Puguang Chan Temple - Part II
Behind this is the Arhats Hall, with the 18 wise men particularly bright and fresh. There are a further 24 deities on the upper level. It’s an unusual arrangement. The real star of the temple, architecturally and spiritually is the Hall of Guanyin at the back of the temple. When it was built, in the Ming Dynasty, there was little timber available and as a result, any old timber had to be brought into service. Many of the beams are crooked, yet still well positioned and well finished, so the building has a slightly rustic feel. Immediately in front are the two pools where, in the past, fish and turtles would swim. Now, a quaint stone turtle is the only occupant, with various figures onits back riding to nirvana. Guanyin Hall is constantly accompanied by devoted monks and some lay worshippers who will give a very warm and friendly welcome to anyone. I got the feeling that if the devil turned up he would be warmly welcomed and goven respect: these are good people here (see separate review)
To the right of the Guanyin Hall, is the Jade Emperor Tower, the talest building in the compound, but it is not open to the public as it is in a poor state and roped off. Nearby is the Hall of Three Purities. It is the oldest building, dating back to the Northern Song Dynasty. Puguang Temple actually has toom for three religions – Buddhism, Taoism (of the Zhengyi sect) and Confucianism, although it feels actively Buddhist. The Taoist aspect can be seen mainly through symbols and sayings rather than by active worship, and the Taoist priests also take part in Buddhist rituals.
Back at the front of the temple, the Shrine of Flourishing Culture has wonderful pictures and carvings of scholars studying for their examinations – in days gone by, state and religion were as close as they are noe, but for very different reasons! The front of this shrine is a masterpiece, and is best admired from the front garden area.