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.


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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

  • Joe

    Meanwhile, Shaolin Temple abbot just hit level 97 on CandyCrush

    • terroir

      If candy crushes itself in the forest, and even if no one hears it, is this an in-app purchase and do I have to keep paying in installments?

    • DC

      I’ll see that Iphone and up you a Private Jet

  • mr.wiener

    Cool story. If you are going to be devote do it right without the fakery.

  • vonskippy

    Self delusion at it’s finest. What type of person would not only make up some mythology, but make the rules of said mythology force you to deny all human comfort. The human mind can be oh so warped and bizarre. All religion is a virus that needs to be stamped out NOW.

    • mr.wiener

      You are quite right , How dare they turn their backs on technology and the lives most people lead in China and instead embrace a simple life of selflessness and piety….The fools!

      • vonskippy

        There are all types of viruses, some benign and others deadly. Just because the nun’s are harmless doesn’t mean the methodology behind their self delusion is also harmless. Never trust anyone that makes up their own rules and then changes them whenever they feel like it (like the Vatican does).

        • Amused

          Wait, these are Catholic Buddhists???

          • terroir

            Yes, they’re the ones who feel guilty over nothing.

        • Zappa Frank

          than trust no one..

        • mr.wiener

          I would not care to live in a society was the only law was the word of god, or budda, or the prophet, or the profit.…or the narrow intepretations of the above by many centuries of their most conservative accolytes… but there is room within a society for people who want to believe this, provided they don’t try to force their beliefs on others.

          • Allah Akbar!

          • vonskippy

            I think it was Heinlein that once said “Religion is like masturbation – best done in private, and be sure to wash your hands when finished”. Although your wish for a benevolent religion is nice, it’s such a slippy slope I doubt it will ever happen.

          • mr.wiener

            So ban all religion?
            Religion must know it’s place in a modern society, which is no longer holding the steering wheel. We should not trust popes and priests to rule us, but we should be sceptical of all that would rule us …and they must be answerable.
            Don’t knock masterbation,it’s the only time I get to be with someone I really love..
            ~Woody Allen.

          • Irvin

            “so ban all religion?”

            Why not? We have one time or another ban things that are harmful to our society like drugs. While religion isn’t harmful to our productivity like drugs, it IS harmful to our thoughts and logics.

          • mr.wiener

            …and the war on drugs has been such a success.

          • Irvin

            Even if we eat today, tomorrow we’ll go hungry again, doesn’t mean we should stop eating.

          • mr.wiener

            There is no logic at all in that comparison.

          • Irvin

            yes it does.

          • David

            Actually he said that about writing, not religion.

        • A Touch of Sin

          That’s called Calvinball.

        • I agree that you need to be a little skeptical today, but since we are not perfect beings, when we do not have all the answers, hopefully we can turn to something/someone who won’t mislead us.
          Right or wrong – I suspect most people rely on religion or government tremendously.

          The government tells you to give them all your Gold and Silver, that you must take certain immunizations, that Fluoride in the water won’t harm you….
          The concept of “Sheeple” came from the Bible because the majority of people were the same, are the same and will be the same and probably why the rich and powerful think there are too many of us on the planet today

          • Irvin

            Try turning to yourself, why do you insist you have to believe in someone or something?

            You do not trust yourself to find out that stealing from others is unproductive to both party until you read from a silly book that tells you “thou shall not steal from thy neighbour”?

            You are not a sheep, you are human, you do not need a Shepherd. All you need is not believe in crazy shit.

          • You have ALL the answers Irvin?

            If yes, awesome, I will consult you before making my next investment.
            If not, those are the times I was referring to.

            I never said I blindly followed a church or a government, but a LOT of people do.

          • Irvin

            Why do you need me to have all the answers? It’s ok to not know everything, what’s crazy alleviating ignorance with lies.

      • Irvin

        Technology is what pivot our civilization to betterment, take for example electricity, without it you or I wouldn’t be posting on these forums.

