Saturday, December 26, 2015

Tainan Fahua Temple 台南法華寺

Front gate of Fahua Temple
Fahua Temple in Tainan 台南法華寺 used to be an important Buddhist site. It was started by a Ming loyalist Li Maochun 李茂春 when Zheng Chenggong took over Taiwan. Li was the friend of Chen Yonghua 陳永華 and they often met in this place which was Li's residence before. There might be some connections with Tainan Huangbo Temple because they were built around the same time.  I visited this place in Dec. 2015 and found out it is a rebuilt temple. A free pamphlet distributed by the monastery gave a detailed history of the temple. It seems the temple has involved in a long-term dispute with Tainan municipal government because the city insisted the temple is a historical site and prohibits its expansion project. The abbot Ven. Qingxu  晴虛 is leading a petition and argues there is no historical relics in the temple and the government should allow its expansion. Dr. Yang Kuei-hsiang told me Ven. Qingxu used to be abbot in Lingquan Temple in Jilong 靈泉禪寺 as well. Lingquan Temple is very important in reviving Taiwan Buddhism in the modern period. 

Temple History by Fahua Temple
Expansion plan
Petition by Ven. Qingxu

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Cult of Zheng Chenggong in Tainan

It is no doubt that you will see a lot of relics related to Zheng Chenggong 鄭成功 in Tainan. At the end of the Qing dynasty, the government approved it as an official cult because many local Taiwanese worshiped him for his efficacy in protection. Of course, he also protected Zen master Yinyuan traveling to Japan. I have a whole chapter 3 on his relation with Yinyuan in my book Leaving for the Rising Sun.  Here is a guide to the famous shrines in Tainan about Zheng Chenggong. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Location of Tainan Huangbo Temple 台南黄檗寺

Original Site of Huangbo Monastery, northward, photo by Jiang Wu

Original site of Huangbo Temple, southward, photo by Jiang Wu
I know there was a Huangbo Temple in Tainan which has been destroyed for a long time. It used to be the residence of Chen Yonghua 陳永華 and later was converted as Huangbo Monastery. This monastery has a close connection with the Ming loyalists and the resistance movement. I thought it was inside Tainan No.2 Middle School 台南二中. But at the suggestion of Mr. Cao Guodong 曹國棟, I finally found the place. It was located in an empty lot at the northern corner of the intersection of Xiaodong Road 小東路 and Beimen Road 北門路, to the east side of Tainan Park. A blog by a local historian named Yunhai Youzi 雲海遊子 explained the history of Huangbo Temple very well. See 黃檗寺-陳近南故居

There are also the following useful references to the temple:
野川博之,<臺南黃檗寺考>,載《黃檗文華》第123, 2003, p.53-75
吳敏霞 2007 《日據時期的臺灣佛教》。臺中:太平慈光寺。
江燦騰2001 《日據時期臺灣佛教文化發展史》。臺北:南天書局。
王見川、李世偉(合著) 1999 〈日治時期臺灣佛教的認同與選擇:以中臺交流為例〉,收於王見川、李世偉合著,《臺灣的宗 教與文化》,頁 29-67。臺北:博揚文化事業有限公司。
釋慧嚴 2008 《臺灣與閩日佛教交流史》。高雄:春暉出版社。

Monday, December 14, 2015

Kaiyuan Temple 開元寺 in Tainan and Huangbo Dharma Transmission

I visited Tainan Kaiyuan Temple 開元寺 in the afternoon of Dec. 12, 2015. This used to be the villa of the Zheng Chenggong 鄭成功family in Tainan and was converted to a Buddhist monastery after the Qing government conquered Taiwan. It was a famous Chan temple in Tainan and one of its dharma transmission was derived from Huangbo Monastery 黃檗寺 in Fujian, where Master Yinyuan was abbot and later went to Japan. Several inscriptions of Linji abbots were preserved in the temple. Taiwan scholar Jiang Canteng 江燦騰 is writing a detailed history of Kaiyuan Temple. It was fortunate that I also met Mr. Zeng Guodong 曾國棟 , director of Tainan Cultural Property Association 台南市文化資產保護協會 here and asked him questions about the location of Huangbo Monastery in Tainan.

Note: The location is Kaiyuan Temple. But I don't know why Google shows it is Wei Kang Library.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Master Sheng Yen's Last Residence at Sheng Yen Education Foundation

In his last two years before he passed away in 2009, Master Sheng Yen 聖嚴 lived in this place where is now Sheng Yen Education Foundation. There is a small exhibition hall of Master Sheng Yen's life and we were having meeting in the buddha hall next door.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Dharma Drum Mountain and Dharma Drum College of Liberal Arts

After the workshop, Dr. Yang Zhanmei 楊展楣 kindly showed as about the beautiful Dharma Drum Mountain area and the newly founded Dharma Drum College of Liberal Arts. I now have a better idea about its history and how Master Sheng Yen started it.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Conversation on Zen Buddhism with Bill Porter

A year ago, my friend Bill Porter came to Tucson for a lecture. We had some time to sit down and did this interview together. I have it translated into Chinese as well. This is nothing about Obaku but should be of interest to students of Zen Buddhism in general.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Kōraku-en 後樂園 in Tokyo

During my short stay in Tokyo at the end of September, 2015, I was fortunate to have Dr. Yang Kuei Hsiang as my guide. In September 29, I was honored to have Tanaka Shōzō 田中昭三 and Prof. Hayashi Masako 林正子 in my company to visit a few Obaku related historical sites in Tokyo. Mr. Tanaka is an expert in Japanese gardens and published a lot on the topic. He introduced me to Kōraku-en 後樂園 next to the famous Tokyo Dome. It was built in 1630s by the Mito lord Mitsukuni 德川光圀. Advised by the Ming loyalist Zhu Shunshui 朱舜水, the garden was named after Mencius' famous words "Enjoy this pleasure only after becoming the worthies" “贤者而后乐此” (Mencius, Lianghuiwang chapter, part I). The garden is full of allusions to and imitations of famous sites in Chinese landscape, probably at the suggestion of Zhu Shunshui as well. We were joking that this was daimyo's Disneyland in Edo Japan.
Entrance to Korakuen, photo by Jiang Wu

Su Dike 蘇堤 imitating Chinese West Lake in Hangzhou

Chinese Style Arched Bridge, photo by Jiang Wu

View from the Paved Path way from original entrance, photo by Jiang Wu

Poster for a Conference on Donggao Xinyue and Mito Domain, photo by Jiang Wu