Jiangtian chan si 江天禪寺

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Jiāngtiān chán sì 江天禪寺
  • Location: Northwestern section of Zhènjiāng 鎮江 City, on the southern bank of the Yangzi. ~3 km from the city center
  • Other names: Zéxīn sì 澤心寺 (original name)
  • Jīnshān sì 金山寺 (from Southern Dynasties or Táng 唐 Dynasty period)
  • Lóngyóu sì 龍游寺 (N. Sòng 宋)
  • Shénxiāo yùqīng wànshòu gōng 神宵玉清萬壽宮 (Sòng 宋, Emperor Huīzōng 徽宗 r. 1101-1126)
Jiāngtiān Temple
  • First Founded 4th or 5th c. C.E. (Eastern Jìn 東晉)
  • Lineage: Línjì zōng 臨濟宗, Jīnshān pài 金山派
  • Status: Public (十方叢林)
  • Institution section editor: Erik Hammerstrom

Jiāngtiān chán sì 江天禪寺 is one of the most important Buddhist monastic centers and Chán temples in 20th and 21st century China. It was also an important ordination center in the early 20th century.



Information on the exact founding of this temple is lacking. The first temple to exist on this site was Zéxīn Temple 澤心寺, which was founded during the Eastern Jìn 東晉. Later during the Southern Dynasties period, or in the Táng 唐, the name of the temple was changed to Jīnshān Temple 金山寺. The temple is still often referred to by this name today, though it has gone by many other names in history. During the Northern Sòng, Zhēnzōng 真宗 (r. 997-1022) dubbed it Lóngyóu Temple 龍游寺. It retained this name through the rest of the Sòng dynasty with the exception of the reign of Emperor Huīzōng 徽宗 (r. 1101-1126), who briefly rechristened the temple Shénxiāo yùqīng wànshòu gōng 神宵玉清萬壽宮 due to his favoring of Daoism over Buddhism. During the Yuán 元 Dynasty, the temple was called Jīnshān Temple. It received its current official name, Jiāngtiān Chán Temple, from Emperor Kāngxī 康熙 (r. 1661-1722).

Ordinations were held here at various times in the late 19th and early 20th century. These were usually vary large events. For example, the ordinations held here in 1903 (Guāngxù 光緒 29) attracted over 500 ordinands.

In 1912 this monastery was the site of the "Invasion of Jīnshān 大鬧金山," in which Tàixū 太虛 and Rénshān 仁山 tried to establish a monastics school here to the chagrin of the people in charge of the monastery.

On April 6, 1948 a fire destroyed much of the monastery. Nearly 300 buildings, including the Chán and scripture halls, were lost.


Important Abbots

Notable Residents

Císhòu Pagoda

Temple Institution

Important Buildings or Artifacts

  • Císhòu Pagoda 慈壽塔
    • Rebuilt in 1900, it is the largest structure on the mountain.
  • The temple has a jade belt that Sū Dōngpō 蘇東坡 gave to his friend, the monastery's abbot Fóyìn 佛印

Associated Organizations and Groups



  • Luó Zhéwén 羅哲文, et. al. Zhōngguó zhùmíng fójiào sìmiào 中國著名佛教寺廟 (Famous Buddhist Temples of China). Beijing: Zhongguo chengshi, 1995. Pp. 162-164.
  • Sū Zhèshēng 蘇浙生. Shénzhōu fójìng 神州佛鏡 (Buddhist Regions of Shénzhōu). Shanghai: Shanghai guji, 2003. Pp. 154-155.
  • 金山江天寺小志 (1644-1911 稿本), from Dharma Drum's Temple Gazetteer Project.
  • Entry for 江天禅寺 from Chinese Wikipedia.
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