I remember a time, a long time ago, when we could see the sun in the sky and feel it’s warmth. I’m not sure when this mythical time was, but I believe the ancient iphone photo above can be dated to around September 2013. A magical day (I’m not sure it really happened) because we found somewhere quiet and peaceful in the middle of busy Beijing.
We had originally intended to visit the Lama Temple that day but, when we arrived, we realised it was closing at 4pm. As we walked through the nearby hutong, we noticed an entrance gate we had never come across before. Peering inside, we saw an oasis like vision of beautiful temple buildings, lush trees and a quite courtyard with very few people. We quickly paid the small entrance fee and in a few steps, were enveloped into the serene atmosphere of the Confucius Temple. Gone were the honks of car horns and the chaotic streets. Instead we enjoyed quiet peacefulness, watched people bow to Confucius statues (something I didn’t know happened) and were bathed in a beautiful light which I have never experienced before or since in Bejing City.
Since we didn’t have our cameras, a few poor quality iphone photos are all that exist of evidence of the day we timed it perfectly and found a new favourite place in Beijing. Thank you Confucius!
Ps- I recently read a very interesting article about Confucianism in the New Yorker (courtesy of Justin’s ipad). Evan Osnos (who lived next to the Confucius Temple in Beijing- wow!) writes about the rise of Confucianism in China, as well as informing us of the darker history of the Beijing Confucius Temple. Unfortunately you need a subscription to read it, but they do offer free trails if you fancy learning more. This Lonely Planet page also briefly mentions some of the temple’s history.