The Jade Buddha Monastery is famous for the Jade Buddhas in it. In the reign of Emperor Guangxu of the Qing dynasty, the old Master Hui Gen from Putuo Mountain of Zhejiang Province traveled through China and paid visits to famous mountains and monasteries, as well as well-known people. He started from the Putuo Mountain, traveled through the Wutai Mountain, and the Emei Mountain, from Sichuan he entered into Tibet, then into India and some other countries for sightseeing of the Buddhist sites and relics. Finally he reached Burma. When he found Burma was rich in jade and Buddhas were carved in superb craft, a keen desire to carve jade Buddhas came over him. Then he begged for money everywhere and obtained donation from Mr. Chen Junpu, a Chinese settled in Burma of over 20,000 taels of silver. He also got the special permission from the Burmese king to dig and select jade in the mountains and hired excellent jade carvers to carve five jade Buddhas in big and small sizes, all decorated with treasured stones and big pearls. All the faces of the jade Buddhas were bright like the full moon, and everything was in perfection and solemnity. As soon as the Buddhas were carved, Master Hui Gen started his journey back. When he passed through Shanghai, he left two Buddhas for disciples to worship. At that time, Mr. Sheng Huaixuan was a senior official in the Qing court, and his father and his uncle were pious Buddhist disciples. They built houses with thatched roofs at Yizhou Pond by the Zhuanghuabang River in the northeast of Shanghai to made the Buddhas worshipped. This can be accounted as the predecessor of the monastery. In 1900, another pious disciple built a new monastery at the side of the Jiangwan Station in the suburb of Shanghai, which is truly the earliest monastery.
The two precious jade Buddhist statues are not only rare cultural relics but also porcelain artworks. Both the Sitting Buddha and the Recumbent Buddha are carved with whole white jade. The sparkling and crystal-clear white jade gives the Buddhas the beauty of sanctity and make them more vivid. The Sitting Buddha is 190 centimeters high and encrusted by the agate and the emerald, portraying the Buddha at the moment of his meditation and enlightenment. The Recumbent Buddha is 96 centimeters long, lying on the right side with the right hand supporting the head and the left hand placing on the left leg, this shape is called the 'lucky repose'. The sedate face shows the peaceful mood of Sakyamuni when he left this world. In the temple there is also another Recumbent Buddha which is four meters long and was brought from Singapore by the tenth abbot of the temple in 1989. Furthermore there are many other ancient paintings and Buddhist scriptures distributed in the different halls of the temple.
The Jade Buddha Temple is a good place to go whether you are a Buddhist or not, the peaceful and transcendent atmosphere adds a kind of richness to our busy modern society.