Up early and on our way to the Qixia Shan, the sacred Buddhist Mountain,the Qixia Si Temple and the Thousand Buddha Cliffs. About 9 miles northeast of Nanjing is one of the largest Buddhist seminaries in China, home to 200 Buddhist monks. As one of China's first monasteries, the Chinese Buddhist Association holds its collection of 7200 volumes of scripture in the temple's library.
The 1500 year old temple is surrounded by a dense blanket of maple trees and springs that trickle down the slopes. The name Qixia Si literally translates as "the temple where the dawn perches".
As you walk onto the grounds you are met by semicircular pond and a large statue of Kuan Yin the symbol of fertility and compassion. Beyond the pond lies two towers, the gong tower and the drum tower, both still in operation. Just past the towers is the main temple where prayers are offered daily by visitors and monks alike.
Behind the temple is the 1000 Buddha Cliffs were 700 carvings of the Buddha are tucked into niches of the mountain side. The first carvings date back to the Qi Dynasty while most were done during the Song and Tang Dynasties. Many of the carvings were defaced during the Taiping Rebellion and the Cultural Revolution but this very special place is still beautiful and very spiritual.
Along the path up the mountain I was completely taken by surprise to find a sign with Lu Yu Teahouse this way, or at least that was the English equivalent. So off we went to find the teahouse. Once there the doors were locked and it looked deserted. Eventually we found someone to let us in, a man who was living there to care for the property, and I got a picture with a statue of the founder of tea.
The temple was a wonderful place to visit but finding the Lu Yu Teahouse, even if not in operation, was the highlight of the day for me! Until next time, Beth