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Saturday, January 21, 2012

No. 86: Lingshan Temple, Shantou, Guangdong

An unusual, newly-built Black Hall (黑殿) at Lingshan Temple (灵山寺), Shantou, Guangdong (广东, 汕头市).
I took a highway bus from Xiamen to Shantou, from which I visited two major temples.

The first, Lingshan Temple in the Chaoyang District of Shantou, was much harder to reach than expected. Once in the area, I finally gave in and took a taxi--but found the proper bus information on the way out.

The taxi left me in front of a gate facing northwest. As it turns out, this is a side gate; the temple faces southwest, toward a pond. The first gate I saw had a shiny Milefo (Laughing Buddha) and four shiny Heavenly Kings, leading me to believe this was the Heavenly Kings' Hall; but the next gate, facing the pond, also had Heavenly Kings, but with a Guanyin in place of the Milefo.

Once I got past this confusing entry, the temple itself was quite pleasant. The main compound was nothing unusual, but its outlying areas were more interesting. First was the side yard, on the east side of the compound. Here was located, among several other buildings, the Dharma (or Lecture) Hall, usually found at the back of the main compound.

Behind the main compound the land begins to slope up toward a mountain, presumably called Ling Shan. Here was a small barrel-shaped pagoda bearing the remains of Chan Master Dadian Baotong (732-824). Following the corridors on either side of the pleasant garden, I noticed they were lined with steles and memorial plaques. At the top of the garden was a beautiful black-lacquered memorial hall for the same monk.

As I was leaving the grounds, well past the lake, I turned around and noticed a tall pagoda above the temple. Turning my steps back up the mountain, I reached it in the twilight. Of modern building-block and cast concrete construction, it was nonetheless impressive in its siting.

Back down the hill, I caught the local bus that took me all the way into central Shantou--the one I wished I had found on my way out.

(An edited version of this article was published in the Shenzhen Daily January 27, 2014.)

GPS Info:
  • 23.32166, 116.44122



Map:


(This may look blank, but it works--I promise! In fact, the temple
is marked on the map far to the northeast, in the wrong location.)



GALLERY

A drawing hanging on a wall shows an idealized view of Lingshan Temple
The side gate to the temple
The small pagoda holding the remains of Dadian Baotang behind the Main Hall
A stele-lined corridor in the back garden
The memorial hall for Dadian Baotang at the very rear of the temple's walled area (postcard above)
The 10,000-Buddha Pagoda above the temple

There are 28 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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