Devout Chinese Ascetic Nuns Live a Peripatetic Life of Hardship


From Sohu:

Ascetic Nuns’ Life Of Pilgrimage

Daoyuan Temple of Haicheng Liaoning is a strict discipline nunnery in China. This temple is composed entirely of women. The nuns practice Buddhism at the Dabei Temple in Haicheng Liaoning and belongs to the same Guiyang School of Zen Buddhism as the Dabei Temple.


According to reports, the Haicheng Daoyuan Temple, much like the Haicheng Dabei Temple, money is forbidden for all the nuns, they must abide by the Buddha’s precepts and never touch money, never collect money. The photo shows [the nuns] holding a monk staff, carrying incense burner, walking outside in the early dawn.


Their temple does not have a donation box, they do not deal in business. All the nuns eat only once at noon and sleep 4 hours a day. They mediate for the length it takes to burn 5 incense. The photo shows them walking in the rain.


Every year after the mid-autumn festival, they must go on a 2 week long pilgrimage (Angya), during this journey they practice begging, only to beg for food, not money.


During the journey, they do not live in hotels, people’s homes, or temples, they live outside. The photo shows the nuns at rest, with bystanders watching.


Daoyuan Temple nuns began their pilgrimage tradition in 2000, begging for food on their journey each year for the past 15 years.


Today, Daoyuan Temple nuns have already walked across Liaoning, Hebei, Jilin, Heilongjiang and other provinces. The photo shows the nuns on the road braving the wind.


On the road they met faithful worshipers.


The photo shows the nuns on the pilgrimage, curious pedestrians stop to watch.



On the road, when they discover animals killed by cars, they nuns will shove it up and bury it, so that they can put an end to its resentment, and cultivate compassion.


The nuns stood dignified, holding ceremonies taking in refuge and freeing animals.


The believers they meet on their journey will bring sentient beings saved from butchering, and the nuns will then hold ceremonies to release these animals. The Daoyuan Temple abbot conducts the ceremony.


Meditation during rest.


According to Buddhist precepts, they only beg for food, not money.


After begging for food, the nuns will dump out the food and give it to the “jingren”.


After begging for food, the nuns will each sit down, fast and chant in accord with the number and duration outlined in the precepts.


Nun reading Sutra.


Writing journal.


Sew torn robes, after a long time it became a robe full of patches.


Pick up leaves, draw pictures and write Sutras.


The Buddhist instrument that must be brought during the pilgrimage – the Buddhist Staff.


Writing journal.


Setting up their sleeping bag and preparing to rest.

Comments on Sohu:


This reminds me of the Shaolin Temple.


These are the real monks respected by the people! Are those in the Shaolin Temple real monks? Forget it, so disgusting!

小眼镜 [搜狐云南省文山壮族苗族自治州网友]:

Shaolin Temple’s incense cost at least 900 yuan, so fake. I suggest people to not go.


In the past I didn’t take notice, now I know it is real because I am from Haicheng. I know that this temple really don’t have a donation box, anyone can come to the temple to live and fast. They don’t charge any money and if you have difficulties the temple will help you. I experienced this firsthand, when I tried to donate money they will reject it. Later I bought vegetable oil and noodles, they even asked that the noodles not be made from eggs.


In today’s society, to have such deep faith is rare and commendable!

怀抱 [搜狐福建省龙岩市网友]:

I finally found out China have a temple that exist for the practice of Buddhism!

车工尤里尤拉 [搜狐黑龙江省佳木斯市网友]:

Their adherence to their faith is commendable, but if everyone live like this and stop producing and constructing, where does the food come from? Then this faith will lose its foundation.

阿法美沙朵 [搜狐福建省福州市网友]:

Looking back at the fat headed Shi Yongxin [abbot at Shaolin], and his Shaolin disciples who perform around the world, what have they turned into…

心空1927在搜狐 [搜狐广东省广州市网友]:

These are real nuns and monks, not like certain temples that ask for money the moment you enter.


Faith?! Bread doesn’t rain from the sky, snow does. Food comes from sweat reaped from the fields. Begging for food? That’s other people’s sweat and labor. A bunch of lazy and gluttonous hags, first they insult civilization; second, they trample on society.

搜狐新闻客户端网友 [搜狐湖北省武汉市网友]:

There are too few people like this in China! A hundred million believers will lead to national harmony! Money is the root of all evils!!!

高谈阔论 [搜狐安徽省芜湖市网友]:

I suddenly feel commercialized temples like the Shaolin Temple is disgusting! Truly disgusting! Going to court just to ask for ticket money, what are the goals for becoming monks? To make money?

搜狐新闻客户端网友 [搜狐山东省威海市网友]:

This is the faith that present day Chinese people lack! What is faith? Faith is the inner force that cannot be expressed or replaced by material, it is not superstition, it is the nourishment for one’s spirit.

搜狐新闻客户端网友 [搜狐河南省郑州市网友]:

Shaolin Temple monks only live to make money.


Written by Joe

Joe is a documentary producer and journalist based in Shanghai


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