Finally, after learning about the 142 Key Temples, I made my official visit in November of 2010. I was carrying two cameras (as usual), my DSLR and a point-and-shoot.
And guess what? First, the DSLR's auto-focus failed. I had to shoot everything manually (so some of my pictures are a little "soft"). Then, after visiting the nearby Guangxiao Temple, I either set my point-and-shoot down somewhere, or it fell out of my pocket in a cab! That was the replacement for the one that had broken at this temple in 2006.
This temple and I have bad camera Karma!
But nice things happened here, too. The best (as always) was a kindness shown. There was a monk doing calligraphy in the covered portico behind the Sixth Patriarch Hall (acing the pagoda). I asked him if I could enter the area marked "Platform" on the map, actually a dharma lecture hall. No, he was sorry, that area was closed. I must have looked disappointed as I walked a way, because he called me back and started digging through his desk until he found a gift: A book about Dharma in English! Written by one C. T. Shen, a shipping executive who was then vice-president of the Buddhist Association of the United States, it's called What We Can Learn From Buddhism, and is based on three talks given by Mister Shen from 1969-1972 in New York and New Hampshire.
That monk made my day! The book is fascinating, a window into another way of seeing--literally. One of the talks was called "The Five Eyes," and can be read in full here. It talks about changing our perception to see things in a new way. (The title talk, "What We Can Learn From Buddhism," is also available.)
Take a look and enjoy!
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NOTE: A brief "Visitor's Guide" is available for free by writing to me. Allow a day or two for response.
Read more about Liurong Temple, including directions on how to find it.