by Daniel Otero
Hanfu Lu (Street), like most of Nanjing (Jiangsu Province) holds mysteries and hidden treasures which not even the locals know about. One has to look carefully. Then there it is! The Pilu Temple, it’s one of the largest grounds in the whole of China for practicing Buddhist.
One to contemplate on life’s existence through worship of the Buddha and did you know, the Temple was built during the Ming Dynasty. It roughly took forty-four years to build and complete (1522 – 1566).
For 20 RMB the grounds hold an opportunity to walk in, and with three incense given once a ticket is purchased to light-up and bow towards all four corners of the Temple several times. After, there’s a place to put the incense upright upon the blessings. There’re other forms of blessings, like buying a red-ribbon and tying it to the veranda or tree.
This temple holds promise and hope. Most of it either has red or gold colors through its premises. The first structure is for prayer, while to the right there’s a huge golden bell indicating a call for silence and respect, as the rings indicate to focus and leave behind [for a moment] all worldly desires.
How one enters the temple and how to conduct oneself? It’s as simple as stepping over, with feet not touching the small barrier through its doors and walking over a small bridge always on the right or left, but never through the center. A person can take photos outside; however, one never takes photographs of the Buddha inside the respective buildings.
Then, another delightful surprise, there’s a pagoda to climb up for a view of the Temple and area. Enjoy. Blessings on your journey and I hope you can find your nirvana!
If You Go:
How to get to the temple? Daxinggong Station on metro line 2 (red color) is the best and easiest way to arrive, if not familiar with Nanjing. Also, with enough time, the metro station holds beauty and surprises of its own. There’re two artistic murals: one showing an elegant portrait of Chinese Opera and another of beautiful women—showing them in dress, through a fashion timeline.
How to exit? Take line 3 (green color)—exit 5 in route towards the former Nanjing Presidential Palace. You’ll be in the vicinity of the 1912 neighborhood. Once you locate the Palace, take a right and walk over 700 meters to the Temple entrance on the left.
Well worth the walk and price, while viewing Nanjing’s other historical monuments.
About the author:
Daniel Otero is a New Yorker who has been living in China for almost seven years. His work has been mostly in teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) to young adults at Nanjing University of Finance and Economics. On a part-time basis he loves to travel and write about history and the relative social issues affecting China today.
All photos by Daniel Otero.