10 Famous Temples of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara
Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, also known as Guan Yin in Chinese or Kannon in Japanese, is the most renowned bodhisattva of boundless compassion in Mahayana Buddhism.
In Chapter 25 of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha urged his disciples to practice constant mindfulness of Guan Yin for divine protection and salvation in the event of calamities. The name of Guan Shi Yin means “He Who Hears the Cries of the World.” Guan Yin uses his immeasurable divine powers to help those who call his name with absolute faith.
Millions of Buddhists around the world worship Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara in the Guan Yin temple. There are innumerable stories of how people receive protection and blessings by paying homage and reverence to Guan Yin.
Ever wonder which are the famous Guan Yin temples around in the world? Here is the list of 10 famous temples of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara:
#1 – Potala Palace (Lhasa, China)
The Potala Palace is named after Mount Potalaka, the abode of Guan Yin. It is located in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, China. It used to be the residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India during the 1959 Tibetan uprising.
Potala Palace is one of the holiest buildings in Tibetan Buddhism. Now, it is now a museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
#2 – Chung Cheng Park (Taiwan, China)
The Chung Cheng Park is a park located in Zhongzheng District of Keelung City, Taiwan. The 22. 5 meter white statue of Guanyin on top of Chung Cheng park is the landmark in northern Taiwan.
#3 – Kiyomizu-Dera Temple (Kyoto, Japan)
Kiyomizudera, literally means “Pure Water Temple”, is one of the most celebrated temples of Japan. Founded in 780 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall in Kyoto, it derives its name from the fall’s pure waters. In 1994, the temple was added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites.
Kiyomizudera is best known for its wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. The stage offers visitors a spectacular view of cherry and maple trees in spring and fall, as well as of the city of Kyoto in the distance.
The main hall, which together with the stage was built without the use of nails, houses the temple’s primary object of worship, a small statue of the eleven-faced, thousand armed Kannon (Guan Yin).
#4 – Sanjusangen-do (Kyoto, Japan)
Sanjusangen-do, also known as “Hall of the Lotus King” (Rengeo-in) is a Buddhist temple dedicated to thousand-armed Kannon.
The temple name literally means the hall with thirty-three spaces between columns, describing the architecture of the long main hall of the temple.
Created by the Kamakura sculptor Tankei, the thousand-armed Kannon is a National Treasure of Japan. Flanking on both sides of thousand-armed Kannon are 1000 life-sized statues of smaller sized Kannon. The statues are made of Japanese cypress clad in gold leaf.
#5 – Guanyin of Nanshan (Hainan, China)
The Guanyin of Nanshan is a 108-metre statue located on the south coast of China’s island province Hainan near the Nanshan Temple of Sanya. It is the 14th tallest statue in the world and the tallest statue of Guanyin in the world.
#6 – Tsz Shan Monastery (Hong Kong, China)
Tsz Shan Monastery, which means literally “Compassionate Mountain Monastery”, is a large Buddhist temple located in Tai Po District, Hong Kong. The outdoor bronze Guanyin statue, 76 meters in height, is the second highest in the world.
HK$1.7 billion was donated by Li Ka-Shing, the richest man in Hong Kong, chairman of the Cheung Kong Group and the Li Ka Shing Foundation, to benefit society through the propagation of the Dharma.
#7 – Sendai Dai-Kannon (Sendai, Japan)
Sendai Daikannon, located in Sendai, Japan, depicts Kannon from the perspective of Shingon Buddhism. This Kannon statue bears a wishing gem in her hand, expressing the Nyoirin Kannon (“Wish-fulfilling Kannon”) form of Kannon.
#8 – Tokyo Wan Kannon (Chiba, Japan)
Built on top of a hill in Futtsu, Chiba, Japan, this gigantic statue of the Kannon is 56 meters high, overlooking the Boso Peninsula and Tokyo Bay. Built in 1961, the structure was designed by Masae Usami as a tribute to world peace.
#9 – Kek Lok Si Temple (Penang, Malaysia)
Kek Lok Si Temple is located in Penang island, Malaysia. The bronze Guan Yin is 30.2 meters tall. It is flanked by two Dharma protectors and sheltered under a 83 meter pavilion. This Guan Yin sculpture project took 35 years to complete.
#10 – Mount Putuo (Zhejiang, China)
Mount Putuo is on the Putuo island, which is situated in the southeast of Shanghai, Zhejiang province, China. Considered as one of the four sacred mountains in Chinese Buddhism, it is a renowned bodhimanda (places of enlightenment) for Guan Yin.
Every year, millions of people arrive at Mount Putuo on February 19 (birth date of Guan Yin), June 19 (day of enlightenment of Guan Yin), and September 19 (day of renunciation of Guan Yin) of the Lunar calendar to pay homage to the 33m tall statue of the Guan Yin at Zizhulin.