Youmin Temple, Nanchang, Jiangxi
(August 9, 2012)

(1) Youmin Temple is not one of my 142, but it was near my hotel, and home to one of the great Chan (Zen) masters.

If you picture a Zen Man as a crazy person, given to sudden shouts, smacking disciples, and so on, you can thank Mazu Daoyi for that image. He was the first in a long line of "antinomian" Zen masters. And this small temple was his final teaching seat.

The temple is squeezed into a neighborhood just east of the Gan River, which runs through Nanchang. In its heyday it must have been much bigger, as it's said thousands were attracted to Mazu's teaching.

(2) This is the so-called "Copper Buddha Hall." There's a garbled translation on the back of the ticket about how "A copper column was cast one zhang and six chi high, weighing 36,000 jin to meet the Buddhist." Furthermore, it says "the column was spoiled during the Great Culture Revolution" but was "reconstructed" in 1995. I assume by "column" they mean...

(3) This huge (and to my eye, unsightly) statue of Amitabha Buddha. 36,000 jin (about 39,600 pounds, or nearly 20 tons)? I don't know. Anyway, it's impressive.

(4) The front of the Buddha Hall. The grounds had several ancient trees, attesting to the age of the place.

(5) The Buddhas in their Hall. Nice enough. I said my prayers outside, next to the hall.

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Last Updated August 20, 2019

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