San Sheng Gong, Meilin, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

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Dedicated to the "Three Saints" of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism


See the Glossary of Temple Elements for a general description of these features
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Name: San Sheng Gong, the "Three Saints Temple." in Meilin Park, Shenzhen 
Main figure/s: (Presumably) Laozi, Shakyamuni Buddha, and Kongzi (Confucius) 
Other figures: Inside: Guan Yin, Cai Shen, and "Man & Mo"
Outside: Tu Di (& his wife); various popular figures on a folk shrine
"History":   If my informant is correct, I was in Shenzhen before this temple was!  It seems to have opened in Autumn of 2004.  As it is in a public park, and I know that several of the temples in Shenzhen were municipal projects, I'm guessing this one was built by the city.

However, one notable feature is that there is a pool or spring behind the main hall; local people come here to fill water bottles.  This leads me to believe that, as in so many places in the world, there may have been a natural feature here that drew reverence, and the temple was built to mark it.

Description:   The temple is approached on a footpath within Meilin Gong Yuan (Meilin Park).  It stands on a rise just to the east of the easy-to-spot Meilin Reservoir.

As you approach the temple precinct, you notice a large, semi-circular screen wall to the south of a spacious place.  The Main Hall and its small Tu Di Shrine stand at the north side of the plaza; around the right side of the Main Hall, to the rear, is a walled pool, and an associated folk altar.

In the Main Hall are three altars.  The Main Altar contains three larger figures.  These are (according to the not-very- professional temple keeper):

  • Laozi, founder of Taoism
  • Shakyamuni Buddha, founder of Buddhism
  • Kongzi (Confucius), founder of Confucianism

Reverence of these three together is not unheard-of, and the "P.R." benefit of "covering all the bases" is obvious.

(On a recent visit, conflicting information was given as to the identitiy of the Three Saints.  An update will be posted soon!)

If that weren't enough:

The Main Altar also has two small figured identified as "Man" and "Mo."  These are Wen Chang, who helps scholars pass the Imperial exams; and Wu Di, better known as Guan Yu.  When seen together, they are known as Wen Wu (Cantonese Man Mo), and represent the two keys to success: scholarly achievement and military might.  They are immensely popular in Cantonese-speaking areas.

Rounding out this group of the "Top Seven Deities" are Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, on the left Side Altar; and Cai Shen, the God of Wealth, on the Right.  You could not find more popular figures for a temple; they're seen everywhere, including on the private altars in homes and shops.

Festival/s:   Unknown.
Additional features: The park is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
Getting there:   Numerous buses run to the Meilin Yi Cun stop, or tell a taxi driver "May Lynn Ee Chun" (sounds like "Fail in me soon").  Look toward the KFC and Carrefour; beyond them, on the street that runs to the north, you will see the reservoir.  Walk toward the reservoir, find the entry to the park on a side street to the right, and follow the left-hand path up the hill.  The temple is at the top of the path.
Also in the area: Beyond the temple following the same path along to the east, there are some (slightly) old graves on the hillside.

UPDATE: on a recent visit, the graves had ben removed, and the area planted.  Are graves unsuitable for a public park?

About the photos: All photos on this page are copyright 2005 by James Baquet

Gallery

click photo to enlarge

The Main Hall

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The Main Hall Close up of the Front Door The Interior (overview)

Altars

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Guan Yin on
left Side Altar
The "Three Saints";
note Man & Mo in Front
Cai Shen on
right Side Altar

Tu Di Shrine

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Overview The whole interior
(note Eight Immortals on hanging in front of table)
Close up on Mr. & Mrs. Tu Di
(note Fu Lu Shou on altar cloth)

The Pool

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The pool is around behind the Main Hall, where the white arrow points

The pool.  The source is the mountainside seen behind the pool on this picture.

This small folk altar sits to the side of the pool.

The Tomb nearby
(since removed)

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Leaving the temple, one walks by this not-so-old but dilapidated tomb Next to the tomb is this platform dedicated to the ubiquitous Tu Di

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