Black Sheep Temple (Qingyanggon), Chengdu

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History

The Black Sheep Temple ( 青羊宮 Qingyang Gong ) belongs to The Dragon Gate Sect ( 龍門派 Longmen Pai ) of The Complete Perfection Tradition ( 全真道 Quanzhen Dao ) and is the oldest Daoist temple in the region of Ba and Shu (Sichuan). Located in the southwest of Chengdu, it faces Baihuatan and Wuhouci parks in the south, approaches Du Fu's Thatched Cottage in the west, and is adjacent to the Cultural Park in the east (which was formerly one of the famous Temples of the Ten Directions ( 十方叢林 Shifang Conglin ) and named "The Temple of the Two Immortals ( 二仙奄 erxian an )").


First built in the Zhou dynasty, the Black Sheep Temple was named the Black Sheep Monastery (Si) at first, renamed the Black Sheep Observatory (Guan) during the period of the Three Warring States, and then again renamed as Xuanzhong Temple in the Tang dynasty. In the Song dynasty, it began to be called the Black Sheep Palace (Gong), which remains its name till today. The Imperial Biography of the King of Shu ( 蜀王本紀 Shuwang Benji ) written by Yang Xiong of the Han dynasty records that Laozi wrote The Book of Dao and Its Virtue ( 道德經 Daode Jin ) for Yin Xi, the official in charge of the Pass, and when parting, he said, "Practice Dao for a thousand days, and then you may find me at the Black Sheep Monastery in Chengdu." Yin Xi kept the promise and went there. Displaying his image, The Venerable Sovereign ( 老君 Laojun ) sat on the purple golden lotus throne and disseminated Daoist skills for him. From then on, the Black Sheep Temple has become a sacred site where Immortals converge and the Venerable Sovereign transmits Dao.


Buildings

As for the layout of the Black Sheep Temple, distributed along its medium line are the major halls worshiping deities, such as the Numinous Patriarch Hall, the Original Chaos Hall, the Happiness Hall, the Eight Trigrams ( 八卦 Bagua ) Pavilion, the Hall of the Three Pristine Ones ( 三清殿 Sanqing Dian ), the Dipper Hall, the Birth Giving Platform, the Skills Preaching Platform, the Hall of The Jade Emperor ( 玉皇 Yuhuang ), and the Hall of the King of Tang, etc. Worshiped in the main hall, the Hall of the Three Pristine Ones, are the statues of the Three Pristine Ones and of the Twelve Golden Immortals. In the hall, there are also two divine goats, one with a single horn and the other with double horns, which are said to be able to cure pains. In the Eight Trigram Pavilion dedicated to the worship of the Supreme Venerable Sovereign, there are the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate ( 太極圖 Taiji Tu ) and relief sculptures of the twelve symbolic animals. Drawn up and down the pavilion are the Eight Trigrams of Anterior Heaven ( 先天 Xiantian ) and of Posterior Heaven ( 後天 Houtian ), as well as the sixty-four hexagrams respectively. The eight pillars with winding dragons at the tips of the eight corners of the outer eaves are eight hollowed gold dragons in relief, giving a sense of great momentum. There are altogether eighty-one dragons in the whole pavilion, which symbolizes Laozi's eighty-one transformations.


The Temple of the Two Immortals

The Temple of the Two Immortals was situated on the right side of the Black Sheep Temple and is now the Cultural Park of Chengdu. Its construction started in the 34th year of the reign of emperor Kangxi of the Qing dynasty, and it was so called because it was dedicated to the worship of Lü Dongbin and Han Xiangzi of The Eight Immortals ( 八仙 Baxian ). It was a relatively large-scale temple and was once a center for printing Daoist scriptures. The more than 14,000 cut blocks of The Selections from the Daoist Canon ( 道藏輯要 Daozang Jiyao ) carved on both sides in pear wood by the Temple of the Two Immortals during the reign of emperor Guangxu of the Qing dynasty, are unique blocks of Daoist scriptures in the world today. Arranged in the order of the Twenty-Eight Constellations, they bring together the essence of the culture of Daoist philosophy. They include books written by philosophers of Daoism and other schools since the Zhou and Qin dynasties, covering Daoist history, Breathing Arts ( 氣功 Qigong ) and alchemical skills, astronomy and geography, medicine, and the Science of Changes ( 易學 Yixue ) since the Six Dynasties. The Selections from the Daoist Canon can never be replaced by the ''Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era ( 正統道藏 Zhengtong Daozang ).


Services

The Black Sheep Temple runs a printing press that specially prints the Selections from the Daoist Canon and Daoist scriptures and books of rituals. It also has a guesthouse, a vegetarian restaurant for Nourishing Life, a tea garden, and a travel-service section which sells scriptures and informative articles.

Contact

Address: Black Sheep Temple, Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, China

Telephone: 8628-7766584

Directors: Temple Inspector Chen Mingchang and Abbot Zhang Yuanhe

Postal address: Black Sheep Temple, No. 9 Second Western Section, First Ring Road, Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, China