Lama Temple, Yonghe Gong
A Chinese Taoist temple, generally called Gong, Guan or Miao in Chinese, is the holy hall where Taoists perform their religious ceremonies. It blends Taoist taste and ideas on construction with traditional Chinese thoughts and methods of construction. It thus has formed a unique style among the many different types of Chinese ancient architecture. Taoist temples of different scales are scattered all over China. Generally, they can be divided into three kinds: palace-like and ordinary temples, and simple hut or caves. Though of various sizes, they are built to serve the same function. People may get confused in distinguishing a Taoist temple from a Buddhist temple because they are much alike from the outside. It is true that many methods of Taoist construction imitate those of Buddhism, but there exist some minor difference between them. For example, the holy statues of Dragon and Tiger are set in front of the main gate of a Taoist temple, while statues of two giants guard in the same position in a Buddhist one. The Taoist trinity, San Qing (Three Pure Gods), is worshipped in Taoist halls. They are Yu Qing (Jade Pure), Shang Qing (Upper Pure) and Tai Qing (Great Pure). In the main hall of a Buddhist temple on the other hand, the Buddha trinity is placed. Besides, themes of statue and murals in Chinese Taoist temples are those familiar to common people and the religious atmosphere is not as intense as in Buddhist temples.
The Yonghe Temple (Chinese 雍和宮, pinyin Yōng hé gōng, Palace of Peace and Harmony), also known as the "Yonghe Lamasery", or -popularly- the "Lama Temple", is a temple and monastery of the Geluk School of Tibetan Buddhism located in the Dongcheng District of Beijing, China. The building and the artworks of the temple is a combination of Han Chinese and Tibetan styles.
Three fabulous artworks:
1. three bronze statues of the Buddhas of the Three Ages,
3. 26m tall White Sandalwood statue of the Maitreya Buddha.
The Yonghe Temple is arranged along a north-south central axis, which has a length of 480m. The main gate is at the southern end of this axis. Along the axis, there are five main halls which are separated by courtyards: the Hall of the Heavenly Kings (Tian Wang Dian orDevaraja Hall), the Hall of Harmony and Peace (Yonghegong), the Hall of Everlasting Protection (Yongyoudian), the Hall of the Wheel of the Law(Falundian), and the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happinesses (Wanfuge). The Hall of the Heavenly Kings is the southernmost of the main halls, it served originally as the main entrance to the monastery. In the center of the hall stands a statue of the Maitreya Buddha, along the walls statues of the four Heavenly Kings are arranged. The Hall of Harmony and Peace is the main building of the temple. It houses three bronze statues of the Buddhas of the Three Ages, the statue of the Gautama Buddha (Buddha of the Present) is in the center, it is flanked by the statue of Kasyapa Matanga (Buddha of the Past, right) and the Maitreya Buddha (Buddha of the Future, left). Along the sides of the hall, the statues of the 18 Arhats are placed. A mural in the hall shows the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. The Hall of Everlasting Protection was Emperor Yongzheng's living quarters as a prince and the place where his coffin was placed after his death. Today, a statue of the Bhaisajya-guru (healing Buddha) stands in this hall. The Hall of the Wheel of the Law functions as a place for reading scriptures and conducting religious ceremonies. It contains a large statue of Je Tsongkhapa, founder of the Geluk School. The hall also contains the Five-Hundred-Arhat-Hill, a carving made of red sandalwood with statues of the arhats made from five different metals (gold, silver, copper, iron, and tin). The Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happinesses contains an 26m tall (18m above the ground and 8m underneath) statue of the Maitreya Buddha carved from a single piece of White Sandalwood. The statue is one of three artworks in the Temple which were included in the Guinness Book of Records in 1993.