Extra: Zhaoyin Temple and Lion Crag, Shaoguan, Guangdong

(This article was published in the Shenzhen Daily on August 4, 2014.)

This stairway leads to Zhaoyin Temple (招隱寺) in Shaoguan, Guangdong (广东, 韶关市).
It lies in a cliff on the side of Lion's Crag (獅子岩), where the Maba Man (马坝人) Site was found.

July 25, 2012 - The next day's side-trip was a two-for-one. Zhaoyin Temple is found in the Maba Man historical site, located between Shaoguan city and the renowned Nanhua Temple.

Near Maba Town is Lion Crag, actually two huge rock formations riddled with caves. In 1958 a skull was found inside one, which has been dated to around 130,000 years before the present, and is called "Maba Man" after the town.

Paleontologists have noticed something interesting: the skull of this being--similar in many ways to Europe's Neanderthals--appears to have suffered violence, and then lived into his forties. From this they deduce (1) this is the earliest known example of hominid-on-hominid violence and (2) culture had developed to the point that he was cared for until he recovered from his wound.

After walking alone through the eerily-lighted cave where he was discovered, I hiked out to the far end of the park and my goal. Although it is not on my list, Zhaoyin Temple has been cited as a possible place of meditation for Huineng, the Sixth Patriarch of Chan (Zen), whose presence dominated this trip.

Zhaoyin's situation is glorious. The cave is situated halfway up one of Lion Crag's "twin peaks." A front wall has been built across the opening, but it doesn't rise to the roof, letting in plenty of natural light. Stairs on the cliff-face lead up to the temple today, but there was clearly access from a lower cave to this upper one once upon a time.

I love caves; they're mysterious and evocative. And I love temples. A temple in a cave? I was in ecstasy!

GPS Info:
  • 24.66781, 113.58412


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


More pictures can be found here.

Lion Crag, site of the Maba Man discovery and Zhaoyin Temple

Detail of a statue of Maba Man in the historical park

Stairs leading up the cliff face to Zhaoyin Temple

The Temple is located inside a cave.

The front terrace of Zhaoyin Temple

Lion Crag (獅子岩) in Shaoguan, Guangdong (广东, 韶关市), is the site of the Maba Man
(马坝人) archaeological find. A Buddhist temple lies on a cliff on the other side.

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