Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/255

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197
OMEI SHAN, THE SACRED

many hours in my room, tending the fire in the brazier, or playing with Jack, or munching the sweetmeats with which I was kept supplied. They were nice little lads and did not bother me, and rarely did any one else disturb my quiet; it was such a comfort after the living in public of the last month.

The second morning of my stay I attended an early service in the lower temple near my room. Some twelve monks took part; one, the abbot, was a large, fine-looking man, and all had rather agreeable faces, quite unlike the brutal, vicious look of the lamas of Tachienlu. There was much that recalled the ritual of the Roman Catholic Church,—processions, genuflexions, chanting, burning of incense, lighting of candles, tinkling of bells,—all centring round a great figure of Sakyamuni. The words I could not understand, but the reverent expression on the monks' faces, their orderly bearing as they circled slowly round, keeping always the bared right shoulder toward the image, made the service very impressive in spite of the pranks of the little acolytes and the loud talk of passing men and women.

In turn I visited the near-by temples, but few were of any special interest. The hilltop has been burnt over several times, the last time within a generation, and all the buildings on the summit are of recent date. The most famous of all, the great bronze temple dating from the fifteenth century, which after being