A centuries’ old Buddhist temple in Chongqing is about to become part of a luxury “bathhouse” complex. News of the temple’s fate is currently circulating around the Chinese blogosphere. The following is one netizen’s view, selectively translated by CDT:
A brief introduction to the Beibei Wenquan Temple in Chongqing: the Wenquan temple and its first master were established in the first year of the Northern and Southern Dynasties (423 A.D.), and is linked to the Mahayana sect. It has gone through the tides of great changes through the Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties. … Past notable figures include Hui Guan, Cheng Pin, Chang Tai, Da Fang, Xiang Yan, Long Shu, and so on. The Wenquan temple is a famous temple in the area, having thorough teachings and traditional instruction on Buddhist thought.
重庆北碚温泉寺简介：温泉寺于慈应禅师创建于南北朝景平元年（公元423年），属大乘佛教临济宗。历经唐、宋、元、明、清，沧桑兴废 … 历代高僧有慧灌、成聘、常泰、大方、香延、隆树等。温泉寺为川东名刹，教化四方之所，传承法脉之地。
Recently however, the temple’s auspicious location has attracted some attention, and some desire to transform the temple into Chongqing’s largest relaxation and vice establishment, or a “bathhouse.” Several moneyed and coarse capitalists, in collusion with corrupt local officials, have staged the world’s biggest joke: it uses the Wenquan temple as its building material, a bathhouse as its front, and prostitution as its aim.
The temple received some pro bono counsel from those who tried to understand their situation. But in my decades of experiences in this society, they don’t have much hope; it’s inconceivable that they’d get very far. Perhaps after one phone call, the shadow of their simple lives could disappear without a trace.
The Religious Affairs Management has used “inspection” as an excuse, persisting in disrupting the temple’s normal order.
These are some precious [Song Dynasty] Buddhist cultural artifacts. Take one more look at them — they are hidden by the large road to the bathhouse, and no one knows what their fate will be.
The final era of culture. Aside from the government’s influence, what else will we sacrifice on the road for our so-called economic development? After 100 years, how will later generations criticize our period of history?
Aside from seriously hurting the Buddhists’ feelings, the cover-up of the illegal behavior ironically coincides with the second session of the World Buddhist Forum in Wuxi. Thousands of monks from 56 countries will assemble to talk about “Harmonious Society, Unity of the Multitudes.” This is a serious provocation of the country’s religious policies and Buddhist interests!
The regional authority’s important “written comments,” that was authorization for the [bathhouse plan] implementation.
Do you dare to look upon the State Council’s religious policies?
Update: We have changed the headline and introduction to this post, which previously implied that the entire temple would be demolished. We thank Xujun Eberlein for pointing this out, and for providing additional details about the fate of the Beibei Wenquan Temple.