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Thursday, July 20, 2006

July 20: A Tour before Going Home

Kobo Daishi Memorial Hall and Di Zang Temple

This morning after breakfast the plan was to head out fairly early and visit a very significant site before going to the airport. there were some wonderful surprises in store.

Our main destination was a Memorial Hall dedicated to Kukai (Ch. Konghai), also known in Japan as Kobo Daishi. He was the Japanese monk who came to China during the Tang Dynasty, and transplanted Shingon Buddhism from China back to Japan. On the way to China, his ship was blown off course, and he landed in what is now Ningde City. Japanese devotees have paid for construction of a Memorial Hall; this was our goal.

There will be a full page about it eventually [2023: Not yet!], but here are a couple of shots:

The exterior of the Kobo Daishi Hall; I think the style is very "Japanese," but Venerable Dun Chao says it's Chinese Tang style (that's where the Japanese got it)

The interior of the Hall, with standing Kobo Daishi on the altar. I saw this figure frequently on my pilgrimage, but usually in bronze, and outside

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Next, we stopped at the nearby Di Zang Temple for lunch. It turns out that the abbot, Venerable Man Zhen, is an old classmate of Venerable Dun Chao. Nice surprise Number 1. And he speaks good English! Nice surprise Number 2. He was very familiar with Hsi Lai Temple, having once hoped to study at the university; instead, he studied in Sri Lanka and Canada. Again, a full page will follow with details. But here are some pics:

The Main Hall at Di Zang Temple, Ningde, Fujian

Venerables Dun Chao (l) and Man Zhen (c) with an unnamed monk (r)

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Finally, we drove into Fuzhou Airport, where I boarded my plane and returned to Shenzhen.

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