Jingju Temple, Ji'an, Jiangxi
(August 11, 2012)

(1) This perfunctory screen wall at Jingjiu Temple in Ji'an is a local peculiarity. I saw them in front of some houses, too. I arrived at the temple at nearly 5 pm, and the temple closes at 4. But a kindly old monk (a little younger than me, as I would later learn) allowed me to cajole my way in, and the halls were still open, so I lucked out.

It was actually quite a day: 4-1/2 hours by bus, 1-1/2 hours at the temple, 3 hours back by train.

It's a nice little temple, but not spectacular: Almost everything is new, with more to come. But it's quite significant, historically: The Seventh Patriarch of Chan (or one of them), Xingsi, lived and died here; three of Chan's five recognized schools can be traced through him: The Caodong School, The Yunmen School, and The Fayan School.

(2) The main hall is noted for being completely surrounded by water. There's something about the pond having been the lair of a Dragon King: his statue is in the Jielan Hall, and Jielan is famed as a protector of temples. A story worth following up here.

(3) Here's the statue of the Dragon King--perhaps a manifestation of Jielan (Guanyu), whose more usual image is on the right.

(4) Evidence of the temple's ongoing expansion: workmen shape wooden columns.

(5) I didn't see an old statue in the entire temple (although I didn't see the Vairocana statue in an upstairs room). The "Guanyin Island" was very nice, but very new.

(6) More newness.

(7) These tablets outside of a side gate were the only really old thing I saw in the whole temple.

(8) This "Qifu Pagoda" is an example of how bad newness can be.

(9) The whole main axis is just three small halls (for now). But I spied a small white hall up on the hill, and made the climb up to the "Seventh Patriarch Pagoda."

(10) Next to the hall is this spring, created when the "Seventh Patriarch" smacked the ground with his staff. A kid later told me that the water is "very clean--after the monks boil it."

(11) Inside the hall is this (also new-looking) pagoda, supposedly the "Seventh Patriarch Pagoda." I wonder what's inside it? Anyway, it had fine photocopies of other patriarchs glued into the places where Buddhas would usually be carved.

(12) As I was leaving, I met a young man who sometimes stays in the temple as a volunteer. The monk who had let me in came out, and we had a brief conversation, with the college kid acting as interpreter. Then the monk said he wanted to show me something. He ducked into his room (part of the gate) and came out with this memorial plate depicting the Master Xuyun, whose main stupa I had been at the day before, at Zhenru Temple. Then he surprised me when he gave it to me. I embarrassed myself by bursting into tears of gratitude; he took it in stride. I just hope I can get it home in one piece! [2019 UPDATE: I did! It's here with me in the Philippines now.]

(13) The kid told me there were "more buildings" behind the temple. He took me through a gate (locked for the night, but opened by a slightly inebriated gate keeper--a local guy, probably not even a layman of the temple). The "buildings" turned out to be this one, under construction since 2007 and still unfinished, with a cemetery behind it. On the hill behind, you might barely make out the top of the stupa containing the remains of "Ti Guan," a "great monk" (I don't know why--yet). It was late, I was spent, and I didn't climb up to check it out. [UPDATE November 2014: "In 1990, the Venerable Master Tiguang became the Abbot of Jingju Temple..." (from an online source)]

(14) One of my last shots: The setting sun casts a shadow from one of the lions at the Mountain Gate.

+ + + + + + + +

A local bus back down the hill, a three-hour train ride home, a cab to a fine Mexican restaurant ("Mexico," in Nanchang) and four hours' sleep before the train to Changsha, during which I edited these pictures and wrote the captions for later posting.

    ← Previous Site Back to Trip 18 Introduction Next Site →    

Last Updated August 20, 2019

No comments:

Post a Comment