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West Garden Temple

West Garden Temple also named the Monastery of Disciplines, was built during the Ming Dynasty and is known for its 500 gilded arhats. The temple is located to the west of Suzhou. With neat arrangement, grand halls and solemn Buddhist statues, the West Garden Temple is one of the ancient temples south of the Yangtze River.

West Garden Temple consists of the Commandments Temple and the West Garden.
In the temple section, the main buildings are the Heavenly Kings hall, the Grand Precious Hall, the Hall of Arhats, the Hall of Avalokitesvara and the Buddhist Sutra Building. The most famous sculpture in the Hall of Arhats is the Avalokitesvara with One Thousand Hands, which is more than thirteen meters high and is engraved with whole piece of scented camphor wood. Near to the sculpture is a unique Buddha statue whose head has four faces with four different expressions.

There is a pond in the garden section of the temple where Buddhist worshippers have placed fish and other wildlife. The creatures are ritually "set free" into the pond and cared for by the temple. In the pond there is a big soft-shelled turtle that is bred in the Ming Dynasty.

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