Wenshu Monastery, or known as Wenshu Yuan in Chinese is one of the oldest and best-preserved Buddhist temples in all of Chengdu. It is also the home of the Buddhist Association of Sichuan Province and Chengdu City.
Originally, the temple was called Xinxiang Temple during the Qing Dynasty under Emperor Kangxi.
When Cidu passed away, he was cremated and the shape of the Wenshu statue (Bodhisattva Manjusri in Sanskrit) appeared in the flames.
Then, a famous monk called Cidu came to the temple and built a simple hut between 2 trees and stayed there for years to live an ascetic life.
Thus, people then renamed Xinxiang Temple to Wenshu Monastery because they believed that Cidu was the reincarnation of the Bodhisattva Manjusri.
To most people, Wenshu Temple is just an ordinary temple. But this is far from the truth. Wenshu Monastery has plenty to offer.
Since ancient times, the temple has been used as a place to store cultural relics. And since ancient times, more than 500 pieces of paintings and calligraphies by many famous people are stored in the temple.
For instance, in the Sutra-Preservation Pavilion, you can find a lot of artworks created by established Chinese calligraphers and painters including Feng Zikai, Zheng Banqiao, and Zhang Daqian.
Besides that, the architectural design and layout of the entire monastery are a masterpiece.
Wenshu Monastery covers an area of about 200,000 meter-square. Once you enter the temple, you will pass 5 halls in sequence: Tianwang Hall, Sandatu Hall, Daxiong Hall, Shuofa Hall, and Cangjing Hall.
Within the temple, you can also find the drum tower, the monk’s dorm, guest dorm, dining room, praying hall, and also meditation room.
Plus, you can also eat a vegetarian meal in the restaurant or enjoy a cup of tea in the peaceful teahouse.
What to See in Wenshu Temple
Cultural relics and Treasures
If you are a Buddhist or you are keen to learn more about the religion and the local culture, Wenshu Monastery is the right place to visit.
This temple exhibits over 300 Buddha statues of various materials, from iron, stone, jade, to mud and stone.
One of the most precious Buddha statue in Wenshu Temple is the Jade Buddha statue that was brought from Burma by a monk called Xinglin in 1922.
There is also a Peace Tower that looks like a thin pagoda with many small-scale Buddha statues on the wall. Another relic to notice is the Cangjing Pavilion that holds an abundance of history and arts.
Wenshu Temple Teahouse
There is a teahouse located inside of the temple and it is an extremely famous teahouse among the locals. Due to its quiet environment and peaceful atmosphere, the teahouse serves as the perfect place for visitors to appreciate the Chinese tea culture.
Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can also catch shows and musical performances presented by the folk artisans in calm and beautiful surroundings.
Vegetarian Restaurant in Wenshu Monastery
Besides the teahouse, there is also a vegetarian restaurant in the temple that is open for visitors. If you visit the monastery, make sure you try out the mean in the restaurant.
For your information, this is a vegetarian restaurant. You may find the word “pork” or “meat” on the menu, but they are not really meat, but a substitute.
How to Go to Wenshu Monastery
Take metro Line 1 and get off at Wenshuyuan Station. Walk northeast for about 6 minutes and you will see Wenshu Temple on your right.
Tips for Visiting Wenshu Temple
- Wenshu Monastery opens all year long and you can visit from 9 AM in the morning to 5 PM.
- Suggested visiting time is about 1 to 2 hours. And if you want to relax and enjoy the tea, make sure you plan for more time here.
- There are quite a number of Buddhist activities held in the temple, hence, if you want to experience it, make sure you plan your visit accordingly.
- Wenshu Temple is located in one of the oldest districts in Chengdu, which means that you can find plenty of authentic Sichuan foods in the area.
- There is a small shop selling “sweet water noodles” or known as “tian shui mian” in Chinese. It is a famous local dish you should try out.
- Besides tian shui mian, there is also a shop called “gong ting gao dian” that sells delicious local cookies, cakes, and confectionaries.
- It is easy to spot both the shops as you will see long lines in them.