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Sunday, April 4, 2010

EXTRA: Home of Confucius, Qufu, Shandong

Inside one of the rooms at the Home of Confucius (孔府) in Qufu, Shandong (山东, 曲阜市). I was
fortunate to visit there with my friend Venerable Yanti (释延提) and one of his seniors, the great
monk Yongqian (释永乾) from Shaolin Temple (少林寺), and a "Buddhist pop star" named Gu Kai (顾凯).
After my two summer trips, school started and my pilgrimage was put on hold until, in the spring of 2010, I received a surprise invitation.

A former student from Shaolin Temple called in March and asked if I would attend a ceremony for a new temple in Ji'ning, Shandong. This would put me near Ji'nan, where another temple on my list was located.

So on April 3, I was on the dais for the groundbreaking of Chongde Temple (崇德寺), where I was seated next to Xu Shaohua (徐少华), who had starred in a TV production of "Journey to the West."

The next day, I went with my Shaolin friend and a senior monk from Shaolin Temple, Master Yong Qian (永乾), as well as a "Buddhist pop star" named Gu Kai (顾凯), to the home of Confucius in Qufu.

Along with the nearby Temple of Confucius and the more-distant Confucian Cemetery, the Kong Family Mansion is part of a UNESCO-recognized heritage site. ("Kong" [孔] is the family name of the man we call "Confucius" in English.)

Originating as a modest house, over the centuries the complex grew until, in the 16th century, it reached a total of 560 rooms in 170 buildings. It was used by the descendants of Confucius as a residence and workplace.

It was completely renovated in 1838, but destroyed by fire in 1885. What we see today is a Qing- and Republican-period reconstruction, with a still-impressive 480 rooms in 152 buildings filled with magnificent scrolls, paintings, and other cultural relics.

After our visit, we pressed on to Ji'nan, where the monks went on to Henan as I checked into a hotel for the night.

(An edited version of this article was published in the Shenzhen Daily May 7, 2012.)

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GALLERY

Front gate of the Kong Family Mansion, Qufu
Approaching the front gate of the Confucian Temple; the Kong Family Mansion is on the right
Inside a hall in the Mansion
Another view inside a hall
The author (in black) with the notables. Singer Gu Kai is the other layman; the elderly monk is
Master Yong Qian; and my friend and former student Venerable Yan Ti is on the right.
BONUS IMAGE: A group picture after the temple dedication rendered as a vintage postcard.
Kungfu (功夫) warriors (including this guy!) at the groundbreaking
for the new Chongde Temple (崇德寺), in Jining, Shandong (山东, 济宁市).

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