Guiyuan Budhist Temple


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March 22nd 2008
Published: March 22nd 2008
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Today found us travelling into another part of Wuhan to visit the Guiyuan Budhist Temple. "Covering an area of about 46,900 square meters (approx. 55,812 square yards), Guiyuan Buddhist Temple is situated in the west section of Hanyang district in Wuhan City. Being one of the four best temples in Wuhan, the temple, which was originally established in 1658 in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), was initially built on the site of Wuzhangpu Kuiyuan in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The word 'Guiyuan' originates from a sutra, meaning to surpass the circumscription of existence and extinguishment, to return to purity and tranquility."

The route there took us through small market gardens on the outskirts of the city dotted with shanty buildings that housed the local workers we assumed. We also saw our first oxen at work in the field. It is always interesting to see the mixture of old and new. While much of the population in the city is skyrocketing into the modern era, there are a much larger group still surviving at a subsistence level. The growth is phenomenal in terms of apartment complexes and businesses. However, the visit to the temple was a step back in time and an eye opener to the spiritual side of the country.

The temple itself is huge with a large collection of 500 sculptural "disciples" in the main building. In the photos you will see a large metal object into which people throw coins as donations. The coins seem to become magnetic if they are rubbed on the metal and many people could be seen rubbing them until they stuck to the side. At least we think that is what was happening. It is the only explanation we could come up with as to why they would "stick". The old-style architecture was phenomenal and very interesting to see, especially the details around the roofs and tops of buildings. Photos were not permitted in any of the buildings where people were worshiping and these were some of the most photogenic of all!.. especially the one where the 500 sculptures were located. You can find more info about the temple itself at http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/hubei/wuhan/guiyuan_temple.htm.

We attempted to eat at a great looking restaurant inside the temple walls but had to leave when all we were given was a small menu that was totally Chinese characters. If we don't have pictures, we are out of luck! There were many pictures all the way along the path to the restaurant but once we got there, none. We ended up having some delicious street food as we explored the area outside the temple. Nancy had her fortune told by an old guy but of course couldn't understand a word of it. We were hoping he would be able to give us something wriitten but didn't or couldn't. But it was fun and many people gathered around to watch. They understood and gave us the thumbs up which was a good sign we decided! Every time we step out the door, it is an interesting experience. People continue to be friendly and many said, "Hello" and gave us the "thumbs up" as we walked around the surrounding area.

There was a little PR thing going on in our complex today so there were several hostesses dressed up for the part. Every month or so, there is a sales campaign for the apartments and condos in our area. You can see by the outfits that any type of sales campaign is a big event. And, of course, I had to include a few photos of the flowers and blooms that are taking over the city.


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