Immortal Temple of Cloudy Springs on Mt. Xiqiao (Nanhai, Guangdong)

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"The two Mt. Qiao are reckoned as the most famous mountains in the region of southern Yue." The eastern Mt. Qiao refers to Mt. Luofu, in Luo County, Guangdong Province, and the western Mt. Qiao refers to Mt. Xiqiao in Nanhai City, Guangdong Province. There is a Daoist temple on the mountain, namely the Immortal Temple of Cloudy Springs ( 雲泉仙觀 Yunquan Xianguan ), which was originally founded in the 28th Daoguan year of the Qing dynasty (1848). Its predecessor was an academy. In the 42nd Ganlong year of the Qing dynasty (1777), a native of Nanhai, Li Gongyu, built Gongyu Tower for a group of intellectuals to study there and prepare for the imperial examinations. Later, another Nanhai native, Ceng Huaijin, built Sanhu Academy in the 54th Ganlong year (1789). With more and more students coming to study here, the house was enlarged and renamed Yulou Academy. However, the bachelors just studied there temporarily, and whenever examinations at the provincial level began, each just went his own way. Nobody looked after the courtyard; it could not avoid being desolated. Then everybody agreed to reconstruct it into the "Immortal Temple of Cloudy Springs", where Patriarch Lü was to be worshipped and Daoists would be the Abbots ( 住持 Zhuchi ).


The first abbot of the temple was Li Zongjian, a native of Nanhai. He was originally a Daoist at the Temple of Correspondence with the Origin ( 應元宮 Yingyuan Gong ) in Guangzhou City and then lived in seclusion at the Immortal Temple of Cloudy Springs. He was well versed in calligraphy, painting, and poetry and enjoyed great fame at that time. No matter who asked for his calligraphies and paintings, whether refined or popular, he satisfied their demands and invested all the payments he got in the construction of the temple. He meticulously compiled a copybook titled Model Calligraphy of the Three Doctrines ( 三教 Sanjiao ). It is a copybook of Ou-styled regular script, carved in stone plate, and printed by skillful hired workers. Following the regulations and commandments of The Temple of Emptiness ( 沖虛觀 Chongxu Guan ) on Mt. Luofu and The Triple Origin Temple ( 三元宮 Sanyuan Gong ) in Guangzhou, which belong to The Dragon Gate Sect ( 龍門派 Longmen Pai ) of The Complete Perfection Tradition ( 全真 Quanzhen ), Li Zongjian made the regulations for the Immortal Temple of Cloudy Springs. He was a noble-minded person and was given to doing charitable work. He tried his best to aid the poor, visited the diseased Daoist believers in person, and gave them medicine free of charge, which always proved to be extraordinarily efficacious. After Abbot Li ascended to immortality, Liang Woyun, Director of Receptions at the Temple of Emptiness on Mt. Luofu, was elected Abbot through a public discussion, and the title was changed to Temple Director. From then on all the later Abbots were called Directors. The current director, Feng Tengfei, is a native of Nanhai, Guangdong and an inheritor of the Mt. Hua Sect of the Complete Perfection tradition. Director Feng puts forward that "moral cultivation, scripture recitation and confession, and martial arts are the required courses for the Cloudy Springs Daoists." He invites Reverend Daoist ( 道長 Daozhang ) Li Fajun, who is expert in Dragon Gate shadow boxing, to take charge of Daoist martial arts training at the temple. Moreover, he spreads the teaching of martial arts in society and leads the masses to do exercises, which is very well received by the local people.


The Immortal Temple of Cloudy Springs is a group of grand buildings. Its main buildings include the Hall of Patriarch Lü, the Diqin Hall, the Mozhuang Manor, the Ancestral Hall, the Handan Villa, and the Daiyun Temple. The upturned eaves, pottery sculptures, carved beams and painted rafters all show exquisite workmanship.


The Immortal Temple of Cloudy Springs enjoys a great reputation in the locality. Every year on the fourteenth day of the fourth lunar month, the birthday of Patriarch Lü, tens of thousands of people come to Mt. Xiqiao from the countryside for the festival. From early dawn to late dusk, the endless stream of people and the mass of bobbing heads all over the mountain constitute a marvelous spectacle of the southern Yue area.


The Immortal Temple of Cloudy Springs situated at #L, second floor, No. 107-109, western Defudao Street, Hong Kong, was once a subsidiary temple of the Immortal Temple of Cloudy Springs on Mt. Xiqiao.