The Lama Temple, or the Yonghe Temple as it is more correctly known, is a monastery and shrine of a sect belonging to the school of Tibetan Buddhism. Situated in the Chinese capital, Beijing, the temple has the distinction of being one of the most expansive and significant shrines of Tibetan Buddhism on the globe. The artworks and buildings at the complex are a harmonious blend of Tibetan and Han Chinese motifs.
The temple features elaborate architecture and design elements, with five principal hallways bordered by courtyards. The compound’s principal edifice is the Hall of Harmony and Peace, which contains three Buddha statues in bronze, namely Gautama Buddha, Maitreya Buddha and Kasyapa Matanga. On both sides of the hallway the visitor will see figures of 18 Arhats (Buddhist saints); you will also notice a large mural of the Bodhisatva Avalokitesvara.
Meanwhile the Hall of the Heavenly Kings features a prominent statue of Buddha Maitreya, along with figures of the four revered Heavenly Kings. On the other hand the Hall of Everlasting Protection which served as the Emperor Yongzheng’s residence as a young prince, is also where the coffin he was placed in was kept after his demise. Today you will also see a figure of the Healing Buddha here.
The visitor will also encounter the Hall of the Wheel of the Law which is used as a venue for carrying out religious rites and reciting scriptures. Here visitors will encounter an imposing statue of the revered Je Tsongkhapa, the initiator of the Geluk sect of Buddhism. In this hall you will also see a red sandalwood carving of arhat statues composed of no less than five metals; silver, gold, iron, copper and tin.
Not to be missed is the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happinesses which features a colossal statue of Buddha Maitreya fashioned from a sole section of white sandalwood. This unique figure is one of no less than three pieces of art at the compound which have been recognized with entries in the Guinness Book of World Records.