When it comes to temples, many people find it a good place to meditate. Many people like to go to the temple in their spare time, the temple is simple and majestic, inside the quiet and solemn, incense lingering, the ears will also come curling music, walking in the temple path, the restless mind seems to have been sublimated.
In the vast and vast Chinese land, there are many famous temples, such as Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou, White Horse Temple in Luoyang, Reclining Buddha Temple in Beijing, Shaolin Temple in Songshan, Hanshan Temple in Suzhou, and Dazhao Temple in Lhasa ...... These famous temples are worshipped by the people for their unique charm.
The Daoyuan Temple in Liaoning Province is not as well known as the big temples mentioned above, but is known for being the most "purely female temple" in China. The temple is full of women, and they sleep only 4 hours a day, eat only one meal a day, and never touch money in their lives.
01Dao Yuan Temple origin: from 17 people to more than 100 people
This amazing temple made up of women is located in Sanjiabao Village, Jiwen Town, Haicheng City, Liaoning Province. The temple was founded in the fall of 2001, only 11 years ago, and is located in a remote area, surrounded by mountains and a quiet environment, a good place for people to meditate and practice.
Compared to the big temples with age, the founding of Dogen Temple is not so old, its founder is the famous abbot Myo Rong Bhikkhuni, and unlike other temples, in Dogen Temple, all of them are women.
In the beginning, Daoyuan Temple also only had two bhikkhuni masters and a dozen monks who had the desire to become monks, until July 2002, the temple welcomed the first batch of monks who voluntarily shaved their heads to become monks, a total of 17 people, although the number is small, but each of them is a devout Buddhist believer, where they practice in silence and discipline themselves with strict behavior and demeanor.
Some of these nuns who voluntarily shaved their heads to become monks may have been daughters, mothers, or elites in the workplace before becoming monks ......
But without exception, they are all inspired by Buddhism and are willing to give up their earthly past, no longer bound by the world, and step into this place of purification, henceforth chanting Buddhist scriptures, day and night with the green lamp, in pursuit of inner peace and great realm.
By 2014, as the fame of Dogenji grew, more and more women sought out the place and, under the enlightenment of the women practitioners who were at the beginning of Dogenji's creation, they either rediscovered their purpose in life or were converted by the female masters of the temple and voluntarily joined this pure land.
As a result, the nun congregation at Dogenji has grown from 17 people in the beginning to about 130 people, with more than a hundred hearted monks. In addition, there are also many resident resident guardian monks in the temple.
02 The woman in the temple never touched money in her life and let go of her obsession with money
Unlike other temples, Dogenji has only female masters, but they are not held to a lesser standard just because they are women.
On the contrary, the temple regulations of Dao Yuan Temple are no less than those of ordinary temples, and even the requirements for each female master of the practice are extremely high, and some ordinary male monks may have difficulty in adhering to them.
Why is that? It is evident from the strict nine laws of the temple rules of Dogenji.
The Tao Yuan Temple was established under the guidance of the monks of the Great Compassion Monastery, and is a subsidiary of the Great Compassion Monastery. Therefore, the requirements for female masters' living and daily norms are basically in line with the Buddhist precepts of the Great Compassion Monastery, and the female masters in the Tao Yuan Temple also carry a Buddhist aura in their behavior, and the process of talking with them makes people feel at ease and peaceful.
According to the temple rules in Daoyuan Temple, there are nine basic requirements that the female masters of the temple need to follow, which are to hold the precept of not catching money, one meal in the day, walking, begging, not receiving guests monastic rites, all offerings to the permanent residents, the three mantles do not leave the body, do not make the edge, do not beg, the nuns of Daoyuan Temple follow the Eight Respectful Laws, and follow the practice of the upper courtyard Daibei Temple.
It is unbearable to look at one item alone, let alone as many as nine. But for the female masters who have long been in the Buddhist monastery and are dedicated to monasticism, this is not only a test of their bodies, but also a refinement of their minds, and they enjoy it.
One of the rules regarding money is to hold the precept of not catching money. This is to ask the female masters of the monastery to be indifferent to fame and fortune and not to be greedy for such extraneous things as money.
For the money and property piece, it is stipulated that masters cannot have their own financial reserves, cannot have cash on them, and cannot accept gifts or offerings from incense-bearers at any time.
Therefore, if you choose to enter the Dao Yuan Temple, then you should stay away from money and never touch it for the rest of your life.
In today's society where all walks of life are becoming commercialized, Daoyuan Temple Source has always insisted on not engaging in tourism, not selling tickets, and not even setting up merit boxes. This can be described as a rare stream of fresh air.
In the view of the female masters of Dao Yuan Temple, since they want to leave the world and purify themselves, they have to leave everything in the world, and renouncing money is the first test.
For gifts from the temple's incense-bearers, Dogenji rules also state that they are not acceptable. If someone presents an offering, he or she cannot keep it for himself or herself, but must submit it to the resident to be kept by them on his or her behalf.
