No. 126: Guangzong Temple, Wutai Shan, Shanxi

(This article was published in the Shenzhen Daily on April 6, 2015.)

The pretty little main hall at Guangzong Temple (广宗寺), Wutai Shan, Shanxi (山西, 五台山)

August 27, 2012 - The next stopping-place reached on my ascent was Guangzong ("Wide Sect" or perhaps "Spreading the Teachings") Temple. Passing between the stone lions and through the usual heavenly Kings' Hall, I enter a courtyard which was fairly small by Wutai's standards.

But the main hall, though one of the smallest, was one of the most elegant I had seen. With one older and one newly-planted pine in front of it, this jewel was surrounded by a tightly-designed compound of buildings. Inside the hall was one of the best sets of arhats I'd seen. Unfortunately, they were fiercely guarded by a laywoman (in my mind, a "dragon lady"), so I was only able to squeeze off a few photos from the doorways.

The rear hall of the temple had an unusual mandala made up of offerings and candles. As the hall was closed, I was only able to see this work through a windowpane, but it showed evidence of great effort and deep devotion in its temporary construction. (I found out later is for the "Ghost Festival" memorials for the dead.)

To the right-rear of the temple a fairly new courtyard houses the "Commemorative Hall of Master Fazun." Fazun, who died in 1980 at the age of 78, had been a disciple of Master Taixu. In the 1930s he had gone to Tibet with other Chinese monks to study Buddhist teachings which (he felt) had been lost to mainland China. At the time of his passing he was principal of the Chinese Buddhist College.

A stupa stands in the center of the courtyard, which is festooned with prayer flags. Inside the hall is a gold effigy, presumably a preserved "body relic" of the master himself, the only such figure I saw on Wutai Shan.

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More pictures can be found here.

Stone lions guard the gateway to the temple.

Guangzong Temple's precious, small main hall

The Commemorative Hall of Master Fazun

A gold effigy of Master Fazun

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