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Great Charity Temple
2006-03-07 10:01:19

Guangji Si
(Photo source:

Guangji Si
is situated to the west of Xisi crossroad, on the northern side of the street. Guangji Temple means the "temple of great charity" and it is one of the major Buddhist temples and the only Buddhist temple in the downtown area in Beijing.

The temple houses a wall of 18 Buddhist deities, Ming dynasty religious relics and a library of over 100,000 volumes of scriptures in 20 different languages, some of which date back to the Song dynasty. These are of high value in researching Chinese Buddhism. The Guangji Temple now houses the China Buddhist Association. Important Buddhist ceremonies and activities are usually held there.


The temple was originally built in the Jin dynasty (280-316AD), but was completely destroyed during the chaos of the Jin and Yuan dynasties. During the reign of Emperor Shunzhi (the second emperor in the Qing Dynasty), more buildings were added and Buddhist schools were established in the temple, which had more than 100 followers. The temple was again destroyed by fire in 1934. Countless scrolls of calligraphy and paintings and valuable jade and porcelain pieces were destroyed in the fire.

Guangji Si
(Photo source:

After China's liberation in 1972 and 1976, two innovations brought the temple the current layout. Since 1953, the temple has been the headquarters of the Chinese Buddhist Association and a center for Buddhist learning.


Like most Buddhist temples in China, main buildings are placed on the north-south axis: Mountain Gate Hall, Devajara Hall (Hall of the Heavenly Kings), Mahavira Hall (Daxiongbaodian), Treasure Hall and other side halls.

A two-meter high bronze Ding (a kind of bronze vessel usually found in front of a hall in Buddhist temples) on a granite foundation inside the Mahavira Hall is known for exquisitely-carved designs of Wheel, Conch Shell, Umbrella, Gan, Flower, Vase, Fish and Knot of Eternity. They are eight sacred symbols in Buddhist.

On the back wall In the northwestern end of the temple is a terrace where Buddhist dignitaries give lectures. The terrace and a hall beside it are the only two original buildings in the temple.

How to get there: Bus No.13, 101, 102, 105, 823, 812, 814 to Xisi

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