A Caution to Give Equal Offerings to the Gods at Xianglongsi
The Xianglongsi Temple (Incense Burner Temple) is perched on a bank above the mighty Yellow River in Jiaxian City (Yulin Prefecture) Shaanxi Province, China. Several small buildings, each with a different shrine, make up the temple. I visited twice, and one time the caretaker told me that someone had left offerings only at the main temple for the Buddha. The next day at the tiniest shrine for the Land God (traditional folk religion), there was an enormous snake all coiled up inside it. The caretaker said the Land God was mad that he didn’t get the same offerings as the Buddha. So the caretaker put an offering in the shrine himself, and the next day the snake had gone. Therefore be warned, he said: if you present any offering or burn any incense in the main temple, don't forget to do so at the smaller shrine also. In the photo, the Land God's shrine is the miniature white structure in the corner, jutting out onto the rock a little between the two brick walls.
Jiaxian City is a little off the typical traveler's path, but there are several interesting features in this small (by Chinese standards) town, and the Xianglongsi Temple is perhaps the most charming.