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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No. 75: Yongquan Temple, Fuzhou, Fujian

This Guanyin (观音) stands behind the Abbot's (方丈) Reception
Room at Yongquan Temple (涌泉寺), Fuzhou, Fujian (福建, 福州市).
My friend the monk, Venerable Deru, came from a family that had made its living picking tea. His brother was still in the tea business in Fuzhou. So the day after our tour of Fu'an, I met Deru's brother Chen Hui at "Haixi Tea City," a tea sales area in Fuzhou, and we took a bus to Gushan ("Drum Mountain"), site of Yongquan ("Gushing Spring") Temple.

We were spared the entry fee, as Deru had arranged for a monk friend to come out and meet us. After tea in the abbot's room, we were free to wander the grounds.

The temple was founded just over a thousand years ago. There are three sago palm trees said to have been planted about the time of the temple's founding. Two were planted by Master Shenyan, who founded the temple; the other was planted by Wang Shenzhi, first king of the ancient Min kingdom.

Also, near the front gate is the "Luohan (Arhat) Spring" from which the temple is named. Other treasures on the grounds include a tooth relic of the Buddha, and four pots--cauldrons really--that can cook around 250 kilograms of rice each. These are thus called "Thousand-Monk Pots."

The temple is also justly famous for its sutra collection. A kindly monk about my age took out some of the rarer items to show, including some written by monks using their own blood. Tongue blood was the best, he told me through Chen Hui, and they would only use a little each day to keep the quality high. Also, these monks avoided salt, as it caused the blood to coagulate too quickly.

It was good to have a translator!

(An edited version of this article was published in the Shenzhen Daily October 14, 2013.)

GPS Info:
  • 26.05505, 119.39529



Map:


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



GALLERY

The Luohan Spring lent its name to Yongquan Temple, which means "gushing spring."
These sago palms are said to be a thousand years old, dating to the founding of the temple.
Each of these pots could cook 250 kilograms of rice, enough for a thousand monks

There are 14 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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