        Religion is believing in crazy shit that makes other people depressed and doesn’t really do anything that further our advancement.

        I’ll say, instead believing in crazy shit and hope for enlightenment, go a build a fucking light bub.

        • mr.wiener

          I wonder how many people would actually know how to build a light bulb if civilization were to collapse?…

          • A Touch of Sin

            I’ve been searching for a book along those lines, “how to rebuild civilization or at least survive without one”. It would include all the basic, yet ingenious inventions that often took centuries to discover. For instance the Middle Ages occurred, while China flourished, because of the invention of an angled plow and a machine which separates husk from grains in China but not in Europe. If civilization collapses, who among us would think to design such a thing. How to form iron from ore? Where does one get ore? Such a book does not exist, I shall write it.

          • You raise a very good point. I think about this sometimes because it drives home How LITTLE we know about so much.
            The systems and infrastructure that are in place now are being maintained by people who understand how to do those specific tasks, but rely on someone else for parts and expertise to do their jobs. Operating a power plant is very different from designing and manufacturing all of the items required to make that power plant operational.
            This is why so much of the USA looks like Detroit today and becomes a downward spiral. All those specialists and tradesman are being lost because all of those jobs are being outsourced. Peoples last names used to be tied to their craft/trade. You can already see how far we’ve fallen. What expertise or trade do most people have today?

          • mr.wiener

            Sounds like a good read.

          • I can make one for you, but the problem is that something so “simple” requires so much “technology” and support to make it as reliable as they are today. That is the amazing thing today is how well things are built today vs. even 30 years ago…

          • Irvin

            I reckon those nuns would only pray for one.

        • interesting example Irvin…
          you can’t see it – so how would people know it was there?
          Electricity existed 200 years ago, but not understood or harnessed.
          People are DRIVEN by only a few emotions, with fear being at the top. Without rationale explanations, religion filled those voids of the unknown.
          It still fills a similar role for a majority of people on Earth

          • Ryo Saeba

            And that is one of the main problems of religion: making up “rationale” explanations. If they would admit they just have no idea about something, maybe people would actually take them a little more serious.

            Personally, I believe religion was created by someone smarter then the rest of the folks to control them and to get everything s/he desired. Somewhere it just got out of hand and more followers were coming out faster then these “smart” people can control them. To this day, there are still scams (faith healing) going around and you can just see most of those in the audience are pretty much Walmart shoppers.

          • I understand what you are saying. I wonder if everything today is created to keep the majority of us in line…
            The movie the Matrix does a very good job expounding this train of thought
            I think the Bible has some very good parables/stories that can help people to live a better life, but I have a very difficult time accepting that it is the TRUE WORD of GOD…
            I have friends who will not accept any arguments not based in “The Word of God” and I think that is foolish. Now, I acknowledge there is a chance they could be right and I could be wrong, but in this specific example, I think it is a low probability
            Perhaps I am wrong, but I think all of these powers in control have their own agendas and should not be blindly believed/followed

          • plorf

            Not really true in parts of Buddhism. Many actually teach that the after-life is an unknowable unknown, and that it’s a waste of time speculating what happens after death because humans cannot achieve that knowledge. Many strands of Buddhism are much more philosophies focussing on the now and here than making up some fairy tales.

        • Mateusz82

          Without technology, we wouldn’t be able to kill every living thing on this plant several times over in a nuclear holocaust. Here’s the thing: Technology is neither awesome not apocalyptic. It’s a tool.

          Also, those nuns don’t really make me depressed… I know straw man arguments are designed to be easily defeated, but at least put some effort into yours.

          Also, you walked into it, but you not being able to post on these forums hardly sounds like a loss to humanity.

    • Honibaz

      Manipulating a person’s insecurities are a key to religious control. In Islam men are so insecure about losing their “power” to women that they have to force their wives to cover up in public and not allow women to go outside without a male companion.

