Wenshu Temple

Wenshu Temple is arguably the most beautiful and well preserved temple in Chengdu. Worshippers light candles and incense, constantly filling the temple with a thick, perfumed smoke.

The monastery, formerly known as Xinxiang Temple, is situated north of the central square on Renmin Zhong Lu. During the reign of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty, a monk named Cidu arrived, built a small hut to live in and carried out a practice of complete self-denial. Legend holds that when Cidu was cremated, a statue of Wensu (Bodhisattva Manjusri in Sanskrit) appeared in the flames and stared at the onlookers. After this people began regarding Cidu as the reincarnation of the Bodhisattva Manjusri. Thereafter the Xinxiang Temple was rechristened as Wenshu Temple.


Wenshu Temple Wenshu Temple Chengdu
Well decorated roof of the Wenshu Temple. Stone scuplture in Wenshu Temple.

The monastery's Sutra-Preservation Pavilion also holds an abundance of history and art. You can find everything from famous handwriting exhibits, to paintings and artwork. These precious works of art were created by renowned Chinese painters and calligraphers, including Zhang Daqian, Zheng Banqiao, and Feng Zikai. It's a treasure-trove that you won't want to miss out on. Perhaps the most intriguing item on display is the broken skull of Xuan Zhang, a renowned monk of the Tang Dynasty who is still beloved by Buddhists far and wide. The more attractive features of the temple include the White Jade Buddha and the Thousand Buddha Pagoda.

Wenshu Temple Wenshu Temple Chengdu
Drum tower in Wenshu Temple. More fun could be found outside of Wenshu Temple.


Outside the temple you can take a break and relax in one of the many green areas surrounding it. Or if you're in the mood you can enjoy one of the town's biggest and best teahouses, right on the temple grounds. After a cup of tea you can have a full meal at one of the vegetarian restaurants (Buddhists aren't allowed to eat meat) and try out some delicious tofu dishes.

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