Dongyue Temple: The Afterlife Revealed
    2010-10-11 16:35:48     CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Duan Xuelian
Dongyue Temple, with its emphasis on the Taoist underworld, shakes up the normally reverent temple ambience with a dash of the morbid, yet fascinating, Taoist view of the afterlife.

Courtyard Entrance of Dongyue Temple

Temple entrance

 

By Lisa Yi

China is home to thousands of beautiful temples, but to be perfectly honest, most tourists will find that after the fifth or sixth temple they visit, the sites begin to blend together into a blur of statues, spirits and relics. However, Dongyue Temple, with its emphasis on the Taoist underworld, shakes up the normally reverent temple ambience with a dash of the morbid, yet fascinating, Taoist view of the afterlife.

The temple was originally conceived by Zhang Liusun, a descendent of the founder of a prominent sect of Taoism called Tianshi Dao (Way of the Celestial Masters). Zhang Liusun died shortly after acquiring the land to build the temple, so its construction was overseen by his disciple, Wu Quanjie. The temple was completed in 1322, and has been rebuilt and refurbished several times over the centuries after bouts of negligence, war and looting. In 1996 it was declared a national treasure by the Chinese government, and it now also serves as the Beijing Folk Customs Museum.

Only one step separates the temple from the busy Chaoyangmenwai road, but it is almost as if you have entered the eye of the storm that is modern Beijing. The courtyard walls somehow block out the noise of the steel and concrete jungle outside, and the murmuring of tour guides and the sounds of a classical flute replace the car horns and construction outside the temple walls.

The first few statues you encounter as you enter the inner courtyard are your run-of-the-mill warrior gods, but if you start circling the courtyard to the left, you are slowly led deeper and deeper into Taoist Hades. There are a few dozen rooms in this courtyard and each depicts a different department of the underworld. The first few departments resemble ancient Chinese bureaucracy. Official scribes record every good deed and wrongdoing of the living, all of which will be presented to a judge at the time of death. Several rooms are dedicated to recording and judging, and it is not until you reach the other end of the courtyard that you witness Taoist justice carried out. Violent offenders are usually punished by suffering the same crime which they committed in life, i.e. decapitation, torture, drowning. A cohort of spirits and demons carry out the sentences with gusto and nary a glint of mercy in their eyes.

1  2  
Share

                  


CRIENGLISH.com claims the copyright of all material and information produced originally by our staff.

CRIENGLISH.com holds neither liability nor responsibility for materials attributed to any other source. Such information is provided as reportage and dissemination of information but does not necessarily reflect the opinion of or endorsement by CRI.

 
Latest
• Luoyang's Young Screenwriter Nominated at Cannes Film Festival
Xia Hao, a young scriptwriter in Luoyang was recently nominated for Film Market Award at the 68th Cannes Film Festival.
• Yoga Enthusiasts Dance in Water
Yoga practicers demonstrate movements on a water-covered platform at a lake in Changsha city, capital of Central China's Hunan province, May 20, 2015.
• Scenery of Guilin Lijiang River Cloaked in Fog
Lijiang River in Guilin is a famous tourist destination in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
• Eating on the Streets of China: Stomach Lining of a Cow
Bao du means "fried tripe," even though it's not fried at all.
• Photo Exhibition on World's National Flowers in Luoyang
The 33rd Peony Culture Festival recently concluded, where the local flowers were enjoyed by many.
• Relishing Peonies at the National Flower Park of China
The newly planted alpine peonies at the National Flower Park of China went into full blossom on April 29th.

Travel Videos
• Time Out Beijing Food Awards 2014: Leaning Towards Luxury
Beijingers take their food seriously, but on April 29th at the Time Out Beijing Food Awards...
• Chopsticks & Beyond, Back at the Farm
Chopsticks & Beyond takes a trip to Tootoo Organic Farm.
• Chopsticks & Beyond Mixed with Chinese and Italian
C&B invited Italian chef Mattia Salussoglia  and local chef Wei Han to teach each other how to cook a dish from their home country.
• The I Ching: Using Ancient History to Understand Today
The I Ching may be 5000 years old, now many people still use it to help understand their lives.

Editor's Pick
• 15 Artworks Stolen from Chinese Museum in France
15 pieces of art have been stolen from a Chinese museum south of Paris, including a cloisonn vase from Emperor Qianlong's reign during China's Qing Dynasty. There was also a replica crown of the King of Siam given to France's emperor in the mid-19th century.
• Former TV Anchor on Crusade against Pollution
A former celebrity TV presenter has released a self-funded documentary about smog, inspired by her sick daughter.
• Chopsticks & Beyond: On Track in Tianjin
Chopsticks & Beyond took to Tianjin last Friday, where the cooking show invited a number of food industry professionals to take part in the Tianjin Snack Attack contest.
• Hilton Beijing "Fly Me to Hawaii" Food Festival Launch Party
Hilton Beijing and the Hilton Worldwide portfolio of hotels & resorts in Hawaii, together with Hawaiian Airlines have unveiled plans for a "Fly Me To Hawaii".
• A Heightened Perspective of Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a shopping paradise, not hyped for its tourist destinations.

News
China
World
Politics
Business
Sports
Showbiz
Sci-tech
Photo
Recommended
China
World
Sports
Showbiz
Travel
Video
C4
The Sound Stage
Showbiz
Travel
China Revealed
My Chinese Life
Travel
Destinations
Photo Gallery
Recommended
Learn Chinese
"In" Chinese
Chatting in Chinese
Pop Culture
Traditional Culture
Living Chinese
Chinese Studio
Chinese Class
Learn English
Special English
Pop Chart
Everyday English
Fabulous Snaps
CRI News
APEC Yiwu Conference  |  China-Eurasia Expo  |  eBeijing  |  China Job  |  China Tibet Online  |  China Daily  |  Global Times  |  Xinhua  |  China.org.cn  |  CNTV.cn  |  Beijing Today  |  Taiwan.cn