No. 112: Jingju Temple, Ji'an, Jiangxi

(This article was published in the Shenzhen Daily on November 10, 2014.)

This stone lion (石狮) looked amazing in "golden hour" light at
Jingju Temple (净居寺), Ji'an, Jiangxi (江西, 吉安市青原山).

August 11, 2012 - My next temple was not remote, like Zhenru had been, but it was far from my base, and required quite a journey--complicated by a late start. After 4-1/2 hours by bus, I arrived at the temple at 5 pm--and it had closed at 4! However, I talked my way in and was able to spend some time inside and around the compound.

This temple was almost entirely new; only some inscribed tablets set into a wall reflected any antiquity at all. However, it has an ancient history: Xingsi, believed by some to be the Seventh Patriarch of Chan (Zen)--there are several other claimants--lived and died here. Three of Chan's five recognized schools can be traced through him: the Caodong, Yunmen, and Fayan Schools.

The main axis has three small halls, the most interesting being the main hall, which is entirely surrounded by water. Legend says a Dragon King had his den on that spot, and donated it to Master Xingsi at the temple's founding early in the eighth century. That explains the fine statue of the Dragon King in the Jielan Hall, usually reserved for the temple's protector.

Noticing a small white hall on the hill behind the main compound, I climbed up the path to the "Seventh Patriarch Pagoda." Next to it was a small spring, said to have resulted when Xingsi struck the ground with his staff (a story attributed to various Masters all over East Asia). A young man I met later informed me that this spring's water is "very clean… after the monks boil it!"

After showing me a new memorial hall up a side canyon, this same young man told me how to catch the train (instead of a bus) for the three-hour ride back to Nanchang.

GPS Info:
  • 27.05717, 115.05271


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


More pictures can be found here.

The main hall at Jingju Temple is surrounded
by water. A Dragon King once lived under it!

The white hall above the main compound contains the Pagoda of the Seventh Patriarch.

A spring made by the Seventh Patriarch sits above the temple.

A lion guards the temple gates near sunset.

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