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Friday, August 21, 2009

No. 5: Fayu Temple, Putuoshan, Zhejiang

The Nine Dragons Hall (九龙殿) at Fayu Temple (法雨寺) on Putuoshan in
Zhejiang (浙江, 普陀山) started its life as a Ming-Dynasty palace in
Nanjing. It is the "home" of the temple's main Guanyin (观音) statue.
I left Puji Temple and returned to Fayu temple, where I had been the day before.

This was my favorite temple on the island. Having walked through backwards (back gate to front) yesterday, I felt like I was having a whole new experience going through the proper way!

Over the bridge across the "free life" pond, through a gate on the right side, into a courtyard between the screen wall with nine dragons (for supernatural protection) and the Four Heavenly Kings' Hall, past the Laughing Buddha and the exquisite guardian figures, and around the Jade Buddha Hall flanked by a drum and bell tower, I came at last to the jewel of this temple.

In 1699, Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty donated a hall from the deserted imperial palace in Nanjing. It was moved here and became the Nine Dragon Hall, in the ceiling of which (you guessed it) nine dragons play with a golden pearl over a statue of Guanyin.

The emperor even contributed the temple's name: A signboard in his script on the building reads "Tian Hua Fa Yu," interpreted as "The Buddha's teaching rains down like flowers from heaven." Hence, Fa Yu (Dharma Rain) Temple.

Beyond this are other halls, including the Buddha Hall at the top, placed almost as an afterthought following the magnificent Nine Dragon Hall. Another hall has a Guanyin with a Thousand Hands and Eyes. As the Bodhisattva of Compassion, she is thus able to see who needs help, and come to their aid in myriad ways.

Leaving Fayu Temple, I returned to the dock area to see some of its attractions.

(An edited version of this article was published in the Shenzhen Daily January 9, 2012.)

GPS Info:
  • 30.001943, 122.393456



Map:


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



GALLERY

Bridge over the "free life" pond, Fayu Temple, Putuoshan
Main gate of the temple
Nine Dragon screen wall
Nine dragons play over a statue of Guanyin
The Buddha Hall
The magnificent Nine Dragon Hall of Fayu Temple

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