The Eternal Jinshan Temple

2021 / 4K / feature / AR 16:9 / China

Jinshan Temple is a Buddhist temple located in Wulongjiang River of Fuzhou, Fujian — the city where I grew up. It is the only Buddhist temple on the water in China, which dates back to the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279), almost a thousand years from today.

Since Jinshan Temple is on the water, numerous observant Buddhist believers often converge here to perform a rite known as fangsheng, or “life release", which refers to the practice of saving animals from captivity — thereby sparing them the suffering of slaughter — and releasing them into the wild. They believe this is a beneficence and can improve their karma.

In this film, I tried to study this space through ecology, geography and folklore, to form a slice of the history of this eternal artificial architecture. A gopro camera was tied to a turtle that was released in the river to inspect the underwater space of the temple.