With a history dating back more than 1,700 years, some people say Bright Filial Piety Temple was established even before its home city of Guangzhou. Whether the chicken or the egg came first nobody is quite sure but what everyone agrees on is that Bright Filial Piety Temple is one place in Guangzhou visitors can't miss.
Located at the north end of Guangxiao Road, a wooden Laughing Buddha greets you at the entrance of one of China's grandest and most admired temples. It's a welcome sign for the oasis of peace and quiet that lies within as Bright Filial Piety Temple is a world away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Guangzhou.
Inside you'll find many things to explore. A good place to start your expedition is by following your nose to the huge bronze incense burner in the main courtyard. With your bearings in tact, from there you can find another treasure filled courtyard just behind the main hall, this time containing a small brick pagoda believed to contain the tonsure hair of Hui-neng (Chan Buddhism's sixth patriarch).
The attractions don't stop there. Head to The Sixth Ancestor Hall and you can awe at the giant statue of Master Hui Neng, or visit the seven-story East Tower that is home to an astonishing 1,000 shines, each housing a small statue of Buddha. The East and West Iron Towers is where you'll find the oldest pair of iron pagodas in China, the older of the two is the West Iron Tower, which was erected in 963.
For a bit of peace from, well, all of the peace, you'll find a Bodhi tree just behind The Sixth Ancestor. It's just one of a number of relaxing places to while away a few minutes or even a few hours. One thing you should keep your wits about though is people posing as monks. While the temple has been home to many noted monks that have help spread the word of Buddhism for over a thousand years, unfortunately the exterior of the temple has attracted a fair few phoneys looking for a free handout. Keep your interactions to the monks inside the temple and you'll know you are getting the real holy deal.