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Longxing Temple, Longgang

This article was originally published on October 17, 2011, in the Shenzhen Daily.
The information was accurate at that time, and may be outdated now. Use with caution.

The main hall at Longxing Temple, Longgang
Every time I turn around it seems Shenzhen has another new Buddhist temple.

This time, it's Longxing Si, located in Longyuan Park near Shuanglong, the last station on the Longgang Line (Line 3).

Notice all the "Longs" in that sentence? "Long" (龙) is Chinese for "dragon," and if we translate the above, it might read: "Flourishing Dragon Temple in Dragon Garden Park near Twin Dragons at the end of the Dragon Port Line." You get the picture.

Anyway, Longyuan Park doesn't disappoint. It has dragon statues, a Five-Dragon Pavilion, a nine-dragon screen wall, and even a stage located in a giant dragon's mouth.

The ornate tiled gateway to Longxing Temple
Continuing to the west end of the park, you'll pass the Arhat Pagoda, go through a beautiful tiled gate, past a pond, and finally reach Longxing Temple.

Until just this past summer, the building was called "Guanyin Pavilion."  Guanyin is the Bodhisattva of Compassion, and it should be noticed that she has long been associated with dragons: her female attendant is called "Dragon Girl," she is sometimes depicted riding on a dragon's head (there's a story to go with that), and so on.

So why the name change? Well, the place has come under the management of Shenzhen's Buddhist Association and Hongfa Temple, according to my sources.

Previously it was more of a Daoist/folk temple, and much of that spirit remains. There is a small pavilion with the guardian Weituo out front, flanked by small drum and bell pavilions; and the afore-mentioned pagoda has a Laughing Buddha inside; otherwise, there is just the one building.

A colossal Guan Yin on the main altar
On its main altar is a huge Guanyin with her attendants, and a Thousand-Armed Guanyin is behind her. A Dizang Bodhisattva is on one side, and a Medicine Buddha on the other; both of these look like late additions. On the second floor are ten more Guanyins, and the top floor has a Shakyamuni Buddha in a claustrophobic "Ten Thousand Buddha Hall."

Guanyin herself is commonly seen in folk temples. In short, what little there is that is specifically "Buddhist" seems added on.

Guan Yu and companions in the Dragon King Hall
The real treasure lies in an easy-to-miss "Dragon King Hall" below the temple's main plaza. Here are larger-than-life figures of Cai Shen (God of Wealth), Tian Hou (Goddess of the Sea), Guan Yu (sometimes called "God of War"), the titular Dragon King, and others. These are staples of Daoist/folk tradition, and are clearly of superior make to the "Buddhist" figures upstairs.

Don't miss them if you visit this interesting small temple.

GPS Info:
  • 22.73459,114.26272


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