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Monday, October 24, 2011

No. 72: Linyang Temple, Fuzhou, Fujian

One of many statues showing the forms of Guanyin (观音) in a rear
hall at Linyang Temple (林阳寺), Fuzhou, Fujian (福建, 福州市).
Once again, reaching a mountain temple--this one named Linyang Temple--was a challenge, perhaps the greatest I had faced on my pilgrimage so far. My friend at the front desk of my hotel saved the day again!

[Note: In my articles in the Shenzhen Daily, I confused my method of reaching this temple with that of reaching Xuefeng Chongsheng Temple. The account here is more likely to be accurate--I think.]

I had to take a city bus to the outskirts of town; then flag down an unmarked mini-bus as it passed by, tell the driver what I wanted, and finally get in for a 40-minute ride into the mountains.

The temple's name means Yang (the masculine principle in "Yin and Yang") Forest. Upon arrival, the first thing I saw was an artificial lake--not a pond at all. Between that and the front gate was a huge "pit" used for lighting firecrackers, to chase away inauspicious influences.

While the buildings of the main compound were impressive, the statuary inside was rather plain. However, like many remote temples, this one had been relatively untouched by the ups-and-downs that Buddhism had suffered. So one of the more fascinating things to see was the old, dilapidated areas that were going through the natural aging process (at least until "progress" catches up).

This temple, too, had its barrel-like stupa, this one for a monk named "Old Moon." Another, much older one, stood across the lake in front of the temple. And yet another, a modern pagoda with a photo-etched image of the recently-deceased abbot, stood in a hall just outside the front gate.

On the top terrace behind the temple were several newly-built halls with a truly magnificent collection of new statues, including the various forms of Guanyin.

I should have waited hours for the return bus down the hill. Fortunately, I was able to catch a ride with another temple visitor--my first time hitch-hiking in China!--and I made it to another temple in central Fuzhou before closing time.

(An edited version of this article was published in the Shenzhen Daily September 9, 2013.)

GPS Info:
  • 26.2118, 119.3211



Map:




GALLERY

The front gate of Linyang Temple, with the firecracker pit in front
The artificial lake that lies in front of the temple
A barrel stupa bearing the remains of an early-20th-century monk named "Old Moon"
Numerous fine figures of the forms of Guanyin in a rear hall (see one in the postcard above)
A photo-etching of Guangxian, the recently-deceased abbot of Linyang Temple

There are 19 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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