Chunyang Temple (Guangzhou, Guangdong)

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Situated on the Suzhu hillock of Wufeng Village, Chunyang Temple ( 純陽觀 Chunyang Guan ) was founded in the sixth year (1826) of the Daoguang era of the Qing dynasty. Rather large in size, it once had over 20 mansions, such as the Mountain Gate, the Hall of the Numinous Officer, the Great Hall, the Tower for Ancestral Master Hua Tuo, the Platform for Worshiping the Dipper, etc., covering about ten thousand square meters. Now only the Mountain Gate, the Hall of The Numinous Officer ( 靈官殿 Lingguan Dian ), the Great Hall, the Tower for Worshiping ( 拜亭 Bai ting ), and the Platform for Worshipping the Dipper ( 朝斗台 Chaodou Tai ) remain. In 1987, the Great Hall, the Hall of the Numinous Officer, and the Tower for Worshiping were rebuilt successively.


Above the gate, hangs the stone stele "Chunyang Temple" in seal characters, and on both sides the couplet "Ancient is the pathway in pine trees leading to the numinous mountain; High is the gate of rocks at the shore of Tao ". Across the gate, steps under corridor meanders lead to the Tower for Worshiping and the Hall of Chunyang on the hilltop. In the hall are the ancestral masters Lu Chunyang in the middle and Wang Chongyang and Qiu Changchun in both sides. Lying behind the Hall of Chunyang, the Platform for Worshipping the Dipper is a construction of granite with a stele of "Yi Yun Tan" by Ruan Yuan. As the site where Li Mingche observed the stars and the oldest observatory in the Guangdong area, it is ratified as a municipally protected cultural relic. It has a stone chamber and a kitchen in the lower floor and dozens of stone steps leading to the top. Behind the platform are the tombs of Du Yangdong and Li Mingche, the ancestral Daoists of the Palace of the Triple Origins and Chunyang Temple.


Li Mingche, the ancestral Daoist of Chunyang Temple, was titled Feiyun and nicknamed Qinglai. He became a Daoist at the age of 12 and once cultivated in the Temple of Emptiness in Mt. Luofu. Later, he learned astronomy from the royal astronomer and wrote the Round-Heaven Chart and Illustration. Ruan Yuan, the Governor of Guangdong, invited him to draw maps for the compilation of the Universal Records of Guangdong. In the fourth year of the Daoguang Era, under the help of Ruan, Li Mingche founded Chunyang Temple on the Suzhu hillock and spent the rest of his years here.


Chunyang Temple, with its learned abbot Li and its quiet environment, once attracted the literati and formed many precious cultural relics. The "Stele and Record of the Construction of Chunyang Temple" erected by Li Mingche in the ninth year of the Daoguang Era recorded in detail the reasons, process, and size of the temple's construction. Though the stele does not exist now, it gives people first hand material about the temple, for its book of rubbings is kept by the Cultural Relic Preservation Committee of Guangzhou. Ju Chao and Julian, famous artists in the late Qing dynasty, once lived in the temple. Gao Jianfu and Chen Shuren, great masters of the southern school of art in Republican China, often gathered here to write poems and draw pictures. On the Tanjing Rock in front of the Hall of Chunyang, there are some stone inscriptions, such as "companion of the upright and high-principled" from the tenth year of the Daoguang Era, and "Plum Society" from the Republican period.