    • RickyBeijing

      I think it’s real to them. I agree that most religion is unnecessary, but stamping it out is a bit ridiculous. Some people struggle with daily life, with money, health, suffering, age, and they need religion to get through the day and survive. Old people get closer to god as their mortality becomes a reality, as with sick people.

      The feelings these women get from this are real to them, we should respect that, much in the way we should accept and respect any peace seeking group.

    • Irvin

      I’ve been saying that for years now, religion is a plague that need to be eradicated before we as a specie can progress.

      • Mateusz82

        You mean like it has been eradicated in China, North Korea, and how the USSR and Khmer Rouge also fought to eliminate religion. Please, tell me, how did these great civilizations progress?

        • Honibaz

          The authoritarian communist regimes in history claim to be “atheist”, but the cult of personality established around its leaders makes obedience to the leader equivalent to obedience to a religious figure.

          • Mateusz82

            Ah, you’re playing the “No True Scotsman” fallacy. Got it.

        • Irvin

          China didn’t eliminate religion, it replaced it with their own, it becomes a state religion.

          • Mateusz82

            Actually, atheism is China’s state religion. It used to be mandatory that Chinese political leaders all were atheist, and they mostly are, but some are allowed to be theist, as long as they’re quiet about it. Officially, though, they are atheist.

            I’m sorry if the facts don’t fit what you want them to be. Facts can be ornery like that.

          • Irvin

            Just because they call it that doesn’t make it real, what they did was required people to have no former religion or denounce their former religion, but china IS a state religion.

            Just go to beijing and watch tv there for a few hours, you can’t watch a single program without propaganda ads. The party is the religion.

          • Mateusz82

            Atheism is the state religion. You’re changing the goal posts, trying to make the facts fit your preconceived notions. You can’t accept that China is officially atheist, so when it’s presented that China is officially atheist, you try to explain it away.

          • Irvin

            You can say china has become partially atheistic and you will be partially correct, but you can’t be more wrong if you think china has always been and is now a true atheistic state.

            When Mao tried to wipe out other religion, he’s trying to insert himself as the new religion. After he passed, the party took his place.

            This isn’t explaining away, I’m stating a fact and in doing so delivers you from your ignorance and you should be grateful, by reading and absorbing my post you’re become less stupid than you previously are.

          • Mateusz82

            I can state China is officially atheist, and I would be right. You can try to explain away with goalpost moving, and you would be engaging in logical fallacy. The official religion is atheism. Mao explicitly persecuted theistic religions, and considered them “feudal superstition”, and even today, “Spreading superstition” is a (notably vague) crime.

            Basically, you’re trying to say that it’s not really atheist, because you don’t like an example of how atheism isn’t the light and the way.

            Your posts only display your arrogance and fanaticism, which you use to cover up your ignorance. Despite your inflated self opinion, your posts add nothing in terms of enlightenment. The ease of disproving your statements provides little challenge.

          • Irvin

            I’ll say you’re an idiot and I’ll be correct.

          • Mateusz82

            No, you’ll be just resorting to an ad hominem attack, another logical fallacy (though, if those are all you have to bolster your claims, might as well go with what you know).

    • Mateusz82

      Congratulations… I can’t tell if that post was satire, or genuine extremism.

    • Saddha

      Retard! So you’ve studied science eh? You couldn’t understand the 4 Noble Truths is a recursive Algorithm and that The Noble Eightfold Path actually already won a Nobel Prize in physics — The Eightfold Way. Buddhism is the true religion. Every other religion came from quacks!

      You seem to be another quack who knows little about science or true religion.

    • Zennoby

      I’m so glad you are not deluded. This is truly a rarity!
      Most people require long practice to overcome the delusions immanent in being human. It is heartening to hear that you have reached a level of no-delusion that allows you to judge someone that still has such a hard path ahead of them.
      Go well.

