No. 82: Nanputuo Temple, Xiamen, Fujian

(This article was published in the Shenzhen Daily on December 23, 2013.)

Nanputuo Temple (南普陀寺), Xiamen, Fujian (福建, 厦门市) marches majestically
up the Wulao Peaks (五老峰). It dates to the Tang Dynasty (唐朝).
January 17, 2012 - My next trip started in Xiamen and took me down to eastern Guangdong. On the day of my arrival, I dropped my bags in a hotel in central Xiamen and took a local bus to Nanputuo Temple, near the modern Xiamen University.

Though it was founded in the Tang Dynasty, the temple's name was given by a donor around the beginning of the Qing, in 1684. Putuo Shan is a famous island near Ningbo in Zhejiang, to the north of Xiamen. This temple was named "South Putuo" because its island location resembles that of Putuo Shan, and because there is an emphasis on the bodhisattva Guanyin, who was said to inhabit the more northerly island.

The temple hosts many exemplary Buddhist institutions. It is the site of the Minnan Buddhist Institute, which trains both monks and nuns. ("Minnan" designates the southern portion of Fujian Province; Xiamen is the most important city in this area.) I walked through the pleasant grounds of the school as I exited the temple.

It also hosts the Taixu Library, a research and educational institution named for Master Taixu, one of the great monks of the 20th century, who was abbot at Nanputuo and dean of the Minnan Buddhist Institute in the 1920s.

And the temple has an active charity organization which sponsors a clinic, a summer camp for youth, and distribution of books and materials, as well as support for the disabled, orphans, and the aged.

The impressive buildings are in fine condition, but my favorite area was the Wulaofeng--"Five Old Men Peaks"--behind the temple, with verdant pathways leading to caves, stupas, and statues.

GPS Info:
  • 24.44078, 118.09681



More pictures can be found here.

"Five Old Men Peaks" rise behind Nanputuo Temple, Xiamen (similar postcard above)
The Heavenly Kings' Hall
The Chan Hall and Lecture Hall
A stupa and a large stone on the mountain behind the temple

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