Jinge Temple, Wutaishan, Shanxi
(August 25, 2012)

(1) When we arrived at Jinge Temple and I stepped out of the car, this blackbird atop the bell tower greeted me with a (I'm not kidding) bell-like tone.

I always try to do the toughest temples first. This one was 15km from town, and--despite what I had been told--there was no bus. So I went out seeking a driver, and at one point had two cops on their phones calling their friends. When I finally landed a driver, he started at 200rmb; I got him down to 150, and when I told him that I was a pilgrim, not a tourist, he let me off with 100. That included a round-trip and a wait of up to 90 minutes--not bad!

(2) These are the stairs I didn't climb; the driver knew there was a road up to the front gate, and took it, sparing me the climb.

(3) I knew when I saw this gate that I was in for some "shabby genteel."

(4) The temple has only two halls (right now). This is the first one, dedicated to Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.

(5) And here he/she is, rising up into the darkness.

(6) An unusual feature: Each of the flanking bodhisattvas had its own "cave."

(7) This long building bisected the main axis. As far as I could tell, it was all utility (offices, dorms, etc.) but it was incredibly ornate.

(8) This is the second hall, a Buddha Hall.

(9) Inside were these fairly old painted "18 Arhats."

(10) And an amazing feature: look up! Overhead, 500 Arhats decorate the rafters.

(11) More of the overhead arhats.

(12) And still more, over the right-hand set of nine. A funny thing happened here: I was shooting away, but when I aimed my camera at the Buddha, the attending layman told me "no." I stopped, and then he said, "But go ahead and shoot the arhats." I said, "It's OK?" and he said, "No, it's also not OK (ye bu keyi), but go ahead." Apparently, the Buddha was "more" off-limits!

(13) Behind that hall is this as-yet-unopened "Sleeping Buddha" hall.

(14) There's also a new stupa being built. This rotund Tibetan style is fairly common on Wutai Shan.

(15) I've noticed riots of annual flowers everywhere I went in Shanxi. I imagine the winters are harsh, so they grab some color when they can.

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Last Updated August 21, 2019

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