Linyang Temple, Fuzhou, Fujian
(October 24, 2011)

(1) Like yesterday, reaching this temple, Linyang Si, was a challenge: a bus to a bus stop, then flag the passing mini-bus for a 40-minute ride up a winding mountain road. (Thank goodness for the kind girl in the hotel who made phone calls to help me with this and yesterday's logistics!) Anyway, it seems each day I find a temple with a bigger body of water out front. Today's was huge, a real lake.

Getting there? Not so bad. Getting away? Hmmm... I had arrived in the morning, and the next (and last) bus out would be 5 p.m., and I had been hoping to squeeze in another temple today. But I solved that problem, as you'll see.

(2) Out in front is this area for lighting firecrackers; something to do with "good luck," but I don't get it. I think the people who do it just want to have fun!

(3) The gate is unprepossessing. In fact, there wasn't much to see up front that was unusual; the good stuff was all up the hill.

(4) I did appreciate the flags in the main courtyard, though.

(5) When we think of temples, we usually think of bells. It might surprise you to learn that monks and nuns are often called to services and meals by the sound of a hammer striking wood. I've come to enjoy the sound.

(6) I thought these bronze-looking "Three Sages of the West" were a pleasant relief from all the gaudy gold paint I've been seeing lately.

(7) This is Vairocana, "The Great Sun Buddha" and my personal favorite. (I said this temple's prayers in his hall today.) I had a weird little experience with this one. The hall was a little dark, so I didn't realize that the glass panes of the case he's in were beveled. As I walked up to him, focusing on his fingers (which admonish us to "concentrate on the One") they seemed to move! It was just their relative position to the beveling. Still, it gave me a chill.

(8) In a section marked "old buildings" on the temple plan, I saw these beds through a window.

(9) Another rain-barrel pagoda, this one for a monk named "Old Moon."

(10) On one side of the Yuantong Hall, I saw these door panels featuring tigers. When I got to the other side, as I had guessed...

(11) Thar be dragons! Ring any bells? You know the film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"? These two are often seen paired up in Taoist temples (not so much in Buddhist); they represent yang (male, active, etc.) and yin (female, passive, and so on). The film's name hints at this: a crouching tiger is ready to spring; a hidden dragon lies dormant. Anyway, I thought these were pretty.

(12) Inside, the Yuantong Hall was amazing. There were around 80 of these small painted figures; I ended up shooting them all individually.

(13) Here's one of the fancier ones (with a peacock for Lord Krishna!)

(14) This little guy was guarding an empty hall. There were lots of dogs around this temple, some seemingly feral.

(15) The topiary characters read "Fo Guang Pu Zhao" (Buddha's light shines universally, or nearly that).

(16) Cai Shen, the God of Wealth, is far more Taoist than Buddhist. But here was a new figure, tucked away behind a Guanyin. There's a new hall to him at the temple where I used to live, too; a sign of the times?

(17) This stupa is in a gorgeous small hall outside the gate; the image (see inset) has been etched in stone. A modern process for an ancient practice.

(18) Outside that hall is this stupa. Good: making an offering to a patriarch. Not so good: leaving on the ground the bags you brought the offerings in.

(19) Across the lake from the gate I spotted this stupa, indicated by the arrow and shown in the inset. This classic design must be where those ugly modern rain barrels derive from.
+ + + + + + + +
After hanging out by the gate for more than an hour, I was finally able to catch a ride from the first car that left the temple. Down the hill (in half the time as the mini-bus), onto a bus, and I made it to my next temple with time to spare. My first (but not my last) time as a hitch-hiking pilgrim!

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Last Updated August 7, 2019

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