Temple of the Highest Clarity (Dujiangyan, Sichuan)

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The Temple of the Highest Clarity ( 上清宮 Shangqing Gong ) is situated on the eastern slope of the Peak of Pengzu on Mt. Qingcheng, in Dujiangyan City, Sichuan Province. It was originally built in the Jin dynasty and reconstructed in the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang dynasty. The present building was rebuilt in stages between the late Qing dynasty and the first years of the Republic of China. The entrance to the temple is a cave of laid stones. Right on the entrance are three big characters, "Temple of the Highest Clarity" autographed by Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek), and on the two sides are couplets written by Yu Youren, which say, "All the grass and trees are bred by the mysterious Dao in the present time; this famous mountain has been waiting for saints since ancient times."

Behind the mountain entrance to the Temple of the Highest Clarity, stone steps lead to the Hall of the Three Pristine Ones ( 三清殿 Sanqing Dian ). Then a winding corridor leads to the Jade Emperor Hall ( 玉皇殿 Yuhuang Dian ). There are two wells in front of the southern tower on the right of the hall. It is said that they were dug in the period of the Former Shu in the Five Dynasties. One is square; the other is round. They symbolize a male and a female. The sources of the two wells are interlinked, but water in one well is clear while water in the other is turbid. A long corridor on the left of the hall leads to the subsidiary hall, where Confucius and Guan Yu are enshrined and worshiped. This hall is named the "Hall of Civil and Military Officials". Under the throne there is an exquisite relief of nine dragons, and on its two sides are the stone inscriptions of the portraits of The Queen Mother ( 王母 Wangmu ), Lady Ma, the founding master Sanfeng, and Madam Huarui drawn by Zhang Daqian. On the right side below the Hall of Civil and Military Officials is the Pond of Lady Ma, which is said to be the place where Lady Ma washed elixirs. The pond is half-moon-shaped, and several chi deep and wide. Its green water never dries up trough the year. Out of the court exit in front of the hall and up along a stone path is the newly built Hall of Imperial Sovereign Donghua ( 東華帝君 Donghua Dijun ) . Further up toward the summit is the newly built Pavilion of the Venerable Sovereign ( 老君閣 Laojun Ge ). In the pavilion there is a huge stone statue of the Venerable Sovereign riding on a black ox, which was molded recently. The Pavilion of the Venerable Sovereign crouches majestically on the top of the highest peak of Mt. Qingcheng. It has several floors, namely the Platform for Transmitting Dao ( 授道台 Shoudao Tai ), the Hall of Realized Perfection ( 悟真堂 Wuzhen Tang ), the Tower for Contemplating Sublimity ( 觀妙樓 Guanmiao Lou ), and the Mysterious Origin ( 玄元頂 Xuanyuan Ding ) Peak in turn. The whole building looks lofty and magnificent, grand and imposing. When one stands in the pavilion, both the front and back hills of Mt. Qingcheng, flatlands, and river courses all come clearly into view.