Chu Jeu: Jade Emperor Reborn

Nicholas Quirke was excited to be on a mission on 20 February 2021 the Birthday of the Jade Emperor,. Highly revered in taoist belief, also known as the Yù Huáng or Yù Dì, he is identified as the God of Heaven, the Ruler of all Heavens (of which the Chinese have over 30), Earth and the Underworld, Creator of the Universe, later the Emperor of the Universe, and Lord of the Imperial Court. Supposedly born several millennia before our era as the offspring of the King of the Pure Felicity Kingdom of Lofty Heavenly Majestic Lights and Ornaments and of the Empress of Precious Moonlight. It was day nine of the Spring Festival and in China he auspicious anniversary suggested a temple visit. He had not yet been to Dongyue Temple in Chaoyangmen and founded in the Yuan Dynasty where the important deity was served. The temperature had improved dramatically and it really felt like spring was here, the air was fresh and the skies were blue and he felt full of energy and inspired to cycle. He had hoped that he would get in free but he had to pay 10 yuan for the privilege of seeing its beautiful interior and treasures. The temple probably has more gods than any other temple in Beijing. It serves over 3,000 Chinese gods, from the most prestigious Jade Emperor, the emperor in heaven, and Dongyue, the god for the Tai Mountain to inferior gods like the god of builders and contractors. He could not resist finding a point to touch and absorb the wisdom of the locust tree which had stood there for over 800 years. Surrounding the central courtyard was a succession of small open rooms that display an ensemble of plaster statues depicting the wings of the Taoist pantheon. Although the original statues in the ante-chambers had disappeared during the chaos of the Cultural Revolution and all but five were replicas, their presence and titles were still stimulating and quite amazing. Among his favourites were ‘Department of Judging Intentions’, ‘Department of Halting destruction of Living Beings’, Department of Opposing Obscene Acts’ and ‘Department of Wandering Ghosts’, who are those poor souls who have committed to many crimes and since they are homelessness could do harm to the human world. As with many temples they still functioned and he was impressed to see the devout giving time and prayer to everyone of the seventy six stations. With over 100 tablets to view along with the statues and the Folklore museum he felt quite drained by the end of his visit. He had arranged to meet Peng at ‘The little Nap cafe’ in Galaxy Mall where they whiled away the afternoon working and drinking tea before going to Jinbao Mall for a delicious meal Shang Goa at The Spice Pot. They were in need of something sweet and cold to refresh their taste buds but could find nothing suitable in the vicinity to eat and settled for as bowl of glutinous rice balls when they got home. It had been another long day and it’s ended with a complete change of pace in the movie department when they watched a really touching drama/documentary film ‘Nomadland’ focussing on some of Americas’ dispossessed with a message to all the brave people who rise to the challenge and go out and just live the life they want, A very touching film. He felt something of the Nomad about his own current situation and reflecting on his aspirations and place in the world helped him drift into another nights slumber.

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