No. 64: Zhanshan Temple, Qingdao, Shandong

(This article was published in the Shenzhen Daily on July 15, 2013.)

The delicate Drum Tower (鼓楼) at Zhanshan Temple (湛山寺), Qingdao, Shandong (山东, 青岛市)
August 31, 2011 - Getting from Shijiazhuang to Qingdao proved to be more difficult than I had imagined. I was forced to lay over one night in Beijing, forfeiting the room I had booked in Qingdao.

So instead of a leisurely night in that beautiful seaside town, I arrived by train around 12:30, and had a four o'clock flight back to Shenzhen! This allowed only a one-hour visit to the temple, followed by a frantic ride to the airport.

Zhanshan Temple was built by the 20th-century monk Tanxu (who, coincidentally, had also built the first temple I visited on this trip, in Haerbin). It now stands in Zhongshan Park overlooking the Yellow Sea sailing venue of the 2008 Olympics.

Walking up to the temple's gate, I was a little bit startled when I passed a most unusual attraction near a pond with a statue of Guanyin--a shooting gallery! After all, Guanyin is the Bodhisattva of Compassion. This seemed to be an attempt to capitalize on the foot traffic coming to the temple.

Inside, however, was another world. Beautiful, wide courtyards with tall pines and other trees surrounded the Chinese-style halls of the temple, which bear silent testimony to an interesting story. Like Haerbin, Qingdao was once a foreign enclave with few notable signs of Chinese culture. By building this temple (with encouragement from local authorities), Tanxu was in a way reclaiming this Chinese city for China--just as he had done with Jile Temple in Haerbin.

After a quiet tour, accompanied by an English-speaking devotee of the temple, I made a dash to the airport, ending this leg of my pilgrimage.

GPS Info:
  • 36.06488, 120.36392



More pictures can be found here.

This Guanyin, Bodhisattva of Compassion, stands near a
shooting gallery outside Zhanshan Temple, Qingdao
The Heavenly Kings' Hall stands in a pine-shaded courtyard
The Main Hall is also shaded by pines
The pagoda at Zhanshan Temple is 20 meters tall

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