What I imagined I’d see in a Taoist temple was robed monks and maybe some other really spiritual-looking people, the kind of people who sit around contemplating the mystery of the The Way. And probably a lot of art with yin-yang signs on it. This sort of temple would not be a place for a deeply unspiritual person like me, a person whose main subjects of contemplation are snacks, dumb jokes, and where to find tights without control top.
Dongyue Temple in Beijing is certainly an active temple and there are monks and pilgrims and possibly some yin-yangs I overlooked.
I can’t tell you much about the design of the temple since once HOB and I entered the temple complex we started looking into these open rooms running along the sides of complex wall. Oh my Taoist God–-it was like we walked into a B-movie set in the 1950’s.
These rooms are each set up as a stage set in Hell. Each of these scenes are named for a particular activity and are called Departments. (I was particularly fond of the Department of Suppressing Schemes.)
In the rear of each of these departments is a cross-eyed overlord with two cross-eyed attendants. They are sitting in judgment of the motley assortment of creatures arrayed in on either side of them, along the walls of the room.
Once HOB and I started peeking into these rooms and realizing just how many were inside the temple complex, that’s when the trouble started: the inappropriate laughter.
I know, I know, it is always best to be low key and respectful as a guest in someone’s sacred space.
But come on people……
Who are you to judge?
Are you going to tell me you could have kept it together in front of the Department for Implementing 15 Kinds of Violent Death?
While checking out Cash Register Tape Tongue man?
Or in front of the Department of Rejected Halloween Costumes?
Nooooooooooo make it stop I have to peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
In case you want to know what HOB looks like when he’s trying really hard not to giggle…
This is my “Nope, nothing is funny here” face.
The guy on the left is getting kicked out of the temple for laughing.
Dongyue Temple was built in the early 1300’s. I’m, um, fairly certain these statues came later, perhaps because the originals were destroyed in the Cultural Revolution.
This was our first Taoist temple. I only hope we have more chances to contemplate The Way in such spiritual surroundings in the near future.