"Fate at the Puguang Chan Temple - Part 1" Zhangjiajie Off The Beaten Path Tip by mke1963
Zhangjiajie Off The Beaten Path: 7 reviews and 16 photos
I am a bit jaded by temples. I have either visited, inspected or assessed more than one hundred of them in the last six months, and like karst scenery there is such a thing as “too much temple”. But no matter how many temples you have visited, you are in for a real treat at the Puguang Chan Temple at the heart of Zhangjiajie City (in Jiefang Lu, opposite the plaza). Not just because this is a real temple with real monks and nuns, nor because they will waive the entrance fee if they think you are a nice person (which seems to be most visitors), but because I felt a warmer, more touching, respectful and welcoming atmosphere here than any other temple I have ever visited. Anywhere.
Now the reason for this is, bizarrely, because of a little scam they are running in the main, rearmost, temple hall, where a statue of Guanyin stands serenely in the gloom.
Around this room are tables where monks and other lay worshippers sit doing not much but laugh, chat and chill out. They warmly welcome you and insist that you light some tapers as a sign of respect. You are then urged to take a stick from a pot on which is a number carved. They then refer to a big book and read out the important things for you now and in the future, and promise to pray for you. The catch is that there is a fee, which is high. RMB 1000 for my “particularly good fortune”. But in a weird, very weird way, I just felt good. At one point the monk leaned over and confided “You don’t have to pay anything; we will be praying for you anyway” and gave me a big wink. I paid half for my prayers, deciding that half of the good things would be worth it. I had to write down my desires and when it was translated, ever so carefully into Chinese, the monk read it through in Chinese to murmurs of approval from the other monks. I had asked for world peace, tolerance of everyone, an end to hunger and a cure for cancer. He stopped, thought for ever such a long time and then, totally seriously, asked “Are these in order of priority?”
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