No. 29: Longchang Temple, Jurong, Jiangsu

(This article was published in the Shenzhen Daily on July 30, 2012.)

An ordination platform (戒台) at Longchang Temple (隆昌寺) in Jurong, Jiangsu
(江苏, 句容市). Monks (和尚) have shaved (削发) here for generations.
July 24, 2010 - Longchang Temple was going to be a challenge. I had no idea how I would get to this mountaintop temple, located in Baohua Mountain Forest Park. It was an adventure, but in the end, I found out I was simply starting from the wrong place!

I took a highway bus from Zhenjiang (once home to the author Pearl S. Buck, known in Chinese as "Sai Zhenzhu") back toward Nanjing. Once off the bus, I rode in a funny little three-wheeled cab back to the gate of the park. From there, I was relieved to learn the park operated a shuttle bus up to the temple.

I was further delighted to meet a young monk, Venerable Guang Yao, who spoke English and offered to show me around.

Founded in 502, in the Liang Dynasty, the temple has many fine buildings and statues, but two things stand out.

The first is the "Copper Hall" at the rear of the property. Now largely encased in brick (for protection), it was built in the Ming Dynasty. On either side are two "Beamless Halls" in beautiful multicolored brick, also from the Ming.

The other outstanding attraction is the ordination platform. In a hall of its own, opening out to a courtyard for larger crowds, this stone dais has been used for initiating monks since the Ming Dynasty. One source says that in a single ceremony in 1900, over 1,200 people were ordained!

After lunch with the monks, I returned to Zhenjiang by flagging down a bus on the highway--my first time doing so. But as I learned at the park gate, there was an easy local bus from Qixia Temple in Nanjing, which I had visited two days earlier!

GPS Info:
  • 32.129464, 119.089828


(This may look blank, but it works--I promise!)


Front gate of Longchang Temple on Baohua Mountain
The Copper Hall is now encased in brick, but the copper doors can still be seen
One of the Beamless Halls next to the Copper Hall
The Ordination Hall has been in use for centuries
The Ordination Platform inside the Hall (postcard above)

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