Xiangji Temple in Xian

Why is Xiangji Temple So Special?

  1. Xiangji temple is the ancestral home of “Pure Land Buddhism”, one of the “Fanchuan Eight Temples”(樊川八大寺) of Buddhism in China.
  2. The Xiangji Temple had its heyday during the Tang Dynasty. Emperors like Gaozong and Zhongzong, and the Empress Wu Zetian all visited the site and hadcults started in their honor. Today, countless tourists come from across China and the world to the temple, for both sightseeing and looking back to the ancient Buddhist activities.
  3. The Xiangji Temple was built by a monk named Huai Yun to honor his teacher Shandao. The temple then became a center for teaching of Pure Land Buddhism.

Where is Xiangji Temple?

Xiangji Temple (香积寺) is a Buddhist temple located in Chang’an District of Xi’an, Shaanxi, China. The temple is regarded as the cradle of Pure Land Buddhism. It is just outside the central city area and is about 20 kilometers south of the Xi’an Train Station. The Xiangji Si (Xiangji Temple) was a famous temple of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It was known as a place that trained Buddhist monks in the Buddhist doctrines of Pure Land Buddhism (净土佛教).

History of Xiangji Temple

It is said that an advanced Buddhist monk named Dharmakara vowed to save all beings and made a heavenly realm for people to live in if they need his help. These teachings were found in Buddhist scriptures that were brought to China about 147 AD. But the teachings became popular after the year 402 though the work of a monk named Huiyuan. During the Tang Dynasty era, Xi’an was the capital of the Tang Empire, and various sects of Buddhism had a resurgence partly though the work of Central Asian travelling monks. The Central Asian monks taught a kind of Mayahana Buddhism that had developed during the centuries before north of India. They travelled along the Silk Road eastward, and they settled and taught in Xi’an.

Pure Land Buddhism developed indigenously. After Huiyuan, there was another monk named Shandao who is called the second Patriarch of the Pure Land School. He is said to have called on the name of Amitabha tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of times a day, and Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty called him Great Master of Light because light came out of his mouth when he said the name. He was renowned in the Tang Dynasty.

During the reign of Emperor Zhongzong in 706 AD, the Xiangji Temple was built by a monk named Huai Yun to honor his teacher Shandao. The temple then became a center for teaching of Pure Land Buddhism.

Temple Layout and Construction

Two pagodas stand in Xiangji Temple. The larger pagoda, named Shandao Pagoda, is 33 meters (108 feet) tall, and was built in 680, during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The top two stories of the pagoda have worn away during its 1,300-year history, leaving a remaining eleven stories. Its flank is stenciled with exquisitely engraved half-naked Buddha and strong pieces of script. To the east stands the pagoda’s smaller counterpart, a brick pagoda built to commemorate another of Shandao’s pious disciples, Jingye Pagoda. Surrounding these two pagodas is a vista that is beautiful and tranquil. The renowned landscape poet Wang Wei of the Tang Dynasty visited the Temple and composed a poem to praise its charms.

How to get to Xiangji Temple

Travel with ChinaDragonTours (top recommended)

If you want to get out of the traffic and hassle of navigation, you can book a private tour package that includes visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local guide and driver will escort you to the Xian Xiangji Temple in the fastest and most convenient way and take care of all the details. You just have to focus on the visiting.

Independent Travel

  1. Take Bus
    Take Bus 320 (You 9) or 4-14 to Xiangjisi Cun (Xiangjisi Village) Station and then walk there.
    Or take Bus 215 from the West Gate to Weiqu Station, and then transfer to the minibus running from Weiqu to Xiangji Temple.
  2. You can take the Tour Line Huanshan No. 2 to Xiangji Temple Village at weekends.

Recommended Visiting Routes

Xiangji temple enters from Xiangji Memorial Archway, followed by Tianwang Palace, Dasheng Jinnaluo Hall, the Great Buddha’s Hall, Sutra Depositing Pavilion, Guanyin Hall, Manjusri Hall, Puxian Hall, Bell and Drum Tower, Dizang Hall, Jialan Hall and other buildings.There are two stone pagoda in front of the temple, the west pagoda of which was preserved during the Kangxi period of Qing Dynasty.

Nearby Attractions

Useful Travel Tips

  1. Recommended Bus Routes
    Take Bus No. 320 or 322 and get off Xiangjisi Temple
    Take Bus No. 215 or 239 and get off Weiqu

  2. The scenic area telephone: 0571-88316633
  3. Accommodation
    If you need accommodation, some hotels nearby are recommended: Haojiayi Keyou Hotel(好家忆客优酒店), Jinyuntai Express Hotel(锦云台快捷酒店), Yinuo Hotel, Moonlight Business Hotel, Xi ‘an Weiting Fashion Hotel, etc.