If they receive some offerings that they have to accept, the temple's guest deacons will promptly return the offerings as a way of expressing their gratitude and demonstrating the equality of treating all people equally.
In addition, for to maintain the daily expenses of the temple, generally temples will more or less obtain money for the maintenance of the temple through sutra confession, the sale of Dharma Buddha, and the conduct of Buddhist activities.
Daoyuan Temple does not do these things, which also leads to the temple has almost no additional economic sources, the temple lives about a hundred female masters, from the moment they become monks they can no longer touch the money, the temple also has no income from admission fees and incense money.
For the expansion of the temple, daily food, clothing and housing, etc., where money is needed, the female masters of the temple are self-reliant, either by planting their own fruits and vegetables or by going out to beg for food.
03 can only eat one meal a day and sleep only 4 hours a day
If the first one is acceptable for those who regard money as dirt, then the second one is very people can tolerate.
In terms of diet, the rule is that you can only eat one meal a day. The temple requires the female masters to eat only "one meal a day", which is a very strict requirement for a normal person who needs three meals a day.
Eating only one meal a day is a Buddhist practice. If one's appetite is not controlled, it becomes a desire, and in order to control this desire, not eating past noon is the best physical practice.
However, the female masters of Dogenji Temple completely did not eat past noon.
By eating only one meal a day, through the control of diet, one allows oneself to reduce the desire for mouth and stomach, and to practice and seek the Way wholeheartedly. This puritanical diet has resulted in the female masters of the temple being thin and frail, but not in a sickly weak way.
Only one meal a day, what are the main foods in this fasting meal?
The fasting rice inside the temple is mainly vegetarian, usually including rice, boiled cabbage, tofu, spinach, potatoes, etc. In order to avoid killing, the female masters of the temple will pour the rice to be eaten on the table when cooking, and will spend several hours picking out the rice worms inside the rice to make sure they are all picked clean before they start chopping wood and burning the bed and cooking the rice in the pot.
For this, many people would find such living conditions and habits too harsh, but for the female masters of Dogenji, they have long since become accustomed to them and enjoy them.
In terms of work and rest, Daoyuan Temple also has an invisible rule that requires female masters to sleep only 4 hours a day, which is another terrible practice for ordinary people, and the reason why it is required to sleep only 4 hours a day is a curb on laziness.
04 Follow the strict rules of the temple to train the mind and cultivate the body
In addition to practicing in the monastery, the female masters of Daoyuan Temple have a yearly travel practice, known as "footwork", or walking the head.
Since 2000, Dao Yuan Temple has been asking the female masters to follow the ancient method of performing the "two-time headship", which takes place after the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar every year for about 15 days, after which they walk back to Dao Yuan Temple.
This process is half a month long, and almost every day is in a state of wind, food and sleep, but each of the female masters of Dogenji Temple can face it openly, through "walking", to sharpen their will.
The process of "footwork" also allows the women masters to lose sight of life, to be empty of all the four seas, to not be tied to their own passions and relationships, and ultimately to improve their Zen enlightenment and devote themselves to teaching activities.
When practicing outside, female masters do not bring their own dry food, they eat everything from the gifts of others, a process they call "begging for food".
When the female masters "walk" or go out to beg for food, it is stipulated that they can only beg for food, not money. The reason why we arrange the female masters to beg for food is to fill their stomachs, but to cultivate their minds is the root.
In order to better exercise their own mind and cultivate their own behavior, the monastic community of Dogenji would go out to beg for food with their bowls and female masters, and the food they begged would eventually be put together and distributed equally to everyone by the abbot, which also made it fair.
Dogenji Temple is not only harsh on the female masters' behavior and speech, but also has strict rules in terms of dressing. The female masters at Dogenji usually wear dyed clothes that are mainly gray in color, and brightly colored clothes are not allowed to appear.
Because wearing gray dyed clothes can reflect the simple style of the temple, not wearing colored clothes for women is also a performance of not being tied by desire, which is the real state of Buddhism without desire.
Some people may think that the rules and regulations set by Dogenji Temple are very strict, but others may wonder if these rules can really achieve the purpose of "cultivating one's body to cultivate one's mind".
Indeed, it does. For female masters who are dedicated to Buddhism, they have entered into the void, and all the four main things are empty. They are no longer attached to the worldly affairs, but only to study, realize, labor, meditate and meditate day after day, even forever.
Daoyuan Temple is through a variety of strict Buddhist laws, those objects that can cause desire completely isolated outside the temple, so that the female masters in the temple peace of mind to Buddha, in order to achieve eternal inner peace and calm, perhaps this is what we often say "no eye for a quiet heart" it!
Nowadays, this pure "women's temple" is attracting more and more women who are dedicated to Buddhism with its unique charm.
Although there are no cell phones, no computers, female masters do not giggle and gossip, do not get involved in money or savings, but here, everyone is following the choice of the heart, to do the real practice.
Year after year, day after day, meditation, classes, labor, the regular routine of getting up at two in the morning and going to bed at ten at night, seems boring but is a rare existence in a tedious world.
