Wenshu Monastery (Manjushri Monastery)

Wenshu Temple is the most recognized temple in Chengdu. It is a Buddhist temple, originally from the Tang Dynasty, dedicated to Wenshu Pusa (Manjusri Bodhisatva), the Buddhist representation of wisdom. I almost skipped the temple, despite an entrance fee of only five RMB, because after spending so much time in Korea last year, I feel I’ve seen enough temples to last a lifetime, but I visited anyway because I'd heard that the temple has an impressive teahouse and vegetarian restaurant. I was unable to find either, but I got a taste of Chengdu’s laidback reputation: beautiful gardens, old folks doing tai chi, small talk and resting, the Chinese way.

While inside, I read the legend of the Crying Ape. I thought it was a pretty great story.

More than 2,000 years ago, the king of Chu took a tour of his kingdom: to hunt, to train his troops, to inspect his land, and simply for the joy of traveling. He traveled with a general named Yang Youchi, an archer renowned for his accuracy. While hunting, the king and his troops encountered an ape that was too quick to be shot with the arrows of regular soldiers. The ape taunted the soldiers until finally Yang Youchi was summoned. The ape began to cry, because he knew he could not dodge Yang Youchi’s arrows. The king, moved by the ape’s tears, realized that all of the animals must feel this way when hunted. He immediately ceased the hunt, and as a result of this good deed, the kingdom of Chu flourished indefinitely.

Free incense at Wenshu Temple; Chengdu, China.

My offering of incense; offering to whom, for what, or even why, I’m not really sure.

Life outside the temple walls, as seen from inside the temple.

Tai chi practitioner; Wenshu Temple, Chengdu.

Temple resident unlocks gate inside Wenshu Temple; Chengdu, China.

A bee does its thing; Wenshu Temple, Chengdu.

A temple offering of conch shells and, I don’t know what.

I did not expect to see Ferrero Rocher as a formal offering at the temple.

Wenshu Temple; Chengdu, China.

Signs of everyday life at the temple.