Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai’s precious stones

Reclining Buddha at the Jade Buddha Temple in Shanghai

Jade is Chinese national pride, and it seems like Shanghai’s Jade Temple (Yu Fo Si, 玉佛寺) was built to celebrate the precious stone. Jade in China is not just a stone, for as much precious as it can be. It’s  also considered to bring good luck and even to have a positive influence on the heart, and this is why many women wear a jade bracelet so that they receive the stone’s benefits through their wrists.

Monks at the Jade Temple in Shanghai

This is the year of the Rabbit, and every person who was born during the year of the Rabbit is advised to wear a piece of jade for twelve months in order to chase the bad luck away, and this applies for each and every figure of the Chinese calendar.

At the Jade Buddha Temple, for sure, there was no lack of jade.

Two huge white jade Buddhas brought from Burma by a monk of Putuo Shan, one sitting, not possible to photograph, two meters big, 205kg, encrusted with agates and emeralds, and one reclining, about one meter, representing his peaceful entry in the nirvana. The precious statues attract every day many tourists and probably as many faithful.

Circular door in Jade Buddha Temple in Shanghai

In the temple there is also another reclining Buddha, much bigger than the original one, four meters long, lying on the right side with the right hand supporting the head and the left hand placed on the leg, in a typical position that inspires tranquility, brought from Singapore by the tenth abbot of the temple in 1989.

There are also many ancient paintings and Buddhist scriptures distributed in the different halls of the temple, all contributing in making the sanctuary of western Shanghai even more precious.

Faithful praying at the Jade Temple

Founded in 1882, the temple was destroyed during the revolution that overthrew the Qing dynasty and rebuilt where it is now in 1928. Apart from the two jade statues, the temple has many other statues in display, certainly less valuable, but all of them adding color and atmosphere.

Statue at the entrance of the Jade Temple in Shanghai

The temple is very big, and I loved dawdling about its circle doors stumbling on orange-clad monks here and there. Like all temples in Shanghai, the contrast between the old-looking classical style is in striking contrast with the state-of-the-art urban architecture of the city.

In many halls there are shops selling relics and incense for the worshipers to burn. The ever-present crowd of tourists doesn’t refrain the many faithful from going to worship their gods.

Corridor inside the Jade Temple between different halls

Practical information on how to reach Jade Buddha Temple:

The temple is in 170 Anyuan Road (Anyuan Lu, 安远路), at the junction with Jiangning Road (Jiangning Lu, 江宁路). The easiest way to get there is by metro, line 7, Changshou Road station(Changshou Lu Zhan, 长寿路站). Take exit 5 and head east along Xinhui Road (Xin Hui Lu, 新会路). Turn right on Jiangning Road and walk to the temple at the crossroad.

Alternatively, you can also arrive by bus, 19, 206 and 738 and get off in Jiangning Road at the crossroad with Anyuan Road. The only problem with buses in Shanghai is that most of the time they only show the streets in Chinese characters, both on the bus and at the stops, so you would need to be either confident with the city or able to read Mandarin.

Opening hours are from 8am to 5pm, at 4.30pm is the last admission. Entry fee is 20 Yuan.

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  1. says

    I grew up with a lot of Chinese friends, so during birthdays and holidays, I usually get something in jade. In fact, I still have many of these gifts that I kept over the years. Its a beautiful stone and a beautiful color. I’ve known it was for good luck, but I didn’t know how important it really is to the Chinese until I landed in China. So wonderful that there is a temple dedicated to it. Excellent photos, Angela.

    • says

      Chinese tradition is so vast, I just managed to grasp something in a year, reading and exploring on my own, but I absolutely need to go back, maybe changing province, although I really miss Shanghai.

    • says

      Jade comes in different shades of green, and the intensity of the color is one of the parameters to determine its quality. It also comes in white and purple, it’s gorgeous, I really learned to love it while I was in China!

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