Zhaojue Temple, Chengdu – Ticket Price, Opening Hours, Location, and Highlights

zhaojue temple

Zhaojue Temple (昭觉寺), located in Chengdu, traces its origins back to the Tang Dynasty during the Zhenguan era (627-649). Initially named “Jianyuan Temple,” it was later bestowed the name “Zhaojue” by Emperor Xuanzong of Tang. Revered as the “First Zen Monastery in Western Sichuan,” the temple has played a significant role in Chinese Buddhist history.

The temple’s architecture is a testament to its grandeur, featuring prominent structures such as the Mountain Gate, Octagonal Pavilion, Hall of the Heavenly Kings, Hall of the Patriarchs, Hall of Perfect Enlightenment, Imperial Script Tower, Guanyin Pavilion, Nirvana Hall, Scripture Repository, and the tomb of Master Yuanwu, making it one of the most expansive and spectacular monasteries in the southwestern region of China.

Beyond its significance in Chinese Buddhism, Zhaojue Temple has also made noteworthy contributions to the history of cultural exchange between China and other nations. Many Buddhist temples in Japan and Southeast Asia consider Zhaojue Temple as their ancestral home. The writings of the esteemed monk Master Yuanwu, including “Records of Azure Cliffs” and “Essentials of the Mind and Immediate Enlightenment,” are included in Japan’s Taisho Tripitaka. His work “Tea and Zen Are One Flavor” has been transmitted to Japan for over 300 years, revered as a precious treasure in the Japanese tea ceremony community.


Table of Contents


Basic Information

Estimated Length of Tour1 – 2 hours
Ticket PriceFree
Opening Hours8.00 – 17.00; Last admission: 16.30
Telephone Number0086-028-83529523
0086-028-83501419

Location and Transportation

Zhaojue Temple is situated in the northern part of Chengdu, approximately 16 kilometers away from the city center. The exact address is No. 333, Zhaoqing Road, Chenghua District, Chengdu, Sichuan, China. To get there, you can choose the following ways:

Bus: Take bus 1, 25, 33, 49, 53, 71, 87, or 1076 and get off at Zhaojue Temple Stop (昭觉寺公交站).

Metro: The nearest metro station to Zhaojue Temple is Chengdu Zoo (动物园站) on line 3. After getting out of the station from Exit A, walk about 700 meters to the south to reach the temple.


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Highlights of Zhaojue Temple

Mahavira Hall

mahavira hall in zhaojue temple

The Mahavira Hall at Zhaojue Temple enshrines exquisite white marble sculptures of the Three Buddha – Vairocana Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha, and Amitabha Buddha. Flanking them are statues of Ananda and Kashyapa. The hall is adorned with eighteen arhats, each with a distinct expression. Notably, outside the Mahavira Hall stands the renowned “Tree-Enveloped Stele,” a millennium-old tree enveloping a stone stele within its trunk. This unique feature adds to the mystique of the temple, blending natural beauty with the spiritual aura of the Mahavira Hall.


Yuantong Treasure Hall and Avalokitesvara

exquisite architecture in zhaojue temple

The Yuantong Treasure Hall at Zhaojue Temple boasts a unique design, blending square and circular elements with a tower and hall combination, reaching a height of 24.2 meters. The structure, supported by 156 columns, showcases intricate craftsmanship. Within the hall, a majestic 12.2-meter-tall wooden statue of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva with a thousand arms and eyes, is enshrined. The statue’s hands, raised in a harmonious formation, resemble a dense thicket reaching towards a mysterious space, with the multiple layers of Avalokitesvara’s compassionate visage intricately concealed within. This exquisite hall serves as a spiritual haven within Zhaojue Temple, celebrating the divine presence of Avalokitesvara.


Intriguing Legend

spiritual practices in zhaojue temple

Legend has it that after revitalizing Zhaojue Temple, Master Poshan gathered disciples and greatly expanded the Shuanggui Chan lineage. One day, he informed his disciples that he would embark on a wandering journey, declaring that if a pillar in the hall moved away from its stone anvil, a ladle on the altar flew away, and two yellow-fruit trees outside the hall enveloped a stone stele in their branches, he had not returned. In such a case, they were to appoint a new abbot to preserve the Shuanggui Chan tradition. Three years later, the wooden pillar indeed shifted, followed by the disappearance of the ladle three years after that. Subsequently, the two yellow-fruit trees grew to encase the central stele. However, Master Poshan never returned, leaving behind a legendary tale and tangible remnants for all to witness.


Cultural Heritage

cultural heritage in zhaojue temple

In addition to its architectural splendor, Zhaojue Temple houses a rich collection of cultural heritage. This includes a vast array of artifacts such as Buddha statues, scriptures, Thangkas, and ritual instruments, all possessing significant historical and artistic value. One standout item is a 3-meter-tall bronze statue of Shakyamuni Buddha, renowned for its dignified and solemn craftsmanship. This Buddha statue is designated as a cultural heritage site in Sichuan Province, representing a cherished treasure within Zhaojue Temple.


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Useful Tips from Genuine Reviews

Spiritual Significance for Prosperity: Zhaojue Temple is believed to be the most spiritually powerful place in Chengdu for seeking wealth and career success. Visitors can receive three free sticks of incense upon entering.

Caution with Fortune Tellers: Be cautious about the fortune tellers along the roads outside the temple. It is advised not to readily believe in their predictions.

Interact with Doves and Take Photos: Inside Zhaojue Temple, there are many doves. Visitors are encouraged to bring some food to feed the doves and capture memorable photographs.

Tranquil Atmosphere and Photography: Unlike the commercialization seen in Wenshu Monastery, Zhaojue Temple currently has fewer crowds, offering a peaceful and quiet environment, making it ideal for relaxation and photography.

Try Vegetarian Meals: Zhaojue Temple provides an opportunity to have vegetarian meals. To access the area for meals, go to the building on the left side after entering the ancient temple, near the restrooms. Queues are common, and timing is crucial; around 11:50 to 12:10 is suggested. The free vegetarian meals are served after the monks and volunteers have finished their meals. Despite lacking meat, the meals are praised for their delicious taste and aromatic flavors. Visitors are reminded to be patient and not to cause disturbances if they don’t get a chance to be served.


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