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Saturday, August 27, 2011

No. 61+: Ci'en and Dafo Temples, Shenyang, Liaoning

A fine antique-looking set of arhats (罗汉) graces the Main Hall
(大雄宝殿) at Ci'en Temple (慈恩寺), Shenyang, Liaoning (辽宁, 沈阳市).
Leaving Shenyang's Banruo Temple, I walked up the side of the property and, after a few wrong turns, found my next destination: Ci'en ("Compassion") Temple, the 60th I would visit from my list.

This is one of the oldest temples in Shenyang, if not the oldest. It was first built in the Tang Dynasty, and rebuilt in the Ming. Abandoned again, it was built to its present size about a hundred years ago. And, as history would have it, it was occupied by a factory a few decades ago, reverting to Buddhist control in 1987.

Like many older establishments, it is the headquarters for a Buddhist association, this one the Shenyang Municipal Buddhist Association.

The temple houses numerous treasures, including ancient scriptures (not usually on display) and a fine set of painted Arhats in the main hall. One nice surprise was that the Heavenly Kings' Hall contained piles of foodstuffs, presumably for redistribution to the needy.

Leaving Ci'en Temple through streets lined with vendors of Buddhist goods, I took a short walk to the small nunnery called Dafo ("Great Buddha") Temple, which was under repair.

Though the "Big" Buddha wasn't so big, and the place was a mess, there was a pleasing quietness about it, underscored perhaps by the homey atmosphere of food being prepared and the nuns' clothes hung out to dry.

Making my way past Banruo Temple again, I headed back to my hotel, picked up my bag, and set off for the train station and a truly miserable but unavoidable overnight journey to Chengde.

(An edited version of this article was published in the Shenzhen Daily June 17, 2013.)

GPS Info: (click to view separate maps)

Map: (This map shows all three temples I saw in Shenyang, including the one in this article.)

View Shenyang Temples in a larger map


The streets near Ci'en Temple in Shenyang are lined with Buddhist shops
Food is piled in the Heavenly Kings' Hall at Ci'en Temple
Beautiful painted Arhats in the main hall at Ci'en Temple (postcard above)
A workman at tiny Dafo Temple, Shenyang
This small courtyard is the only one at Dafo Temple
BONUS IMAGE: The Main Hall of Dafo Temple rendered as a vintage postcard.

Dafo Temple (大佛寺) in Shenyang, Liaoning (辽宁, 沈阳市), was also under heavy
reconstruction when I visited. There is pandemonium either side of this view!

There are eight pictures related to this temple (most of them identical to these, but with different captions, plus a few more of Shenyang) in a FaceBook album starting here (available to all, even without a FaceBook account).

Click here to visit the next article in chronological order || Click here to view the trip details

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