He was a monk from Southern India who came to China around 500 AD. But some sources said he was from Persia. He was believed to be the founder of Zen Buddhism (禪宗). He was also said to have written 《易筋經》and《洗髓經》.
When I looked into the altar, however, I found also the 4 characters in the Monkey King legend. The Monkey King (齊天大聖) was again smack in the centre of the altar. To the right of the Monkey was the Pig (猪八戒), and to the left, the Sand Monk (沙僧). In the centre of the back row was a bearded monk that could be Bodhidharma. The one in the right hand corner seemed to be Avalokiteśvara (Guan Yin, 觀音菩薩). And in the left hand corner was Xuanzang (玄奘).
The bird-like idol centre front seemed to be Garuda (迦樓羅). In Hindu legend, Garuda is the mount of Lord Vishnu. The equivalent in Chinese Buddhist legend is the 大鵬, a gigantic bird, and one of 天龍八部.
This temple is a lot of fun.