Difference between revisions of "Aiding Creation Temple (Meizhou, Guangdong)"
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Latest revision as of 11:16, 27 July 2009
Lying at Dongxiang Baizigang in the eastern outskirts of Meizhou, Aiding Creation Temple ( 贊化宮 Zanhua Gong ) is the largest of Meizhou's temples and the site of Meizhou Daoist Association. It was previously called the Temple of Emperor Lu. In the 13th year (1887) of the Guangxu era of the Qing dynasty, Li Peng and Jin Guixin, the mayors of the Jiaying county and city, prepared to build the Temple of Emperor Lu at Xiaguanjingtou in Jinshanding and completed it in the second year. In the 23rd year (1897) of the Guangxu era, the mayor of Changle County wrote an essay to record the process and inscribed it in a tablet. The temple is named after a sentence from the Doctrine of the Mean ( 《中庸》 Zhongyong ) , saying, "Aiding the Creation of Heaven and Earth."
The temple is divided into a central hall and a rear hall. The central hall is the Precious Hall of Emperor Lu and the rear hall has three floors. The top floor is the Hall of the Three Pristine Ones and the second floor is the Hall of the Jade Emperor with the Precious Hall of the Three Teachings (for the worship of Sakyamuni, Laozi and Confucius) and the Hall of the Eight Immortals to its right, and the Tower of the Immortal Aunt and the Tower of Guanyin to its left. The first floor has the Hall of the Perfect Warrior in the middle, the Hall of the Emperor to the right and the Hall of the God of Wealth to the left. The right and left courts house the medicine house, the scriptures tower, the recitation hall, etc. In the form of concentric squares, the structure looks very magnificent.
Today's Aiding Creation Temple originates from the Temple of Emperor Lu of the Qing dynasty and the Aiding Creation Society of the Anti-Japanese War Period. The Temple of Emperor Lu offered medical lots for its followers. According to Liang Bocong's (1871-1946) 200 Poems about the Customs of Meixian, "The common prescriptions deal with different diseases. Answering every prayer, immortal Lu in the North of the City is better than physicians for he asks for no fee." Medical lots had five sections: surgery, ophthalmology, gynecology, pediatrics, etc. The temple had a Pharmacy house and produced medicine to give to the people for free. The medical lots and pharmacy came from a centuries-long accumulation of the experience of famous doctors. In 1940, Daoist followers Zhang Gongjian and Chen Daosheng incorporated the temple with the Merit Hall of Universal Benefits and founded the Aiding Creation Society. Situated in the Temple of Emperor Lu, it established a primary school for poor children and held charitable activities as giving congee, medicine, coffins, etc. to the poor. Local and overseas personages supported its budget. During the anti-Japanese war, the temple gave rice and congee during times of famine and distributed cotton-padded clothes in winter. In 1950 the temple was changed into the Jinshan Primary School. In 1958, the charity society moved to the Merit Hall of Bliss and Benefits by the Meijiang River, and continued its medical philanthropy until it was disbanded during the Cultural Revolution.
The Aiding Creation Temple was not big in size before 1980, when devotees of Ancestor Lu came from Thailand to visit their families and asked to rebuild the Temple of Emperor Lu. Being granted the right to choose a site to rebuild the Aiding Creation Temple in 1983, they founded the Temple of Emperor Lu Rebuilding Preparation Committee and chose Baizigang in the eastern outskirts as the site of the new Temple of Emperor Lu. In 1985, when the Hall of Ancestor Lu was complete, they built up a Motherland and Ancestral Temple Pilgrimage Group of over 100 people to attend the opening ceremony. The temple formally resumed its activities on the mid-autumn festival the same year. In 1988, the temple was named the Daoist Aiding Creation Temple of Majiang District in Meizhou City.
Although rebuilt at a new site, the Aiding Creation Temple preserved some cultural relics, such as the stone tablet of the "Temple of Emperor Lu" of the Guangxu Era in the wall of the Recitation Hall, and the tablet of the Temple of the Imperial Sovereign and Trustworthy Protector.