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monks at White Cloud Temple 北京白云观

Baiyun Guan 白云观
White Cloud Temple
Linguan Hall

The interior of the Linguan Hall 灵官殿 (Língguān Diàn) holds a wooden statue of Wang Lingguan 王灵官 (Wáng Língguān), the God protecting Daoism. The statue, carved during the Ming Dynasty, has a red face, three eyes, and wears a suit of armor. He holds a whip in his hand as a symbol of maintaining order.

One story is that the true name of Wang Lingguan 王灵官 was Wang Shan 王善 (Wáng Shàn) and that he was at first a false god who claimed the sacrifice of children from the people. When the Perfect Sovereign Sa heard of this, he poked out Wang's eyes. Wang complained to the Jade Emperor and the Jade Emperor gave him diamond eyes, a whip, and the right to follow the Perfect Sovereign for a number of years. He would be allowed to whip the Perfect Sovereign Sa if Wang found that he did any wrong. At the end of the period Wang had not found that he did any wrong and asked to be allowed to be a follower of the Perfect Sovereign. It was then that his name was changed from Wang E (meaning bad) to Wang Shan (meaning good).

It is his duty to maintain kindness and eliminate evil both in heaven and on earth. At many Daoist Temples his temple is placed in front, near the gate, so that he can protect Daoism and keep evil out. His eyes are said to be able to tell the difference between the true and the false. The third eye is also a borrowed Buddhist symbol of wisdom and enlightenment.

China Index >> Beijing History in Pictures >> Index White Cloud Temple Baiyun Guan

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Last update: October 2009
© Marilyn Shea, 2009