Daoist Temples, Beijing
White Cloud Temple. This is a still working Daoist Temple, which is said to be founded in the year 739 of the Tang-Dynasty.
The buildings, which you see today, are mainly from the Qing-Dynasty. It is a peaceful temple, where you can see Daoist Monchs and sometimes Daoist ceremonies. The temple is the seat of the Chinese Daoist Association.
The Taoist White Cloud Temple, also known as Baiyun Abbey, was first founded in the mid-8th century during the Tang Dynasty, and was initially called Tianchang Abbey (Abbey of Celestial Perpetuity). The abbey was damaged when the Mongols took over in the late 13th century and most of what is scene today was built in the 14th century. During the 20th century, the abbey was without an abbot for the 1940s, and was closed when the communists came to power in 1949.
The Taoist Dongyue Temple, dedicated to the God of Mount Tai, was founded in 1319 and is located in the Chaoyang District of Beijing. Zhang Liusun (1248-1321), a Yuan official and descendant of the Taoist founder Zhang Daoling, raised money and acquired the land for the temple, who died shortly afterwards. His disciple, the Taoist master Wu Quanjie (1269-1346) continued the construction. In 1322, the main halls and the main gate was completed. The temple was repaired and given its present name in 1447 during the reign of the Ming emperor Yingzong. During the Qing Dynasty, the temple was rebuilt twice, in 1698 during the reign of Emperor Kangxi and again in 1761 during the reign of Emperor Gaozong.
The temple is organized around 3 main courtyards, it has 376 rooms and covers 4.7 hectares. The courtyards hold a collection of stone tablets. About 140 stone tablets dating from the Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties as well as from the Republican of China are thought to have once stood in the temple, 90 tablets remain today. Surrounding the central courtyard is a succession of small rooms that open to the courtyard and each display an ensemble of plaster statues depicting one of the "departments" of the Taoist supernatural world. The temple also serves as the Beijing Folk Customs Museum.
Open: 8:30am - 4:30pm. Admission: RMB10.
The White Cloud Temple or Baiyun Guan was to some degree a travel first for me. It was my first Daoist Temple. I would visit many in China but this one would be my introduction to Daoism. Architecturally a Daoist temple does not differ radically from a Buddhist or Confucius temple. They usually face south and are broken up into a series of courtyards and large pavilions or halls.
The White Cloud Temple is remarkable for its age. It was originally founded in 739 A.D. It has since been burned down and rebuilt so most of the buildings date from the Ming and Qing dynasties. The temple has a superbly decorative triple entrance archway. When you enter you proceed through a series of halls. Each is dedicated to a Daoist deity. Pilgrims pray in a particular hall that involving their personal concerns. Hence the sick will pray in the Hall of the King of Medicine. There is a Hall of Wealth too with images of the three spirits of wealth. Oddly enough Daoism frowns upon those blinded by greed. The temple complex is full of Daoist monks who come here to learn for this is the headquarters of the Chinese Daoist Association.
The White Cloud Temple is open daily from 8:30am to 4:30pm. Entry costs Y10.
It is the first intact temple in Dao religion that located beside modern street . It was first built in Yuan dynasty. Since it was built, the burning incense haven't intermit and became to the most place what hold society activities in Beijing. It own three manys, many joss, many stele and many plaque.
Dongyue Temple is a Taoist temple devoted to the afterworld, the generals, gods and various bureaucrats and departments of the life beyond. A very interesting place, and one that gives you something to think about... And you invariably compare and draw lines with today's China, with her emphasis on dicipline, reward and punishment.
It's origins are far back with the Yuan dynasty, but it seems its heydays were around 1600-1800.
Not at all touristy, even if it is located just between the Forbidden City and Workers' Stadium in the city centre.
The architecture is wonderful and the place is well maintained, and still, today, used as a place of worship. Guidebooks give the place a cursory mention, but it's definitely worth visiting, even if not by far as grand as the other main religious and imperial sites in and around Beijing.
Entrance fee 10Y
This is an incense-burner in Bai Yun Guan.
Like in Catholic churches incense is very important in Asian Temples, whether they are Buddhist or Daoist. Incense is supposed to clean the person and the smoke is taking his prayers to heaven, where the gods live.
This archway was built in 1322 and was restored in 1447. The Taoist Gods known as General Heng and General Ha and the 10 imperial guards are enshrined at each side.