The oldest Taoist temple in Chengdu, Qingyang Temple (Qīngyáng Gōng, 青羊宫) is also one of the most famous in the country. One of the first Taoist temples allowed to reopen by the government in 1983, Qingyang Temple was originally built during the Zhou Dynasty (1040-221BC). It was later expanded after the Taoists gave the Tang Emperor refuge during the Huangchao Rebellion.
It consists of six courtyards which open out onto each other, culminating in a sculpture of two goats. These represent one of the earthly incarnations of the legendary founder of Taoism, Lao Tzu.
The day's first worshippers arrive mid-morning before the stampede of afternoon pilgrims arrives. The temple grounds are quietly busy with a handful of monks and nuns in training towards the back of the temple at the Two Immortals Monastery.
The only Taoist monastery in southwest China, the Two Immortals Monastery is authorized to certify Taoist training, initiations and the passing of lineage. A small teahouse on the left-hand side of the ticket counter sells CDs of the Qing Yang Temple Daoist Orchestra (RMB 15).
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