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Saturday, October 29, 2011

EXTRA: Nan Shaolin Temple, Putian, Fujian

This Laughing Buddha (弥勒佛) sits in the Heavenly Kings' Hall (天王殿)
at Nan Shaolin Temple (南少林寺), Putian, Fujian (福建, 莆田市).
After visiting three temples in a day, I was planning to sleep late, write up my notes, and slowly make my way back to Fuzhou and my flight home. Alternatively, if I had the energy, I might have visited the Tian Hou/Mazu temple on a nearby island, the site of that Daoist sea-goddess's birth.

But as happened before, my friend Venerable Deru had other plans for me. He had arranged for a friend to come pick me up and take me to Nan Shaolin Temple. After he had nagged me about this for days, saying, "It's very historic," I told him that if I tried to go to every "historic" temple in China, I'd be dead before I finished!

Anyway, I gave in, and the next morning his friend showed up with HER friend--who had a car--and off we drove into the mountains to see the temple. Because Deru's friend had studied in the Philippines for a year, her English was pretty good.

To be honest, there was nothing "historic" about the place except its story. Every building and statue was shiny new. But the first South Shaolin Temple was built in 557, just 61 years after its more famous brother to the north.

Burned down over three centuries ago in the wars that deposed the Ming and ushered in the Qing Dynasty, it has only recently been rebuilt. The ancient site was rediscovered in an historical survey in the 1990s, and reconstruction began in 1998.

Like its better-known counterpart, it is a center for the study of "wushu"--martial arts--and frequently hosts demonstrations of kung fu fighting.

After our brief visit, we returned for lunch at the last temple I visited yesterday, and then they dropped me at the bus station for my return to the airport in Fuzhou. Another week-long trip ended.

(An edited version of this article was published in the Shenzhen Daily November 25, 2013.)

GPS Info:
  • 25.53980, 119.03966



Map:




GALLERY

Entryway to Nan Shaolin Temple, Putian
A shiny new Laughing Buddha in the front hall (postcard above)
Temple gate and turtle ponds seen from the first hall

There are six pictures related to this temple (some of them identical to these, but with different captions) 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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