Wenshu Temple

IMG_1688Wenshu Temple (Wenshu yuan 文殊院)–named for the bodhisattva of wisdom Mañjuśri–is the premier Buddhist institution in Chengdu. I’ve been a fan ever since my first visit in 1996. The vegetarian restaurant there (more on that later) became a favorite place for celebrations. In those days, the actual Buddhist practice there seemed a little … lax … but there was a vibrant cultural scene of people singing and doing qigong healing and everything else in the park surrounding the temple, not to mention the genial chaos of the teahouse. It was a great place! The temple and its associated monastery have really thrived over the last two decades, and devotion is more evident than ever before. We decided to go for a visit one of the first warm Sundays this spring. Continue reading

Sounds of Chengdu (2): Music in the Park

It’s been almost five months since my last post. This one actually takes me back to the beginning of August last year. I’ve been extremely busy and happy, and still am, but I’ve realized that working on this blog causes me to approach my life here in a different, and more productive, way. For that reason if nothing else, I want to try and get this going again. Mind you, I’ve got so much old material to post, it may take a while to get caught up. 🙂 Continue reading

Sounds of Chengdu (1)

IMG_0168One of my favorite things about Chinese cities in general is the sound of cicadas. As I sit typing in what will be my library/office once my books arrive, I can hear the ciadas in the trees eleven floors below. But the best cicada experience is to wander down a small tree-covered lane and listen to the undulating sound they make. I recorded the following bit of cicada sound while strolling through a touristy set of streets known as Kuanzhai xiangzi 宽窄巷子. Although it’s clearly a tourist trap, it’s so attractive and has such style and seeming haphazardness that it’s hard not to love it.