Zhanshan Temple, Qingdao, Shandong
(August 31, 2011)

(1) At last! After a five-hour train ride from Beijing (where i was stuck for the night for lack of trains) and a 20-minute taxi ride in Qingdao, I arrived at Zhanshan Temple, a pretty little place in a big park. Nothing spectacular, but nice people, and a pleasant way to end the trip.

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A few things worth noting: First, outside the gate, there's a pond with a statue of Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. And next to the pond, a SHOOTING GALLERY! I've seen these before; what were they thinking?

(2) The second thing of note at Zhanshan Temple, Qingdao: These are the Xifang Sansheng, the "Three Sages of the West." They are Amitabha, Buddha of Infinite Light and Life; Guanyin, Bodhisattva of Compassion; and Dashizi, Bodhisattva of Great Power. When shown together like this, Guanyin represents Compassion and Dashizi the counterbalance of Wisdom.

Here's what's funny: There was a 10 or 12 year old kid there offering incense at his father's insistence; his arm was in a cast, and I suspect he was asking the Three Sages for help. So I asked the kid (all innocently) who they were. After some hesitation, he answered, "Fu Lu Shou." I asked his dad, and he confirmed the kid's answer.

WRONG! Fu, Lu, and Shou are three Taoist "star gods," with their own separate stories and attributes. Different figures, different "religion." It would be like a Catholic kid looking at a depiction of the Holy Trinity and saying, "That's the Three Fates" of Greek mythology.

Ah, the state of things...

(3) The third thing of note at Zhanshan Temple, Qingdao, was this pavilion housing the "Olympic Mascot Bell." I don't really know what this is, except that Qingdao was the sailing venue for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, so I imagine this bell had something to do with local Olympic ceremonies. Anyone know more?

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A mad taxi dash from the temple to the airport, and a few hours later my Dongbei Pilgrimage was over. Thanks for following along!

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Last Updated August 6, 2019

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