  • Amused

    I’ve been comparing these chicks’ pictures with the penguins who taught me in school and have come to several conclusions.
    1. Being man-butt fugly seems to be a near universal nunly trait.
    2. Looking really happy, like you just swallowed a turd is universal too.
    3. Making yourself as miserable as possible in front of other people in order to
    make yourself feel superior is also universal.
    4. I’m not sure whether a wearing a habit or shaving dots in your head is less
    attractive, but I’m leaning toward the dotheads…
    5. These Asian broads seem much more hardcore= I don’t think I’ve ever seen a
    Western nun toting a backpack.

    And I’m left with one question.
    I wonder if they almost all hate children like the Western nuns I knew did?

    • Zappa Frank

      for a nun that hate there’s a priest that love

    • ClausRasmussen

      >> Being man-butt fugly seems to be a near universal nunly trait

      Pic #14 (the one captioned “Meditation during rest”) disprove you. There is a lot of beauty there, it is almost a piece of art

  • This is a very common mistake…
    Money is Not the root of all Evil.
    It is the LOVE of Money that is the root of Evil

    • Irvin

      Nah, ignorance is the root of all evil. Which is what these bald headed fools based their believes on: Faith, which is to believe in something without proof or reason, yet they’re so proud of it they have the audacity to brag “you must have faith!”

      Oh gimme a fucking break!

      • mr.wiener

        Freedom is also the right to have faith in something. If I were in a nasty mood I could pick holes on the bible… but unless some twit is trying to convert me to his church I will not, as mocking someone elses harmless faith (if harmless) is very rude.

        • vonskippy

          I think the debate is in whether or not any type of religion can be labeled “harmless”. The delusional self puffery, the holier then tho nonsense, removes the “harmlessness” from religion. Best to make fun of, poke with a dull stick, then publicly shame and shun them is my philosophy for dealing with any and all types of religion. Otherwise the hypocrisy will never end.

          • mr.wiener

            In your hatred of the religious extreme you have become their polar opposite…the zealous athiest. I will stay with being an agnostic.

          • Irvin

            It’s a common phenomenon that in slaying the monster we becomes a monster ourselves, I am grateful for vonskippy’s sacrifice in the name of atheism, somebody gotta do something before anothe jim jones arrives.

          • Mateusz82

            “Best to make fun of, poke with a dull stick, then publicly shame and
            shun them is my philosophy for dealing with any and all types of

            Well, that’s totally not self-puffery and holier than tho (sic) nonsense.

          • ClausRasmussen

            >> The delusional self puffery, the holier then tho nonsense

            Those are common human flaws, you can find similar in any subculture of society

          • Irvin

            Yes they are human flaws, but religion isn’t curing it, it’s nurturing and enabling it.

          • plorf

            Why stop there? Just make religions illegal and detain anyone who dares to disobey. And now back to the topic of China..

        • Free Man

          Freedom is also the right to be left alone with stuff like “you have to follow jesus/mohammed/buddha, or you gonna go to hell/will be reborn as a worm”. Let them have their freedom as much as they like. Run around as they wish and talk to people as they wish. But if someone tells them/you/whoever to leave him alone with religion, then please give him a fucking break. Even if its a humble virgin with a white dress, a halo, and white doves shitting on her shoulders.

        • JayJay

          hear hear

        • Irvin

          Ignorance is never harmless, it may not do direct harm to you personally, but that’s a selfish way of looking at what is “harmful”.

      • Life is difficult and before science could explain a lot of things, people relied on their religion as a catch all for all these unknown mysteries.
        Imagine how difficult life used to be for people…so When life sucked that badly, maybe all they had was some faith it would all lead to something better and society supported that because they didn’t want them to revolt when they found out, “yes, your life will be difficult, then it’s time for a dirt nap”

        BTW, I was saying the quote from the comments above was the frequent mistake. God/The Bible does not say Money in itself is Evil.

        • David

          Well,they had faith it would get better and it did, so explain to my why they were wrong?

          • Sorry, who was wrong?
            Faith in a high power and a better life is a good thing as long as you are able to recognize the difference between angels and demons (real vs. false). We cannot expect ourselves to have the answer to every “riddle”. At some point, we will need to make decisions and take actions based on “Faith” in something higher than ourselves.
            Who knows how long we are here and it is much more enjoyable to focus on “better” if you can. Like the Little Train that could.

