Wenshu Monastery Tours – Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China
About this place
In 1691 it was believed that the monk Ci Du reached such a state of enlightenment that he reportedly shook the ground and radiated light. Local officials concluded he must be the reincarnation of Manjusri and the monastery was renamed Wenshu (Manjusri). The Zen Buddhist monastery was originally built between 605-617 during the Tang Dynasty.
The Wenshu temple itself is easily the best-preserved temple in Chengdu. It is an imposing three story building as each story has a high ceiling. Three large paintings on the first floor should not be missed as each painting weaves an intricate tale about Buddhism in China or India. The paintings are filled with Buddhist symbolism set on a background of Indian and Chinese natural wonders and landmarks. If you speak Chinese, the monks will be more than happy to tell you about the paintings.
The monastery is a shady, quiet place to stroll about. Rugged rock gardens and bonsai trees bring a peaceful setting to a monastery crammed into urban China. Different buidlings around the complex contain nearly 1000 calligraphic works done by famous calligraphers from China, and suprisingly Japan. The inclusion of Japanese works is a testament to the shared religious friendship that transcends two nations historically at odds.
Next to the Wenshu Temple, the Peace Pagoda of a Thousand Buddhas is a new addition to the monastery at 22 meters in height. The tallest iron cast pagoda in China features six bells at its top which chime with the wind. Naturally the monastery also has a large teahouse on the east side. If you visit the monastery, definitely have a meal at the vegetarian restaurant next to the teahouse. Dishes range from Y4-75, and they are excellent. Don’t be worried by the words "pork" and "beef" all over the bilingual menu, they use fake substitutes for meat. Also, don’t be scared away by dishes which the menu says are spicy. Compared to hotpot, they aren’t really spicy at all.
Recently a pleasant tourist neighborhood was built just to the east of the entrance. There are plenty of dining and shopping options if you are craving either after a stroll at the monastery.
Directions: The Wenshu Monastery is just off of the east side of Renmin Zhonglu down an alley called XiZhuShi Jie. If you take the 16 or 99 bus north along Renmin Lu, listen carefully, because the driver will call out "Wenshu Yuan" when you reach that stop. If you take a taxi, the fare should be Y10 or less from Tianfu Square.
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