Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jing'an Temple

Last week, Chris and I took the Metro into Puxi, to Jing'an Temple.  The temple is one of the major tourists destination inside Shanghai, and has a lot of history - it was built in 247 AD.  The name means "Temple of Peace and Prosperity".  When entering the courtyard, like all the other temples, there is the strong smell of incense.  People burn incense to clear the air of unwanted spirits.  Visitors toss coins into the iron pagoda to make an offering to Buddha, and hope for good fortune.

tossing coins
incense holder
Jing'an Temple sits amongst modern high-rise buildings and hotels in Shanghai.  Inside the courtyard, there are three main halls. The architecture is impressive not only because of when it was actually produced, but because of all the detail work.  Two carved silver chairs are decorated with lotus and chrysanthemum flowers, really beautiful.

 silver chair
carved wooden balconies
Sakyamuni Buddha, the first Buddha
Myanmar white jade, 11 tons

Guanyin Bodhisattva, Buddhist Goddess of Mercy
Carved from 1000year  Camphor wood tree
In the main hall, there is a floor-to-ceiling marble and jade mural depicting different scenes from the life of Buddha.  It was so startling, yet impressive.  Inlaid are carvings of different colors of jade, marble, mother-of-pearl and other precious stones.  Visitors can get right up in front of it, and touch the detail.  There are no ropes or stations to keep you back a few feet.

Jing'an Temple is also a working monastery.  At noon, the monks came out and performed a short ceremony.  Then a family gathered, and burned papers and photos in a small bin.  I think this may have been some sort of funeral rite.

Jing'an skyline

This statue is in front of the main doors to the temple.  It depicts a female Imperial Guardian Lion restraining a playful cub.  Looks pretty ferocious to me.

Jing'an Park is just across West Nanjing Road from the temple.  It is ancient, with traditional stone walkways and twisting steps.  You can really feel old Imperial Chinese history here.   We walked along the paths, and came upon small tea pavilions and ponds with koi.  People bring snacks and drinks, and take a break in the shade.  Old men play cards.  It's really serene and beautiful - no sports fields or kids areas.  

park entry
stone steps

feeding coi
hey, get off the phone!
old rampart wall 
restaurant by the pond

stone walkway

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