The Donglin Temple is not just a significant landmark because of its jaw-dropping beauty but also because of the rich tradition that it represents. It is an important structure for the Chinese religion, Buddhism, because of the immense respect that even ancient Chinese people give to this place.
The Donglin Temple is literally translated to East Wood Temple. The person who is credited for building the Donglin Temple is named Hui-yuan. He is known as the founder of Pure Land Sect of Buddhism.
During the Tang Dynasty, the prestige of the Donglin Temple was at its peak. This was due to the prowess that it exudes because of its refined architecture. Plus, the emperors during this time also regarded this place as a very important one.
Unfortunately, when the Taiping Rebellion happened, the Donglin Temple was also badly damaged. The outer structures have been demolished and some of the interior got smash up. When the Republican period came in, the destruction of the Donglin Temple got even worse. Majority of its parts have already collapsed.
Things to Do
These days, the Donglin Temple still holds great relevance for the Chinese religion. The beauty of this place is still immeasurable and traces of the olden architecture can still be seen, both inside and outside.
The permanent residents in the Donglin Temple today are the monks. They have established a small community here. It is not only their home but also their place of worship.
The locals who reside near Donglin Temple are also tightly meshed with the lives of the monks in the Donglin Temple. Aside from the traditional sharing of food, they are visibly united when it comes to their faith.
For tourists who go to Donglin Temple, their usual stop is the outskirts of the temple first. It is where they get to mingle with the locals. There are a few quaint commercial establishments in this place which serve local food and other products.
Most of the people who reside close to the Donglin Temple are dedicated to farming. Hence, their days are often spent on their lands and their work starts even before the first ray of sun appears in the sky. By mid-day, the streets are already bursting with so much energy because most of the people have already finished their obligations in the farm.
Tourists would have a great time just looking around the village and discovering unique finds in one of the stores. However, there are some guests who aim to dig deep into the everyday practices of the people so they join in their day to day activities and work.
Tour Around the Temple
The highlight of the visit is always the tour in Donglin Temple. Merely standing at the entrance of this temple can already be quite overpowering because the appeal is really impressive. The entrance has several steps which seem to invite people to come in. Of course, the façade of the remaining halls are beautifully adorned with ancient Chinese designs.
There are tour companies which arrange for visits in the Donglin Temple. Signing up for one of these is actually a good idea since it will enable people to go to the parts of Donglin Temple which are absolutely significant, historically and culturally.
There are also some inscriptions which have been preserved within Donglin Temple. There are almost 4,000 verses and 900 inscriptions, writings and other calligraphic work which can be seen here.