Yuquan Temple, Dangyang, Hubei
(August 5, 2012)

(1) This is the so-called "new" gate to Yuquan Temple, which anyone with a car will drive around, as it's about a kilometer from the temple itself.

I hadn't been sure how I would reach this temple, but it worked out: High-speed train to Yichang (near the Three Gorges Dam), bus toward Dangyang, shuttle up to the temple. And in reverse coming home (but on a Sunday night, I had to wait over four hours for the next available seat on a train. Found a Papa John's in Yichang, though!)

(2) One of the older gates along the road from the "new" gate to the temple. Love the faded colors.

(3) Another old gate just before the temple, next to the Iron Pagoda. Foot traffic only, but the road goes around it.

(4) The Iron Pagoda dates to 1061. In 1994 (they say), a chamber was discovered underneath it. That chamber had been built in 677 (under a previous pagoda on the site) to hold Buddha relics--another example of the many relics popping up all over China in the last couple of decades. For 10rmb (less than $1.50US) I visited the chamber; unusually, the relic can actually be seen (behind glass).

(5) There are eight guardians supporting the Iron Pagoda; none of them has both of his arms.

(6) Identified on the English sign simply as "Wise Monk," this is Zhi Zhe (智者), a nickname for the monk Zhiyi (智顗). He was born nearby, and after establishing the Tiantai sect, returned here in later years to build this temple.

(7) A pleasant enough front gate, with some enigmatic images. Note the small plaque to the right of the door.

(8) A close-up of the plaque. I have no idea what's going on here, but it looks like a scene from The Wizard of Oz.

(9) Inside the first compound, large lotus ponds in front of the main hall.

(10) As I've mentioned, Pu Xian (Samanthabhadra) rides an elephant. It has six tusks, representing the "Six Perfections" of the Mahayana. This is absolutely the coolest looking elephant I've seen--Disneyesque.

(11) Five patriarchs of the Tiantai sect.

(12) The next few pictures are a trifle bizarre. The 500 Arhats' Hall is being refurbished, and new arhats are being placed. I shot enough pictures of the whole thing to make a separate album! The best part was these old arhats being stacked around the place; as they were designed to sit on something, and now they're not, they're tilted backwards, looking for all the world like they're on a roller coaster or a bobsled!

(13) This one looks more like a crowded subway car.

(14) The first guy (a bodhisattva) looks like a king on a roller coaster!

(15) The gateway to the Jade Buddha Hall, above the main hall.

(16) These butterflies had gathered to drink. I was fascinated, and watched them for quite a while.

(17) There was something oddly Indian, even Arabesque, about this pavilion. Nearby was an Ashoka Pillar and...

(18) This stupa, with panels showing scenes from the life of the Buddha. (I shot them all, with explanations.)

(19) At the top of the property is a hall so new, it doesn't even show on Google's satellite images yet. It contained a nice 1000-armed Guanyin. Even better, I met some nice people here: a college student from Yichang, and a nice Indian family.

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As I write this, it's August 6 and I've just had a travel day, from Wuhan to Jiujiang. More templing tomorrow!

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Last Updated August 20, 2019

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