Zhang Liang Temple (Liuba County, Shaanxi)

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Situated southeast of Zibo Mounatin, Liuba County, Shaanxi, Zhang Liang Temple ( 張良廟Zhang Laing Miao ) is also called the Shrine of Liuhou ( 留侯祠Liuhou Ci ). Legendarily, Zhang Liang of the Western Han retired here in his late years. Reputedly founded by Zhanglu, the Lineal Master ( 系師Xishi ) in the end of the Han, the temple was ruined in wars during the end of Ming and rebuilt in the 22nd year (1683) of the Kangxi Era of the Qing. In the 19th year (1839) of the Daoguang Era, Abbot Ren Yongzhen, transmitting commandments and spreading Daoism, expanded the construction of the temple and opened it to outsiders as a temple of the Ten Directions ( 十方叢林Shifang Conglin ) of The Complete Perfection Tradition ( 全真派Quanzhen Pai ). Having over 150 rooms in 6 big courtyards on 14200 m2 of land, Zhang Liang Temple was then the biggest Taoist temple in the Hanzhong area.

A construction of black bricks, the mountain gate has on its lintel five big red characters: “Shrine of Han Marquis of Liu”. Inscribed on the sides is a couplet saying, “A shout in Bolang quaked the heaven and earth. Thrice shoe picking at Siqiao led to clouds and glows.” The first sentence praises his courage in assassinatingthe First Emperor of Qin at Bolang and the second his modesty in learning from Huangshi Gong at Siqiao. Erected to the right side of the gate is a stone tablet inscribed “The place where Zhang Liang, the Han Marquis of Liu, abstained from Grains ( 辟穀Pigu )”. Passing the gate, one will see a wooden bridge named Shoe-presenting Bridge, commemorating Zhangliang’s picking and presenting a shoe thrice for elder Huangshi Gong. Passing the bridge, one comes to the Courtyard for Protecting Security. The main hall in the courtyard is for the worship of Zhang Liang. In front of the main hall lies the hall for worshiping. Besides, there are the Hall of the Numinous Officer, the Hall of the Three Pristine Ones, the Hall of the Three Officials, and the Bell and Drum Towers. To the west of the main hall lie the Abbot’s Courtyard and the Southern Park with its pool, the Pavilion for Memorizing Zhang’s Abstention from Grains, and the Five Clouds Tower. To the east lie the Northern Park where there is the Pavilion commemorating Zhang’s learning as a pupil of Huangshi Gong. Going out from the southwest of the Northern Park, one can climb along stone steps to the top of the mountain. There stands on the top a pavilion named Book Transmitting Tower in memory of Huangshi Gong’s transmitting to Zhang a secret book. Built with marbles and Nanyang Jade, the pavilion 100 meters above the ground looks extraordinarily elegant.

There are many sentences with rich poetic flavor in the many couplets in Zhang Liang Temple. All schools of Chinese calligraphy are displayed in the near 100 stone tablets and cliff inscriptions in the temple.