Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Jade Buddha Temple

The Jade Buddha temple is a recent construction. It was built in 1928 over an older temple, to preserve two rare relics. Both relics, statues of the Buddha were brought down from Burma by a monk Huiegen. The temple sits in a poorer part of Shanghai or so it seems. Outside there are several shops selling souvenirs. As we walk on an old man asks us for alms. Its a side of the city I am seeing for the first time.

Entrance to the Temple

The front yard is filled with visitors, some tourists, the others here to pray. A coat of incense hangs in the air. During the cultural revolution which overthrew the Monarchy of the Quin Dynasty, the old temple was destroyed. But recognising the historical importance of the relics, the two Buddha's were housed in a newly constructed temple. Unless told it would have been hard for me to guess that this had not been the original place to house both statues.
For the temple retains its old world charm and has an aura of peace. The interiors are with the signature gold and red

The Buddha

Inside the temple

The sitting Buddha in his moment of enlightenment, is made of a rare white Jade. Jade is considered auspicious by the Chinese. It towers over the visitor and is a beautiful presence in the dimly lit room.

As we go around the temple , the aisle is lined with other statues. It reminds me so much of the smaller deities lining our courtyards in the beautiful temples of Southern India. They are called 'Gods of the Twenty Heavens'. Its amazing how cultures so distinct, intersect and converge in strange ways.

Gods of the Twenty Heavens

The resplendent seated Buddha


Outside visitors burn offerings with incense in an enclosure. Its sunny. A beautiful day out in Shanghai.


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