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Chongyuan Monastery to Be Rebuilt

Chongyuan Monastery, a famous monastery in Suzhou with a history of over 1,500 years, will soon see its completion of reconstruction. The monastery courts and major buildings of the Tower of Goddess of Mercy are near completion. The monastery is scheduled to open to the public by coming October. Abbot Qiu Shang from Han Shan Temple moved into the monastery today to lead in preparations of Buddhist rites and cultural renovations at the monastery.

Buddhism began flourish in Suzhou as early as 1,700 years ago. Chongyuan Monastery, first built during the Reign of Wudi of the Liang dynasty during the Southern and Northern Dynasties Period, used to enjoy equal reputation as Han Shan Temple and Lingyan Monastery of the same period. Record about the monastery can be found in the works of the well-know poets Wei Yingwu and Bai Juyi. Buddhist works "Jingde Records", compiled by Priest Dao Yuan of the Song period in the very monastery, and "Annals of the Heart", found in the monastery during Chong Chen Reign of the Ming dynasty, are of sustained influence on Buddhism even to this day.

The monastery under reconstruction covers a land of over 300 mu in the Chenyan Bay of Yangcheng Island, SIP, which is divided into the monastery premises, the Isle of Goddess of Mercy, a Buddhist cultural park, and a business area at the entrance. On the Isle of Goddess of Mercy will be erected a 33-meter sculpture of Goddess of Mercy, the tallest of indoor image of the goddess in China. The layers of imposing buildings, highlighted by the ceremonial court for Goddess of Mercy, will restore the original grandeur of the monastery.

According to Abbot Qiu Shang, the monastery will follow the development concept of "Buddhist preaching and cultivation" in training, while promoting tourist activities and contributing to the society through charity activities. A series of activities under the thematic topic of "inspiration of the Goddess of Mercy and Chongyuan of prosperous times" will be organized following the opening of the monastery in the coming October.

March 20, 2007

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