Shifang Tang, Wutaishan, Shanxi
(August 27, 2012)

(1) In looking for Shifang Tang ("Ten Directions Hall"), I walked past the gate of Guangren Temple, and into a shop, where I asked directions. They steered me back to this gate, as "Shifang Tang" is simply another name for Guangren.

The temple used as a residence when lamas came to visit Wutai Shan from Tibet.

(2) This image is on top of the gate. It's an "aniconic" (without a statue) image of the Buddha. See the Wheel of Dharma? That's him. (He said, "When you see the Dharma, you see me.") And the deer remind us of his first sermon, given in the Deer Park at Sarnath. (A second aniconic image can also be seen--the "umbrella" behind the gate was a royal symbol used to symbolize the Buddha in early images.)

(3) A young lady on duty told me that "here" is the "Shifang Tang." I couldn't get clarity on whether she meant this pavilion (in which we were standing at the time) or the whole temple. (Later research confirms it's the whole temple.)

(4) An oil lamp and a prayer wheel, "very Tibet."

(5) The interior of the Assembly Hall leaves no doubt that this is temple is in the Tibetan tradition.

(6) The Dragon and Phoenix are a common motif in Chinese art; these are door panels on the Buddha Hall.

(7) A pretty little courtyard. I love the curtains they use over the doors.

(8) As I was leaving, these very young monks--mere boys--were having a "prostration race" in the pavilion, laughing hysterically; a senior was out of frame, was cheering them on.

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Last Updated August 21, 2019

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