To guarantee success millions take to temples and pay for it

Updated: 2012-02-07 10:24

By Huang Zhiling (China Daily)

  Comments() Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

CHENGDU - Xiao Ping, a middle-aged restaurant owner in the city's northern suburbs, usually gets up at midday because she has to stay until every diner leaves late at night.

But on the morning of Jan 23 - Lunar New Year Day - she got up at 6:30 am to shower before heading for the nearby Baoguang Temple.

"When I reached the temple at 8 am, I had to elbow my way in," Xiao says.

She burns incense in the temple every Lunar Chinese New Year to pray for the success of her eatery, which specializes in donkey meat.

The 8-hectare temple is believed to have been constructed in the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25-220) and is known for housing Sakyamuni Buddha relics.

It drew more than 100,000 believers on the eve and the first day of this Lunar New Year.

"Many traveled long distances from downtown Chengdu to pray for fortune, good health, longevity, better education opportunities for their children or simply safety," monk Qing Kong says.

There were still many people burning incense on the afternoon of the Lunar Chinese New Year's 11th day.

They crowded the temple, which houses more than 300 Buddha statues. They knelt and clasped their hands to show respect for the statues.

Song Jianye, a retired teacher from Lanzhou Jiaotong University in Gansu province, came with his wife and daughter-in-law.

"We don't believe in Buddhism or burn incense on Lunar New Year's Eve," he says.

"We burn incense because we respect Buddhism, which teaches people to be kind."

The Qingyang Taoist Temple in western Chengdu sold nearly 20,000 entrance tickets on Lunar New Year's Day. It received an average of 4,000 people a day in the following week.

"Many visitors came just to pray for safety and did not know how to insert incense sticks," Chen Mingchang, a leading Taoist in the temple, says.

"Rather than putting the first stick in the center, the second on the right and the third on the left, they put all three together. After visiting the Taoist temple, some of them also visit a Buddhist temple."