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Friday, August 21, 2009

No. 4: Puji Temple, Putuoshan, Zhejiang

Three of the eighteen amazing arhats (罗汉) at Puji
Temple (普济寺) on Putuoshan in Zhejiang (浙江, 普陀山).
The morning after my hike down from Huiji Temple, I walked from my hotel to Puji Temple, once again passing the "Plentiful Treasure Pagoda" (Duobao Ta). This time I would enter Puji.

Also outside the gates of the temple is the Haiyin ("Sea Image") Pond, used for releasing fish and turtles as an act of compassion (a "free life pond"). Three bridges cross the pond; in the past, the western one was for commoners, the eastern for nobility, and the central one reserved for the emperor, leading directly to the main gate of the temple.

A legend says that an emperor once tried to enter the main gate dressed as a peasant, and a monk forced him to enter by the side. Angered, the emperor decreed that thereafter, only emperors could use the center gate, so today visitors have to detour to the east to enter.

At its founding, Puji was actually the Bukenqu Guanyin Temple I mentioned before. In 1080, it was moved and enlarged, and given the new name (meaning "Universal Aid"). Today's Bukenqu Guanyin Temple is in fact a reconstruction built in 1998.

Puji Temple is fairly large, with nine main halls, including a magnificent Yuantong ("Accommodation") Hall dedicated to Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, to whom this whole island is consecrated.

Nearby is a museum containing artifacts related to the island's history, and a small bookstore. A little further west is the entrance to the "Western Paradise," an area of footpaths and inscribed stones. Alas, I had other places to see and only went as far as the front gate before heading back to Fayu Temple for a more complete visit.

(An edited version of this article was published in the Shenzhen Daily January 2, 2012.)

GPS Info:
  • 29.984723, 122.386893



Map:


(This may look blank, but it works--I promise!)



GALLERY

The lotus pond in front of Puji Temple
The "nobility's bridge" (foreground) and the Emperor's bridge (with pavilion)
View of the "nobility's bridge" through the pavilion window on the Emperor's bridge
Side gate (foreground) and the larger "Emperor's gate"
The Yuantong Hall, "Hall of Great Accommodation"
At the gateway to the Western Paradise area, near Puji Temple

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