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Monday, April 5, 2010

No. 18: Xingguochan Temple, Ji'nan, Shandong

Two Buddhas (佛), seen in the grottoes (石窟) at Xingguochan Temple
(兴国禅寺) on Qianfo Shan (千佛山) in Ji'nan, Shandong (山东, 济南市).
The night I arrived in Ji'nan, Shandong, I had a nice stroll around the Muslim quarter, where I found an excellent Indian/Pakistani restaurant.

The next morning, I took a taxi to the north gate of Qianfo Shan (Thousand-Buddha Mountain), where one temple on my list is located.

The driver told me I would have to climb the mountain. I learned later that there is a "ropeway," but the chairs were the old T-bar style like on a ski lift. Not being built for such a conveyance, I honestly don't think I would have taken it had I known about it!

Anyway, the climb was pleasant enough. Along the way were huge statues of Buddhism's popular "18 Arhats," allegedly 18 enlightened disciples of the Buddha. Lots of people were having their pictures taken with (and ON) these "saints."

Further up there were some modern relief carvings, an homage to the ones up above. Then I passed a couple of caves (5 yuan admission here, another 5 there).

The temple itself, named Xingguo Chan Temple ("Encouraging the Country Zen Temple") is located about halfway up the hillside. There are several halls with some fine statues. The real attraction though is the small grottoes with statues carved into the native rock.

I continued toiling my way up to the summit for a hazy but wide view of Ji'nan. On the way down I passed plenty of facilities for tourists (shops and restaurants), and some truly colossal statues of the popular "Laughing Buddha" and Guanyin, Bodhisattva of Compassion.

This ancient site was a pleasant end to my trip to Shandong.

(An edited version of this article was published in the Shenzhen Daily May 14, 2012.)

GPS Info:
  • 36.638056, 117.036924



Map:


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



GALLERY

One of the 18 Arhats at Qianfoshan, Ji'nan, Shandong
Xingguo Chan Temple lies halfway up Qianfoshan
The gate of Xingguo Chan Temple
Grottoes in the temple courtyard on Qianfoshan...
...and more grottoes
Colossal Laughing Buddha and Guanyin statues
Closer view of the Laughing Buddha statue

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