      • David

        And what proof do you have that they are wrong and you are right. You sound awfully sure for a person who does not have all the answers. Perhaps there is room in your life for a little less hubris.

        • “There are no Atheists in Foxholes”

          When I was 19, I had all the answers….As I’ve grown older, I have come to realize how little I know about so many things!

        • Irvin

          Not having all the answers doesn’t give you an excuse to believe in crazy shit.

          • David

            Fair enough, but not having any answers does not give you the right to call it crazy shit. What gives you that right is freedom of speech (which most countries have some form of). In the U.S. it is the same amendment which grants freedom of religion.

          • Irvin

            Religion is crazy shit, oops I did it again.

    • donscarletti

      Of course, I’m sure that when these nuns meditate for time it takes to burn 5 incense sticks, day after day, year after year, this has never come across their minds.

      You should go explain all this to them, I’m sure they’ll realize what they’ve been doing wrong all this time, change into a miniskirt and heels and jump into your car.

      • Wouldn’t be the first time Don…
        Life’s a journey – Live and Learn
        BTW, my comment about “money” was in response to a comment from the article above

  • terroir

    “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.”

    It’s not unlike like when a boss is given a job to shove, such that the employee may be unfettered from the tyranny of work.

    (I think there’s a bit about how nuns carry portable shovels with them)

  • post.human

    God bless them. Arhats.

  • damnarama

    In one of the captions it says they give food to the “jingren” 净人. What is that? I tried looking online but couldn’t find anything

    • Don’t Believe the Hype

      the “clean,” or “pure” probably. They may referring to those who are purified by their faith.

    • ClausRasmussen

      I wondered the same. My very limited Chinese skills translate it to “clean person” and a Google image search yields some pictures of buddhist monks, so maybe its just a way of saying “monk”

      I’ve come into the habit of using Google image search for translating Chinese, it is often easier and faster than dictionaries

  • KamikaziPilot

    Ehhh, to each their own I guess. As long as they’re not hurting anyone I can’t say anything bad about them, even though I question their logic of spending their life this way. A few of them look pretty young. What if there is no afterlife like they think. I wonder what convinced them to take this path? Bad circumstances in their pre-nun life?

  • Escalante

    It’s kind of funny how often science is often pitted against religion, especially by the know-it-alls on this forum. Seems to me, no matter how much science will explain, it will just inevitably circle back to a notion of creation. When all our HOWS are answered, next comes the big WHY. Just watched “Interstellar” recently, and I loved the line where the father tells his daughter, “science is about admitting what we don’t know.” It occurs to me that a belief system, whether it be religious or scientific (which are not necessarily exclusive), is like a light source. People throughout time have needed to see through the darkness. People need something bright to look at to get through life. One belief system is like candle, another is like a lantern, another is like a bonfire. Maybe all atheism propped up by science is something like the fluorescent light bulb. Regardless, no matter how much light you shed upon the darkness there may never be enough to see it all. All of these belief systems require energy. To those atheists who would just yank religion away from the theists without a thought, what energy source have you given to them that will eradicate their turning to their archaic light source that burns (metaphorical) fossil fuels? This I will say for the nuns, I commend how small their (literal) environmental footprints are. Science has shown us how important that is.

  • Irvin

    Don’t make me laugh! no matter how many schools they opened or how many homeless they sheltered, without technology, society would still be in the same shit hole it was since religion was created.

  • Paul Schoe

    Not indulging yourself in any luxuries. Using only the base essentials of what you need for living. Usually (of course) combined with strict discipline otherwise you are quickly tempted by othjer things that the world has to offer.

    • Dolph Grunt

      Thanks, I knew there had to be a smart one out there! :)

  • Vernon Alarcon Jr.

    dem womans juss needs sum thick black snake to set dem on da rite path …..