Square
This square area focused around a giant hand of Buddha, representing comfort and security. Also here is a smaller statue of Maitreya reclining while mini children play on his body, touching his toe is supposed to bring good luck.
Crossing over one of three bridges bought us to this Tang dynasty temple dedicated to Maitreya, which also contains a small drum tower and bell tower – apparently with the largest bell in Southern China. The square out the back of the temple is famous for it’s ancient Ginkgo tree, which is over 1,400 years old and supposedly home to a sacred green snake.
The focal point of the whole scenic area, this huge Buddha is the largest bronze statue of Sakyamuni in the world. His right hand points to heaven, encouraging people to be brave and peaceful, while the other hand points to Earth to bless all living things with safety and happiness. The method used to carefully sculpt the eyes means that they always appear to be looking at you. We were able to climb up to touch the feet of the statue for good luck as well as to admire the incredible views over the valley.
Underneath the statue itself there is a museum of Buddhist culture which has some interesting exhibits and information on the spread of Buddhism in China and the influence it has had on Chinese culture.
This huge palace is a monument to Buddhist art and culture in China, with truly spectacular interiors. Photos simply cannot do it justice, you have to really be there to experience the majesty of the place.
Five Mudra Mandala
This palace, situated on a small island on the lake, follows the Tibetan Buddhism architectural style. Inside it is similarly spectacular, with many paintings and woodcarvings to admire.
Overall, an incredible day experiencing Chinese Buddhist culture and exploring some great temples and palaces.
Ticket: 210 RMB