Gaoming Temple, Tiantai, Zhejiang
(September 15, 2011)

(1) Once again, Mr. Deep and I paid for an expensive taxi (230 renminbi, about $34US) to take us deep into the mountains. And once again, it was well worth it. Today's target was Gaoming Temple (not to be confused with one in Yangzhou, Jiangsu, with a similar name). The first thing we saw as the taxi approached was this stunning tower. We walked into its compound to see that the pool had been drained for upgrading (looks like a fountain will be installed). Too bad, as there would have been a great reflection shot! [As I reflect (heh-heh) on this in 2019, I wonder if the pool wasn't new? The building certainly was!]

(2) Here's a detail of the tower's many roofs. I wasn't able to determine its use; it seems quite new (ribbons still over the door), and it was locked. Research!

(3) This is the lovely old-fashioned gateway to the temple proper; the usual Milefo/Wei Tuo/Four kings were inside.

(4) Something unusual inside, though, was this chess game, abandoned in progress. There were also numerous paper horses-with-riders and a paper boat prepared for some festival.

(5) Another unusual thing: I have seen something like this at some Japanese temples, but never in China. It's apparently a stone phallus; in Japanese temples, woman wishing to conceive would touch it. The stone bowl sitting nearby is also suggestive; these are in the inner courtyard of the large tower seen earlier.

(6) Here is a nice example of the temple's shabby gentility. We walked around and through several creaky old wooden halls, some of which were in use.

(7) The "treasure" of this temple, for the visitor, is its two-story 500 Arhat Hall. This conglomeration in the upstairs hints at the richness of the collection.

(8) However, it's not until you look at the details that the real delight takes hold. Look at this "Ear-Pulling Arhat," perhaps a parody of the common "Ear-Cleaning Arhat."

(9) The Boys in the (Arhat) Band

(10) Is this a Tickling Arhat?

(11) I doubt that these figures are too old; I'll do some research, but seriously, how long has the "thumbs-up" sign been around?

(12) In the back of the Main Hall, another statue which ties together the humor of the Arhats with the phallus in the tower courtyard: the statue of Shancai, male attendant to Guanyin, is pantsless!

(13) A monk told us there was a statue of the Thousand-Armed Guanyin somewhere outside of the temple. After running into us several times as we failed to find the proper way out, he led us out through the back gate of the tower courtyard and down a long mountain path. About a kilometer away, after leading us on several side trips to view rocks and caves of various descriptions, he brought us to this. New and "shiny," she wasn't the most beautiful I've seen, but the setting was spectacular, overlooking mountains and valleys. It would be a great place for meditation, and the monk's incredible kindness was well appreciated (even as I toiled back up the trail).

(14) Having Mr. Deep along meant that I was occasionally shot "in action." Here, I'm checking a map with the monk who walked us out to the statue at Gaoming Temple.

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Last Updated August 7, 2019

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