Travel Report: Jile Temple Harbin, China.
February 2010. Jile Temple in Harbin, also known as Monastery of Bliss, was constructed in 1924 by Master Tanxu, a famous disciple of the Tiantai Buddhist clan. Whilst certainly not massive in size, Jile Temple actually stands as the biggest Buddhist complex in Heilongjiang Province. However, it’s actually a bit under the radar with western sightseers; the steady flow of worshippers that come here being almost exclusively Chinese.
The temple is located on East Dazhi Street in the city’s leafy Nangang district. You can get here on one of the many city buses, including service 3, 6, 14, 33, 37, 53, 55, 66, 74, 92, 104, & 105. Is that enough options for you? 😉 Alternatively, just jump onto Line 1 of the Harbin Subway and get off at The Engineering University. The area directly outside the temple is a bit rough and ready due to the fact that it’s a favourite haunt of beggars and general unfortunates. When I arrived outside the temple, a bunch of them made a beeline straight towards me!
A seven story pagoda dominates Jile Temple’s main courtyard, along with a huge bronze statue of Sakyamuni, This was the legendary sage whose teachings heavily influenced the birth of Buddhism. However, I found myself more interested in this pagoda statuette and the tradition of coin throwing. The man was trying to land a coin in the top platform, a so-called appeasement to the gods of wealth.
Jile Temple Harbin.
The smell of incense burning wafts through the entire complex. Moreover, with daily temperatures of minus fifteen, the urns are a great opportunity to warm one’s hands by the fire before moving onto the next courtyard.
There are several striking halls to pass through that are home to a series of impressive Buddha statues. The most inspiring is The Hall of Mahavira with its two commanding stone lions standing guard at the entrance.
Jile Temple is open all year, but is best seen in April during the Buddhist festivals of the 8th, 18th and 28th. Whatever the date, the entrance fee is just 10RMB.
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