First and fore most: Happy Mother's Day!
This is the front door of Soul's Retreat Temple(SR Temple,aka Lingyin Temple),but it was closed when we got there, you might wonder why, well, will you be surprised if I tell you this door, this magnificent front door, has been closed for years and all the tourists are only allowed to enter the temple through the side-gate, unless you are the emperor or the head of states. I heard the last time that it fully opened was for Chairman Mao's arrival, and even the highly-admired Premier Chou(aka Zhou Enlai) was greeted by a semi-opened gate. Aha..it's really picky,right?
But this gate was not closed until the secret visit of Emperor Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty, here's a really interesting story, I don't know if it's true but that's what we were told by the tourist guide.
It took me almost an hour to translate this story, still, it's pretty sketchy and poorly organized. But I'd like to take it as a gift for my mom and all the moms who see this story. May Buddha bless you~
During Emperor Qianlong's secret inspection tour(trip intended to inspect the livelihood of his people without informing any people of his arrival) in the southern China, Emperor Qianlong visited the SR temple at midnight, as you can imagine, all the monks had slept except a gatekeeper, and the front gate was closed with only a side-gate open for midnight lodgers.
Without knowing whom he's talking to, the gatekeeper refused to open the front gate for Qianlong and told the emperor the door would not open even if the epmeror was here.
Being the emperor of this country, Emperor Qianlong should, by no means, walk the side-door.
Without any alternatives, however, Emperor Qianlong, took the side path and the next day he made up a decent excuse to save his face, asking the leader of the temple to shut down the front door(aka the east gate) lest the divinity atmosphere of this temple(located in the eastern China) leak from this east gate.
There are two other occasions for the open of the front gate, one is the birthday of Avalokitesvara(a buddha), the other is the shuffling of the temple leader.
And it is considered to be a great great luck if you happen to be there the day it opens.^^