The Dragon King Temple, located in Suyu County, Jiangsu Province, was built in the early Ming Dynasty, and had its heyday during the Qing Dynasty. Ancient Qing emperors often visited the temple to worship. Thus, it became a royal temple, and was adorned magnificently. Huge amounts of gold, jade, and precious materials were placed in the temple. Compared with other temples, it was unchallenged.
Here is a story about the temple’s Emerald Buddha:
In 1929, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) troops led by Yue Jijun came to Suyu County to crack down on the Great Sword Society. As they passed by the Dragon King Temple, a battalion commander was fascinated by the exquisite beauty of the Emerald Buddha statue, which was placed in the Cishan Hall of the temple for worshipping.
In an attempt to make the statue his own, he ordered his soldiers to remove it from the altar. As they moved the statue outside, they felt it become heavier and heavier. Finally, they were unable to move the statue any further. The soldiers were shocked, and reported this to the commander instantly.
The commander did not believe this and ordered more soldiers to assist. Finally, the Emerald Buddha was hauled away from the temple. As they got closer to the God of Fire Temple, which is not far away from the Dragon King Temple, the statue suddenly became so heavy that no matter how many people there were, they could not lift it up anymore.
Some soldiers were frightened, saying that the Emerald Buddha had mysterious power. Upon seeing this situation, the commander dared not move the statue any further.
The local elders told the commander that perhaps the Emerald Buddha did not want to leave that place. The commander believed the situation was so magical that he became determined to follow the natural course of Heaven and said:
“Since the Emerald Buddha is unwilling to leave here, let’s place it in the God of Fire Temple for people to worship!”
The local people welcomed the commander’s suggestion. They tried to lift the statue up again, and to their surprise it became very light. Finally, the Emerald Buddha was settled in the God of Fire Temple. This magical event was soon widely spread among the people, and from then on the God of Fire Temple was bustling with pilgrims.
During the Cultural Revolution, some people where brainwashed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to believe in nothing but the CCP. As a result, the Dragon King Temple was destroyed until there was nothing left. The God of Fire Temple also couldn’t escape disaster. The mob pushed the Emerald Buddha down from the altar.
As it lay on the ground of the courtyard, a young man sat on it playing a zither and singing. Some people even jumped up and down on it. Finally, this group of people overturned the Emerald Buddha, throwing it into a pond at the temple.
The local elders sighed, and said:
“Do you know why the Emerald Buddha’s power showed itself while the KMT tried to move it, but when the CCP humiliated it, its power did not appear? Because the KMT believes in gods, while the CCP does not. What a difference there is between them!”
Many of the participants who destroyed the temples died tragically, or ended up suffering in one way or another; many of those rebels received retribution for their deeds.