Donglin Temple, Jiujiang, Jiangxi
(August 8, 2012)

(1) As I walked from the highway (where the bus dropped me) to Donglin Temple, I thought at first that all of these pagodas belonged to Donglin.

The temple was built in 386 by Huiyuan, the founder of the Pure Land Sect in China. This is the most popular form of Buddhism in China (some say it captures 80%), as well as in Japan and other countries. As this temple is considered its "seat," lots of Pure Land devotees come here.

(2) In fact, the two pagodas on the left belonged to this small temple, named Xilin Temple. I know nothing about it, but the name is funny: The "Dong" of "Donglin" means "East" (the name means "East Woods"). The "Xi" of this temple's name means "West," and although the character "lin" in its name means "woods," it's actually a slightly different character from that at Donglin.

(3) At last, after a walk of 10 minutes or so, I reached the uninspiring "New" Mountain Gate of Donglin Si. This temple is a strange mix of new and old; some of the new was great, but some was highly disappointing.

(4) The front of the "Old" Mountain Gate has "Namo Amitofo" across the front. Although this is commonly seen on temples, it has special significance here, as it's the mantra of the Pure Land sect.

(5) Notice the shiny white marble on the rebuilt bridge? Sticks out like a sore thumb. That's the main hall with the pagoda behind it, and the bell tower on the right.

(6) The monk in the east Arhat Hall (250 per hall; these guys are in the west) told me that the statues are less than a year old. I loved them. And some other statues in the temple had the same look.

(7) Although the Arhats are split into two halls, each is quite crowded, with some even having to sit above the others!

(8) These are just a couple of the facial expressions that stood out. I could have shot in there all day.

(9) The shiny-but-satisfying front of the main hall.

(10) Inside the main hall, the 16 (not 18, as usual) new arhats had a similar style to the 500 in the flanking halls.

(11) At last, the Shakyamuni Pagoda. Also very new, and a little "cold." (Older pagodas for some of the temple's founders were in separate compounds, already closed for the night. I'd have loved to have seen them.)

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Last Updated August 20, 2019

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