Built in 326 AD by a senior indian monk named Huili, Lingyin Monastery, or the Monastery of Soul’s Retreat, is one of China’s largest temple complexes. It has been destroyed 16 times in its long and checkered history. The Great Hall is a mix of late Qing and early Yuan Dynasty relics, with a few more recent additions too. And now, it is very much a working monastery.
The temple is located in a long, narrow valley between two peaks. A red wall in the middle of the valley seems to lengthen the distance, adding to the mystery of the monastery, which seems to be hidden. Hence the name, the "Monastery of Sole’s Retreat"
The Mahayana Hall of Lingyin Monastery houses China’s largest wooden sculpture of the Sleeping Buddha, which stands 9.1 meters in height. Including the lotus seat and the top of Buddhist Glory, the entire statue measures 19.6 meters in height.
In front of the monastery, there are Feilai Peak, Cold Spring, Longhong Cave, precious rock cave arts, queer and varied natural caves and gullies. Inside the caves of the Flown Over Peak are 470 Buddhist statues sculpted during the Five Dynasties, Song and Yuan dynasties (907-1368). They are the most famous of the Esoteric Buddhist statues in China.