No. 110: Donglin Temple, Jiujiang, Jiangxi

(This article was published in the Shenzhen Daily on October 20, 2014.)

This Amitabha Buddha (弥陀佛) is one of numerous new statues
at Donglin Temple (东林寺), Jiujiang, Jiangxi (江西, 九江市).

August 8, 2012 - Although Donglin Temple's address is in Jiujiang, it lies around 20 kilometers from the city center. Fortunately there was local transport available to the gate, and I rushed out there in mid-afternoon after visiting Nengren Temple.

The temple was founded at the foot of Lushan Mountain by the great monk Huiyuan (334–416 CE), who--after his death--was declared the First Patriarch of the Pure Land Sect of Buddhism. This school, with its dedication to the chanting of the name of Amitabha Buddha, is by far the most popular in China, and indeed is well known throughout the Far East. Donglin Temple is considered to be its founding temple.

Like many of China's key temples, this one has been undergoing major renovations. There are massive new gateways, halls, and pavilions, as well as a new pagoda on the mountain behind the main compound. My main impression of the place was BIG and NEW.

Yet there are some indications that the temple is not just a show place. After toiling up the mountain in the setting sun, I discovered that the compound I had seen on the map was closed to the public, in order to provide seclusion so that the monks there could practice discipline. There were also numerous laypeople practicing various devotions around the grounds.

Further evidence of the site's vitality is that a number of other temples have sprung up in near proximity. (One is named "Xilin"--"West Forest"--in contrast to Donglin's meaning of "East Forest.") And the year following my visit, the "world's tallest Buddha statue," a 48-meter image of the Pure Land Sect's Amitabha Buddha, was built near the site.

GPS Info:
  • 29.59765, 115.94979


(Regarding problems with this map, please see the CHINA section on this page.)


More pictures can be found here.

A huge lotus pond in front of the main gate of Donglin Temple

Large new reflecting ponds and bridge at the front of the temple

The huge new main hall at Donglin Temple

This pavilion above the temple houses a large
bronze image of the Thousand-Armed Guanyin.

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