No. 79: Guangxiao Temple, Putian, Fujian

(This article was published in the Shenzhen Daily on November 11, 2013.)

One of the fierce Wisdom Kings (明王) in a rear hall at Guangxiao Temple (光孝寺), Putian,
Fujian (福建, 莆田市). These esoteric (密宗) figures are especially popular in Japanese temples.
October 28, 2011 - With a little time to spare, I reached my third temple of the day, Putian's Guangxiao ("Bright Filial Piety") Temple (also known as Meifeng--"Plum Peak"--Temple).

Situated in a busy downtown area, it was filled with old men in the late afternoon: exercising, chatting, playing chess and cards, or just sitting in the relatively quiet atmosphere in the middle of the city's rush hour.

The main compound was mostly as expected--beautiful old buildings, fine statues, but nothing exceptional--so being in something of a hurry, I headed up to the large new halls at the rear of the complex, which contained an amazing collection of new statuary.

At the center of the Dabei ("Great Compassion") Hall was a large statue of Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Lining the walls on either side were fine characterizations of his/her many manifestations: a Dragon King, an old scholar, a young monk, a maiden, and many others.

Next to that hall, the Huayan Hall also had a collection of excellent statues. Unfortunately, the "Huayan Triad" in the center of the hall was not up to the same standard. These are Wenshu (Manjushri), the Bodhisattva of Great Wisdom, and Puxian (Samantabhadra), the Bodhisattva of Great Practice, seated on either side of Vairocana, the Buddha of the Great Sun (my personal favorite).

Despite the time, believe it or not, I paused to photograph each one of the dozens of statues in these halls individually before it was time to leave. A real treasure!

GPS Info:
  • 25.43642, 119.01396



More pictures can be found here.

The Dabei ("Great Compassion") Hall
A row of statues in the Dabei Hall, representing forms of Guanyin
A Dragon King, one of Guanyin's forms
Some of the exquisite statues in the Huayan Hall
More of the statues in the Huayan Hall

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