After almost a year of construction work, the lower courtyards of the temple have re-opened to local people, who immediately resumed their games of Mahjong. The upper shrine will resume renovations in April, when Mr. Yang returns to work after a bad fall while working on a new house nearby. The work to be done includes a new roof for the Heavenly Emperor shrine, demolishing a rebuilding an earthquake damaged wall, as well as restoring the second floor to the Sakyamuni Buddha shrine courtyard, which will be used for meditation and study once complete.
Last week the temple also hosted a group of students from Hong Kong International School, who volunteered by cleaning up the temple, which it desperately needed. There are many opportunities for community service in Shaxi for international schools, who can volunteer teach, build greenhouses in remote Yi villages and help local farmers with planting and harvesting. There is ample classroom and meeting space at the Pear Orchard Temple, as well as an organic restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining. We can accommodate up to 30 students at the temple in one group and can arrange customized or tailored service learning programs, with students living with a Bai family at a traditional local homestay.