Situated in the southwest of Datong, Shanxi Province, Huayan Monastery, named
after the Huayan sect of Buddhism, is a complex of the Upper Huayan Monastery
(Shang Hua Yan Si), also called the Great Temple of Treasure(Da Xiong Bao Dian)
and the Lower Huayan Monastery (Xia Hua Yan Si).
Contrary to the splendid Upper Huayan Monastery, the Lower Huayan
Monastery, constructed in 1038, has a touch of quaintness, where Buddhist
scripture are stored. The Trinity Buddhas comprising the Past Buddha, the
Present Buddha and the future Buddha are enshrined and worshipped here. Around
the sides of the Trinity Buddhas.Huanyan temple shows the artistic style of the
Liao and Jin dynasties. Its construction broke the rule of facing south, as it
faces east. According to the story of Khitan of the five dynasties, “three
thousand li north of youzhou, there is a town called Xilouyi where all the
houses face east.” Khitans regarded east as superior and prayed to the east on
the first day of every lunar month. It was following this rule that Huanyan
Temple was built. The Daxiong hall of the temple is the main hall of the temple
and is also one of the biggest in china, covering an area of 1559 square meters.
The hall is splendid inside; five stately and golden Buddhas sit on the altar.
On the walls inside the hall there are murals about the story of “preaching nine
times in seven different places. The patterns of the embellished ceiling are
different from one another and are magically beautiful.