Zhi Nan Temple is a Taoist temple on the slopes of Houshan (Monkey Mountain) in Muzha, a suburb of Taipei, Taiwan. It was founded in 1882. The temple’s main deity is Lv Dongbin, one of the Eight Immortals.
Popular folklore holds that unmarried couples who visit the temple together will break up. One explanation is that Lv Dongbin, famous for his Taoist sexual prowess, can be counted upon to seduce any unmarried woman (older versions specify that she must be a virgin). Another is that since Lv Dongbin’s love for Immortal Woman He was unanswered, he is jealous of lovers.
Zhi Nan Temple is famous for its stairway of “1000” steps. (This is to the Yuanzhen Pond and the Tudigong shrine; the gate of the Chunyang Chapel requires a further 300 steps.)
I only walked down the 1300 steps after my visit to the temple because I took a bus route No. 530 all the way up to Zhi Nan Temple parking lot.
After I got off the bus, there’s still some steps to walk. On the way to the temple, I felt hungry and got some smelly tofu at this open-air food stall in a pavilion.
The oldest part of the temple is the Chunyang Chapel, constructed in 1890. Funding came from gold miners working in Jinshan. This shrine houses a statue of Lv Dongbin, founder of the Chunyang sect of Quanzhen (“Complete Perfection”) Taoism. The present statue was a 2002 gift from Zhi Nan’s “home temple,” Yongle Temple in Shanxi province.
Facing the Chunyang Chapel, to the left is the Lingxiao Chapel (built 1963-1966). The main deities are the Jade Emperor (on the top floor) and the Three Pure Ones (on the ground floor). Below these may be found the classrooms and offices of the China Taoism Institute, a Quanzhen seminary granting 2-year BA and MA degrees in Taoism.
Taoist nuns chanting on the ground floor in front of the Three Pure Ones.
Taoist priests chanting on the second floor. Above them is the Jade Emperor.
To the right of the Chunyang Chapel is the Buddhist-themed Daxiong Chapel (built 1973). A black statue of Sakyamuni Buddha was the gift of a Thai military officer who, while exiled to Taiwan, vowed to donate such a statue in the event that he returned to power.
Failed to find the Dacheng Chapel, dedicated to Confucius, I walked down along the stairway.
Fude shrine is the first building came into my view. It looks very ancient.
Zhi Nan Bridge is right in front of the shrine.
You can easily spot some fresh water turtles, fish and birds at the pond.
Along the stairway, you can also see many stone statues donated by temple followers.