No. 13: Yufo Temple, Shanghai

(This article was published in the Shenzhen Daily on March 19, 2012.)

The Yufo Temple (玉佛寺) in Shanghai (上海) is famous for the Jade Buddha after which it was
named, but there are several more jade figures there, including this one of Guanyin (观音).
August 26, 2009 - On my last day in Shanghai (and the last day of my first, nine-day pilgrimage) I went from Jing'an Temple up to nearby Yufo Si (Jade Buddha Temple), wherein reside several magnificent (you guessed it) jade Buddhas.

The temple was founded in 1882, after Hui Gen, a monk from Mount Putuo (where I had been earlier on this trip) made a pilgrimage to Tibet, and continued on to Burma. A layman there gave him several jade Buddhas; two of these returned with him to Shanghai. He built the first Yufo Temple to house them. That temple has since moved, and another jade Buddha was added as a gift from Singapore later, bringing the total to three.

The current abbot, Master Juexing, is forward-looking in remarkable ways. For example, he has founded a small shop at the front of the temple (facing the street) called "Zen Coffee," where "isolated from the hustle and bustle outer world" you can drink coffee while you "enjoy the Buddhist music and Buddhist artworks."

He also founded a bookstore with discounted books and consultation service to spread knowledge and enhance laypeople's understanding, and two vegetarian restaurants--one inside the grounds, and one facing the street. Master Juexing is also involved in many charities, including homes for children and seniors.

The temple has all the usual buildings and statues you'd expect, with the addition of the fine jade Buddhas. But as a city temple, it is the engagement with the lives of everyday people that is most commendable.

Off to the airport and back home from my first trip to Zhejiang and Shanghai--but two days later I was in Xi'an.

GPS Info:
  • 31.240914, 121.444934



The street entrance to Zen Coffee, a very nice place to relax at Shanghai's Jade Buddha Temple
The main Buddha Hall at the temple
The larger jade Reclining Buddha, a gift from Singapore
A postcard [not my photo] shows the seated jade Buddha

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