search instagram arrow-down

Go Ahead, Click It

2015 2016 Adventure America Art Asia Autumn Beauty Beer boulder Change Chile China Christmas Colorado Consignment Only Cooking Craft Beer Culture DIY DIY Home Education England English Europe Expat Extreme Travel Fashion Feminism Food Foodie France Garden Hair Hiking Home Homemade How To Iceland Immigration India International Italy Korea Life Linguistics Living Abroad London Makeup Moving News nomad Outdoors Photography Politics ROK Seoul Shanghai South Korea Spring Style Summer Teacher Teaching Teaching English Abroad TEFL Thoughts Travel Travel Photography UK USA vietnam Winter Writing WTF

Ask me about nomad life here

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Jing’an Temple in the heart of Shanghai. Actually, it’s very near to where my first days in this megacity were spent back in April.

As I approached Exit 1 at Jing’an Temple Station, a slight smell of burned paper permeated the air. I thought in passing that it must be incense burning, and then dismissed that ridiculous thought. Surely there wouldn’t be such a display here in the centre of Shanghai, PRC.

I’d prepared my hair in a Shanghai-Girl style, emulating at once the 1950s and the 1920s.

Swirling hair

Swirling hair

Unfortunately, I took the wrong random direction at the exit. I wandered around the outside of the temple, searching for an entrance. The lower level of the temple is crowded with jewelry shops and clothing shops…money changers. But then, the temple itself rings with the sound of coins tossed into coffers, offerings to those the statues represent. Constant offerings. What’s the difference, really? Temples (churches) are the same, around the world. What’s a coffer to an offering basket. I suppose the latter generally is in possession of a red or purple cushion, silencing that clink of tithe.

I was ripped off by the ayi at the entrance, who sold me incense for 10 RMB instead of five. It’s fine. I can afford it, and she knew it. I’m happy to give her more money.

The temple's interior

The temple’s interior

It was blazing summer when I visited. The incense coffers were blazing, too. I lost some knuckle fur to the flames when the wind came up.

I don’t pray much. I lit my incense. I watched the others. I turned to the four directions. I thought of people who needed thoughts, and sent the incense from my hands away to dissipate and bless those thoughts.

My family.

My students, all over the world.

My school in Shanghai.

Myself.

I wandered around, visiting the various statues. On the second floor, I came upon a girl in her 20s, so asleep from sheer exhaustion and release of safety in this place that she fell into an awkward pose on the steps of one of the bell towers. I paused, waited for her chest to rise and fall. It did. I walked along and out, back to my too-short day off in the summer of 2015.

3 comments on “Jing’An Temple (The Actual Temple)

  1. That is one big temple.

    1. Coleen says:

      China is BIG, man. It’s great.

Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: