Spiritual places of Shanghai

The Jade Buddha Temple

The yellow walls of the Jade Buddha Temple stand on an intersection opposite a Starbucks, where a mustard or saffron-robed monk might be seen bustling by with a take-out coffee in hand.

The beautifully restored Jade Buddha Temple

The walls enclose a pristine temple, very recently refurbished and renovated.

Tranquility inside the Temple

The rooms enclosing the various massive statues are cool, their whirring fans creating a welcoming cool breeze, which sets the long satin and silk hangings trembling.

Buddha wall hangings

The temple houses a few very special Jade Buddhas from Burma.

White Jade Buddha

The White Jade reclining Buddha lies languidly and met our eyes with a calm hooded gaze and a secret smile. The Green Jade Buddha sits alone in a private room and we almost missed it. No photographs are allowed to be taken of this Buddha. The smooth green jade is strangely life-like, and the Buddha’s face is extraordinarily smooth and beautiful. I had to pull myself away and out of the dimly lit room to eventually return back into the daylight dazzle.

Young trainee guide volunteers

There we were photographed, together with the two young trainee temple guides who had led us to the green jade Buddha, and also partially bamboozled us with their complexly phrased and mispronounced English.

Exquisite ceilings above huge golden Buddha
Exquisite ceilings above huge golden Buddha

We found the century-old Xujiahui Catholic Cathedral down a side street in Shanghai.

Xujiahui Catholic Cathedral

Once known as “the grandest church in the Far East.” It was established as a result of Xu Guangqi’s efforts to establish a Catholic presence in the area over 400 years ago. Its two steeples rose above some building work. In the nick-nack shop adjoining the cathedral we found and bought a few odds and sods.

The sacred feminine

I found a small white plastic madonna with a beautiful face to keep beside my bed – a mirror image of the sacred feminine statue I had also adored in the Jade Buddha temple.

‘Inside the Cathedral

Inside the church was sublime, still, silent and very warm. The fans stood still high up in the multi-dome ceiling. It is a church filled with long red banners which are startling against the white marble. Jesus’s gentle, very western, rather hippy-like presence gazes from a colourful collection of beautiful stained glass windows and banners.

Madonna – Xujiahui Cathedral

We sat in the pews for a long moment where an occasional cool breeze found us, blowing in from the gardens in which we would later leave a number of lit candles for our beloveds.

Lighting candles for our loved ones

We walked on from there happily clutching a new tote bag, filled with a collection of plastic Chinese Christian curiosities to treasure.

Outside in the Cathedral gardens

      

      

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2 Replies to “Spiritual places of Shanghai”

  1. What a wonderful blog and photos of the spiritual places in Shanghai. In each blog I learn more about the interesting places you visit. Thank you Lex and Michelle for sharing this amazing experience with us.

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