Longshan Temple, Jinjiang, Fujian
(January 18, 2012)

(1) The gate to Longshan Temple in Jinjiang, Fujian, is actually on the side; the area in front of what should be the main gate is filled with tumble-down houses.

To be honest, I was a little disappointed by this temple. Maybe it's because I had had my worst argument ever with a Chinese person before walking in; a disagreement with a fake taxi driver that probably would have turned into a fistfight if he had been bigger, or I smaller. He was flexing his fists ready to go! My "friendly" driver didn't know where the temple was (one of his many flaws) and had driven a couple of kilometers past it. Then tried to double-charge me--sheesh! (Let it go, James...) But my "witnesses" backed me up, and he left in a rage.

Then I walked into what was supposed to be a Buddhist temple, and found one that had clearly been recently converted from a Taoist/folk temple. All that effort to get to something quite different from what I had expected! But it apparently has strong "cross-straits ties" (to Taiwan), and some other significance. So there I was...

(2) The parking lot was full of temporary kiosks. That glass case in the middle ground has a statue of Guanyin in it, dressed as she usually is in Taoist/folk temples. The tall building behind is residence and offices for the temple, I gathered.

(3) This is the view from where the main gate should be (there is an opening there, just a yard/meter wide). Note the kiosks. And the Taoist/folk-looking building.

(4) Closer up.

(5) The interior has "spirit doors," as any good Taoist/folk temple would.

(6) The so-called "Four Heavenly Kings" didn't look so Buddhist to me. They're usually Indian in character; these are decidedly not.

(7) A typical Taoist/folk incense pavilion in the courtyard.

(8) This is supposed to be Qielan, a Buddhist guardian (transformed from Guan Yu); this guy looks like a recycled Cai Shen.

(9) Note the golden dragons in the original (Taoist/folk) woodwork. Then, the fresh carving/painting of Buddhist figures on this beam in the corridor in front of the main hall.

(10) The main figure is a Thousand-Armed Guanyin, which has been there for quite some time and may survive the transition. The glass on the case was so dirty I couldn't see it! I had to check with a lay attendant (the guardian monk slept right through our conversation).

(11) Eighteen arhats: check. Kid on a deer: WHA?

(12) The roof of the "Drum Tower." It had a Weituo inside (usually found in the Four Kings' Hall, behind where the spirit door is at this temple). The "Bell Tower" had the Maitreya Buddha who usually sits in front of Weituo. Bizarre.

(13) This palanquin (litter) was in a corner of the Drum Tower. It looks about big enough to carry a statue in procession--which is often done in folk celebrations.

(14) In the next hall over from the Bell Tower, there is a Dizang on the main altar; here he is painted in the eaves, over five of the ten Judges of Hell, another folk motif (though I've seen it at other Buddhist temples, too).

(15) The Guanyin (over five more Judges) facing the Dizang in the previous shot is badly smoke-damaged.

(16) Five of the Judges of Hell. Note the empty case to the right; I suspect they were recently occupied by folk figures.

(17) One of the ten Judges of Hell. The drawings were pretty cool. Note the suffering penitents in the foreground.

(18) In the corresponding hall behind the Bell Tower, there was a statue of the City God and his wife (definitely folk); the walls were covered with these drawings, whose meaning I haven't yet discovered. I guess in a way I should be glad that a historic Buddhist temple is re-Buddha-fying. But I also regret the inevitable loss of the Taoist/folk traditions that have developed there. The same thing is happening at Dongshan Si near Dapeng Fortress in Shenzhen, and a few other temples I've been to. I guess Buddhism sells better!

(19) Oh, yeah: and this place was terribly maintained!

    ← Previous Site Back to Trip 14 Introduction Next Site →    

Last Updated August 11, 2019

No comments:

Post a Comment