I hope you enjoyed last week's trip to the giant Dao in the Philippines. It was something for the eyes and body. Today, for a change, something for the soul. Although, frankly speaking, you can enjoy your eyes too.
May is quite an interesting month in Asia from the point of view of the lunar calendar. We just had a full moon called "Bloody Moon" and as if that weren't enough, coupled with its eclipse. It was visible from Oceania - Australia and New Zealand and also from Japan, the Philippines as well as from Viet Nam. The beautiful red moon above the horizon, just after sunrise, took on a silvery color as time passed, showing all its beauty, hanging over the city until 5:00 am.
May is also the month in Asia when Buddha's birthday is celebrated. Interestingly, different countries give different dates for this holiday. Nominally it is celebrated on the 8th lunar day of April, that is, in the Gregorian calendar - May 19th. Viet Nam celebrates this festival on the 15th lunar day of April, the full moon day. This year it is May 26.
This is the reason that today I would like to go with you to Shanghai, to walk around one of the most beautiful Buddhist temples on the east coast of China.
We have visited the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai some time ago. Check out this article.
I chose this temple as the first one to visit in Shanghai for a very simple reason. It is one of those places that is extremely accessible. Using both the metro and bus lines, the final stop is right at the gates to the temple. What's more, when you are going to, for example, West Nanjing Street, this temple is also available within a 15-minute walk.
So, as the Buddha used to say, "If anything is worth doing, do it with all your heart," I cordially invite you to take a walk around the Jing'an Temple.
The Jing'an Temple is one of the most famous temples in Shanghai. It is located on West Nanjing Road, in the Jing'an District, a thriving downtown area of Shanghai. In 1983, the temple complex was included in the list of key objects of national culture in China.
Jing'an Temple is the most famous landmark in the Jing'an District. It is known as the oldest temple in the city, the history of which goes back further than that of the city itself. It turns out that it was established over 1000 years before the official beginning of Shanghai (1292).
It was built during the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280). It was originally located next to Suzhou Creek - a small local river and was called the Hudu Chongyuan Temple. During the Song Dynasty (1127-1279) it was moved to its present location.
During the Cultural Revolution, the temple was converted into a plastics factory. Unfortunately, in 1972 the temple burnt down and fell into complete ruin.
In the former Jing'an Temple, there were eight meditation and prayer rooms, with many visits by the faithful. Most of them, however, were lost in the fire.
The reconstruction began with the restoration of the splendor of the Hall of Heavenly Kings and the Hall of the Three Wise Men.
After reconstruction, in 1984, the complex was again converted into a temple.
In 1990, the entire temple was finally opened to visitors.
Today there are three main halls: the Mahavira Hall and the aforementioned Hall, the Hall of Heavenly Kings and the Hall of the Three Magi. Mahavira Hall is home to the largest jade Buddha statue in mainland China. The Jade Buddha is 3.78 meters high and weighs 11,000 kilograms. The statue is so large that one of the walls had to be demolished when the statue was moved to the hall. Now, with a kind and calm expression on his face, the Buddha radiates reverence and prosperity.
The wooden architecture exemplifies the typical Song Dynasty style. One of the best monuments in the temple is the Ming Dynasty copper bell (1368-1644) known as the Hongwu Bell, which weighs around 3.5 tons. It is now located on the second floor of the main hall.
Jing'an Temple is a good place to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown Shanghai crowds. In the meantime, you can admire stunning paintings and calligraphy by eight eccentric Yangzhou painters in the Buddhist Relic Exhibition Hall.
To the east of the main hall is the Guanyin Hall, a place where people pay homage to the Goddess of Mercy. The rare female Buddha is one of the most beloved deities in Buddhism.
In the center of the room there is a statue of the goddess made of camphor wood. Standing on a lotus-shaped base, it is about 6.2 meters tall and weighs about 5 tons.
The temple is currently undergoing a second major renovation, which covers an area of over 17,000 square meters.
The renovation, which is expected to cost 40 million yuan ($ 4.82 million), will be financed by the temple as well as donations from Buddhists at home and abroad.
During the renovation, at a cost of about 6 million yuan, two buildings, 12.8 meters high, were erected on both sides of the main gate of the temple.
One of the structures hangs the 3.3-meter-high Peace Bell, cast in 1999 to commemorate the arrival of the 21st century. The second one has a drum with a diameter of 2.2 meters made of cowhide.
An underground fountain is also being built inside one of the buildings. The design of the temple closely follows the style of traditional Chinese Buddhist temples.
The Precious Hall of the Great Hero, the main hall, is still under construction. When completed, it will have four to five floors.
Although I still believe that Jing'an is a place to take a break from the crowds, nowadays it is not the perfect place for peaceful meditation.
Contrary to its name, which in Chinese means "peace and quiet," this small, brightly decorated temple on the bustling Nanjing Road is usually crowded. Additionally, the place is surrounded by high-rise office buildings and luxurious shopping centers.
Address: No 1686, Nanjing Road W.
Admission: 50 yuan (free admission on the first and 15th of each month according to the lunar calendar)
Opening hours: from 7.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
Access: metro line 2, buses no.15, 20, 21, 37, 48, 113, 506, 921 - Jing'an Temple stops.
Thanks to its unique location, visitors can expect both - groups of tourists and "fashion icons" in this sacred place, young, wealthy Chinese flaunting the purchases of exclusive brands. Nevertheless, on weekdays, you can also meet many devout Buddhists, mainly local old women.
This image reminds me of one of the Buddha's quotes - "The source of suffering is attachment."
This underlines the position of Buda that everything in the natural world is changeable while people tend to become attached to the image of themselves, other people and material things.
We assume that everything we have now and who we are now will be the same forever. This allows us to satisfy our need for security and, in a way, avoid the fear of the unknown. The reality, however, is different.
Our attachment, however, goes against the nature of reality.
Sooner or later we will change, our loved ones will change or they will leave this world. The material things we have will cease to be pretty or will be destroyed.
In this situation, every time this happens, we will suffer because we still hold the image we are attached to in our head.
And we want everything to be the old way.
So let's make sure to find your passion, thanks to which we will develop and life will be much more pleasant.
Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with your IKIGAI - I wrote about it in one of my first articles.
You have to want to make it happen.
With all your heart.
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