Longhua Temple

Shanghai, China

Longhua Temple


The Longhua Temple (traditional Chinese: 龍華寺; simplified Chinese: 龙华寺; pinyin: Lónghúa Sì, Shanghainese: Lon-ngu-zy, alternatively Lunghwa Temple; literally "Dragon Flower Temple") is a Buddhist temple dedicated to the Maitreya Buddha in Shanghai. Although most of the present day buildings date from later reconstructions, the temple preserves the architectural design of a Song dynasty (960–1279) monastery of the Chan School. It is the largest, most authentic and complete ancient temple complex in the city of Shanghai.

The temple was first built in 242 AD, during the Three Kingdoms Period (220–165). According to a legend, Sun Quan, King of the Kingdom of Wu (222–280), had obtained Sharira relics, which are cremated remains of the Buddha. To house these precious relics, the king ordered the construction of 13 pagodas. Longhua Pagoda (龍華塔), part of the Longhua temple complex, is said to have been one of them. Like the function of the pagoda, the name of the temple also has its origin in a local legend according to which a dragon once appeared on the site.

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