As the saying goes, "There is no one, no self, no beings". The Buddhist realm is about emptiness, and the realm of emptiness allows one to cut through the red world and reach the cultivation of forgetfulness.
It is because of these women masters' strict discipline and serious practice that they have formed a clear stream in the area. People who are disillusioned at work, those who have problems in their relationships, and some who have lost money in business come here to confess to the Buddha and ask the masters for assistance.
05 Keeping the door of the heart free from worldly constraints and persevering in the recitation of the "Eight Respectful Laws"
"Not to be disturbed by external things, not to be bound by the world." This phrase expresses the nature of Dogenji's cultivation to the fullest.
Anyone who is familiar with Buddhism should have heard of the "eight respects", which are the eight respects that a bhikkhuni should pay to a bhikkhu. It is still controversial that the Buddhist precepts "Eight Respectful Laws" are recited daily by the female masters of Dogenji Temple.
Why do you say so? Because from the perspective of modern open and equal thinking, many women believe that the "eight respects method" represents the traditional idea of male superiority over female.
And since Dogenji is a temple dominated by women, is there an insult to women and a trampling on their dignity if such scriptures revealing the idea of male superiority and female inferiority are recited every day? Wouldn't it be ridiculous to look at it from this perspective?
However, the female masters of Dogenji do not think so, they have their own views and opinions. The origins of the "Eight Honors Method" are limited by the times, and although some of the statements are contrary to modern women's advanced thinking, it also provided certain conditions for women's liberation in that era.
As a religious tradition, the female masters of Dogenji believe it has the need to be passed on.
What's more, in the minds of the female masters of Daoyuan Temple, to gain respect and recognition is not achieved by reciting Buddhist scriptures and precepts alone, but requires daily devotional practice, free from worldly external influences, keeping that pure land in one's heart, and cultivating one's body and mind in order to gain the respect of others.
Guided by this idea, Dao Yuan Temple is not troubled and influenced by external constraints, but keeps the door of the heart and follows the traditional culture, still strictly abides by the rules of the temple, insists on reciting the "Eight Respectful Laws", and they recite the commandments once every half month and go to Da Bei Temple to ask for the commandments.
Every day at 2:00 a.m., the female masters get up and start their day of practice, chanting, sitting in meditation, reciting the Buddha's name, listening to the Dharma, learning the precepts, chanting mantras and going out of the slope, everyone is fully engaged in the practice, always keeping the Dharma in mind.
06 Reflections of an ascetic, why would anyone want to become a monk?
In the eyes of many people, turning away from the world and going to the mountains to become a monk is a kind of cowardly, escapist and irresponsible performance.
Indeed, perhaps some people come here to escape emotions, some are to escape the pressure of reality, some are to hide from debts for refuge, they may not really be one heart to Buddha, let go of everything to disappear into the empty door.
But more people choose to come to Dogenji to find a peaceful place to stay for their empty minds.
In the real world, there is no shortage of million dollar a year workplace elite to disappear into the empty door, there are also talented students choose to give up the world, become a monk, the reason why they will make such a choice, most of them are in pursuit of their hearts that piece of pure land, hope to get the purification of the soul.
In their eyes, the daily chanting of the scriptures amidst the morning bell and evening drum, the search for the true goal of their practice, the touching of their true inner selves, the shedding of utilitarianism and brassiness, the bidding farewell to stress and anxiety, the peaceful repetition of one thing day after day in this landscape, such a life is enviable and even more fascinating.
This may be the highest state they seek, and only in a pure place like the temple, can rest the restless mind.
These people, like the female masters of Dogenji, even though they can only eat one meal a day, sleep only four hours a day, and cannot touch money for the rest of their lives, they face it openly, keep their original hearts, dare to cut off all emotions, and finally return to the realm of emptiness.
However, not everyone is able to understand this choice.
It was once lamented that it was a waste of human resources for people with high levels of learning to choose to become monks. This is not a good idea. Everyone can choose the life they want to live, and the hardships of monastic life are not something that ordinary people can bear and adapt to.
If you can keep your realm in such poverty and ask yourself to do so every day, isn't that another pursuit in life?
This persistent pursuit of a tranquil and distant life is a higher state of mind than all the things in the world. Of course, we do not need to worry that too many monks will affect human resources, after all, there are not many people who can withstand such harsh precepts.
In today's impetuous society, many young people are "Buddhist youth" to label themselves, do not fight, do not grab, no desire. This also shows the deep desire for spiritual purification in modern society.
From these people, it is easy to understand why every year there are people who are willing to leave the world behind and come to the tranquil temples to cultivate themselves, to become a monk is not to escape from the world, but to find their truest self. Even if the days are miserable and life goes on from week to week, it is not monotonous.
The female masters of Dogenji are proving to the world with their practical actions that those who have faith are never afraid of the world's eyes, and that they will face their hearts and find the answers to their lives.
 Global Network: Liaoning Daoyuan Temple monks and nuns begging for food along the national highway Nuns are famous for their clean practice
 Trace Buddhist website: Overview of Haicheng Doyuan Temple