Temple of Bliss
On a site of 5.7 Hectares, the Temple of Bliss is located at the end of Dongdazhi Street in Nangang District in Harbin. It is one of four famous Buddhist temples in the three provinces in northeastern China, the other three being Banruo Temple in Changchun, Cien Temple in Shenyang and Lengyan Temple in Yingkou.
The Temple of Bliss was built in 1923. It consists of the Mountain Gate, the Heavenly King Hall, the Hall of Mahavira, the Hall of Three Saints, Scriptures-storing Tower, Side Hall, Chanting Hall, Shifang Hall, Anyang Hall and the monks" cells. A seven-story pagoda dominates the temple. Measuring over 30 meters (98 feet) tall, it has eight upturned eaves and elegant Buddhist pictures on the walls in each level. From the bottom to the top, it worships the bronze statues of Sakyamuni Buddha, Amitabha, Medicine Guru Buddha, Bodhisattva Manjusri, Samantabhadra, Kwanyin and Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva.
The temple strictly follows the traditional Chinese temple style. It is a magnificent and resplendent architectural complex. Every house is built of blue bricks and glazed colored tiles. Facing south, it can be divided into three courtyards on the left, middle and right. The Mountain Gate is built to resemble the Chinese character "脡陆" (mountain in English), thus the name "Mountain Gate". The front hall is the Heavenly King Hall, followed by the Hall of Mahavira, the Hall of Three Saints and Scriptures-storing Tower according to priority.
There are similarities and differences in the shape, structure, ornament and arrangement among the buildings in the temple. For example, the Hall of Mahavira and the Back Hall do not have wood brackets and large open windows, instead, the separate small windows clearly reflects the typical feature of housing in the cold climate of northeastern China.
The Heavenly King Hall is the first hall on arrival. There is a 1.6 meters (5.2 feet) tall sitting statue of Maitreya in the middle, with the sitting statues of the Four Heavenly Kings in the east and west. The statue of Vitasoka (the protector of Buddhism) stands to the north.
Passing through the Heavenly King Hall, visitors come to the Hall of Mahavira, the main hall in the temple. On the corridor that links these two halls, there"s any extraordinary 3 meters (9.8 feet) precious iron tripod. It gives dignity to the temple. On the steps in front of the Hall of Mahavira, there is a pair of stone lions command an air of authority. A 2.7 meters (8.9 feet) tall sitting statue of Sakyamuni is set right at the center. The statues of the most distinguished Arhats Kasyapa and Ananda stand on the two sides. The inscription rubbings of the Picture of 500 Arhats are arranged on the east and west walls.
The Hall of Three Saints is located behind the Hall of Mahavira. In the center of the hall, is the standing statue of Namo Amita Buddha. To its left and right, there are standing statues of Kwanyin and Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva. To the east stands the statue of ksitigahba Bodhisattva.
On Buddhist festivals on every April 8, 18 and 28 in Chinese lunar calendar, exciting temple fairs are held in the temple. At present, the Temple of Bliss has been listed as an important cultural heritage site under provincial level protection and key temples in the country. It is not only a Buddhist holy land of northern China, but also a famous scenic site, well known at home and abroad.