Yu Xiang TempleSimple folk and a simple life. They’re Bai, layman, nominally Buddhist with lots of other elements. How did they all get here? They just seemed to have ended up here. Asked if the officials interfere with the running of the temple one old guy with a quick smile says, ‘If I say they do, they don’t; if I say they don’t, they do.’ Donations have supplied a lot of new figures—a laughing Buddha, a Quan-yin, a Sleeping Buddha— with the vague hope of some tourists and pilgrims coming, but no one’s overly concerned about it. The blue robed, grizzled, slightly worldly abbot says the officials interfere but don’t give him any money (he’s also the head of the danwei). But that doesn’t bother him much he smiles. An open porch with a wood stove for boiling water at one end and a table and stools for tea for guests at the other end. A good sized welcoming enclave lined with chairs with well worn cushions and weathered inexpensive reproductions of good poems on the walls. Nothing seems very deliberate and their ready smiles and good nature and good cheer seem a matter of luck and happenstance. The women of the kitchen where we have lunch have worn faces that reflect good hearts. Up the cliff in one of the oldest pavilions above and behind a refurbished one are three old worn figures probably from the influence of Song: Lao-zi on the left, Buddha in the middle and Confucius on the right. Perhaps that is the wisdom that makes the place so much a song out of Tao Yuan-ming’s heart.