White Cloud Temple(Lanzhou, Gansu)
Also known as Patriarch Lu Temple ( 呂祖廟 Lvzu Miao ) in the Golden City, it is a famous Complete Perfection ( 全真教 Quanzhen Jiao ) temple in Gansu and the headquarter of the Daoist Associations of Gansu and Lanzhou.
The temple consists of upper and lower sectors. The upper temple used to stand on the top of Mt. Jishou in Cijiaya. Today, however, nothing can be seen there. The lower sector is the White Cloud Temple we can see today.
The temple stands south of Nabinghe Rd, on the eastern bank of the Leitan River, which runs into the Yellow River at Chengguan district of Lanzhou. Consequently, it stands opposite to the Golden City Pass on the northern bank of the Yellow River, and overlooks the 'white horse waves' in the river.
The temple was constructed to worship Lu Dongbing, the most well known figure among The Eight Immortals. According to Chen You's Record of White Cloud Temple Tablet ( 《白雲觀碑記》 Baiyunguan Beiji ), Patriarch Lu was seen traveling by the waves of the Yellow River during emperor Jiaqing's rule in the Qing dynasty. Since there was no temple exclusively dedicated to the worship of Patriarch Lu in Lanzhou, the local intellectuals appealed to Husonge, governor of Shaanxi and Gansu, that a temple should be constructed. The plan was ratified in short time. Then, led by Dang Zhongzhen, local devotees started to raise funds. In the 14th Daoguang year of the Qing dynasty, 'land for the temple was cleared up in the Northwest of the city, just beside the Yellow River'. Construction lasted for 4 years. The temple was completed in the 18th Daoguang year. Since then, it was called the White Cloud Temple, or Patriarch Lu's Temple, after Lu Dongbing. In the next year, the temple was listed among the officially recognized ritual sites as the biggest Daoist temple in Lanzhou in the Qing dynasty.
According to historical records, the original structure of the temple featured two parallel sectors, which consisted of a playhouse, an honorific arch, a main hall, a worship hall and Daoist halls in the eastern and western wings. Behind the worship hall were the Eight Immortals' Pavilion, the Hall of Elegance, the Crane and Deer Pavilion, and the Brilliant Square Pavilion. Further in the rear lay the Pavilion for Immortals' Assemblies, the Bridge of Flying Immortals, and the Chamber for Gathering Immortals.
In its history, the temple underwent many destructions. Up to the 1980's, on the spot stood only about 20 buildings: the three halls, the playhouse, the bell and drum arch, and some chambers and auxiliary rooms in the eastern and western wings. In 1986, the local government decided to reopen the temple to the public. In 1988, the city government funded the renovation of the front hall, namely, Patriarch Lu's Hall. Then, local Daoists and citizens raised some money, having the statues in the hall renovated. Thanks to financial aid from the reverend Daoist Hou Baoyuan of the Ching Chung Taoist Association ( 青松觀 Qingsong Guan ) and the Tan Zaoci foundation, the central hall, namely, the Jade Emperor Hall ( 玉皇殿 Yuhuang Dian ), and the rear hall, namely, the Hall of the Three Pristine Ones ( 三清殿 Sanqing Dian ) were also renovated in the fall of 2000. On the 23rd day of the 9th lunar month in that year, thousands of people participated in the inauguration ceremony. Today, the renovation of the auxiliary halls and facilities on both wings is almost completed. Inside the halls, the statues of the immortals have been reconstructed.
At present, about 20 Daoists of the Complete Perfection sect inhabit the temple.