Bridges of Yuantong Temple, Kunming, China

The most famous Buddhist temple in Kunming, Yunnan Province, is Yuantong Temple, which was first built in the late 8th and early 9th century during the Tang Dynasty.  After two major restorations and expansions, in 1465-1487 and in 1686, the temple took on its present design, with covered corridors, bridges and grand halls. Bridges feature prominently throughout the complex.

Many elderly Chinese spend time meditating at Yuantong Temple, Kunming. 

Wandering around the grounds, soft Buddhist music plays in the background. Om Mani Padme Hum, the repetitive mantra of Buddhist meditation, inundates my consciousness. As I drift over the many bridges, turtles rise to greet me. Peace caresses me, I am at home in these foreign grounds.

Bridges of Yuantong Temple, Kunming.

The Golden Gate opens into two mountain ranges.
A silver stream is hanging down to three stone bridges
Within sight of the mighty Tripod Falls.
Ledges of cliff and winding trails lead to blue sky
And a flush of cloud in the morning sun.

extract from A Song of Lu Mountain to Censor Lu Xuzhou. Li Bai, ( 701-762) from The Penguin Book of Chinese Verse, Edited by A.R. Davis, Penguin Books, 1962.

Bridges and walkways of Yuantong Temple, Kunming.

18 thoughts on “Bridges of Yuantong Temple, Kunming, China”

  1. What a wonderful juxtaposition of colour and culture compared to your recent post of Melbourne in Winter. Both blogs display how we are attracted to and use colour for so many different reasons including food of course. I wish you and Mr T. Bon Voyage on your upcoming international journey and my greedy eyes look forward to your excellent work.
    Best wishes and safe travels.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Having slowly reverted from the rather austere Lutheranism of my childhood to Buddhism-to-be-when-I know-enough these photos of a place about which I have heard but little are hugely appreciated. Mind is a funny thing . . . reading your title reverted me to my teenage years and the ‘Bridges of Toko-Ri’ ! Thanks for both scenarios . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mine has been a Catholic to Buddhist conversion. Whilst one is a religion, the other is a philosophy, a way of thinking for me when I have the right inclination, the right consciousness. A little initial trip to Thailand on the way to Europe will help refresh my mind.
      I had to google ‘Bridges of Toko-Ri’ , a film and novel I was ignorant of till now.


  3. Interesting that you quote Li Bai. I thought that there is a poem by Li Bai to cover almost anything touristy you want to do in China. I’m collecting more and more evidence for that. Thanks for adding to the growing pile.


  4. I usually quote Li Bai with regard to drinking,one of his pastimes, a little at odds with the usual daoist preoccupations . Li Bai is ny favourite poet so i am quite disappointed to hear that you collect Li Bao references in tourist posts. I haven’t seen any. And i didnt notice many tourists at this particular temple either. Mostly older chinese tourists who were there to light inxense sticks in honour of family.


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