An assessment of damage from the Sichuan earthquake reveals twenty-seven Buddhist temples and religious sites in Dujiangyan city have been damaged. Efforts to save Buddhist scriptures and statuary turned into a race against time, amid fears that cultural treasures trapped in unstable buildings could be lost, amid continual aftershocks from the quake.
Most of the buildings at Puzhao Temple in Dujiangyan suffered damage. The degree of damage varies. But thanks to the timely efforts of staff and armed police, all the temple's scriptures were brought safely from the rubble.
As monk Puwen shows, wood carvings of 18 Arhats were housed in the main palace when the quake struck. The palace was shattered by the tremor. On the third day after, work began to save the wood carvings.
Thousands of Buddhist scriptures remained on the second floor of the temple. No one dared to go there. Another aftershock could bring down what remains of the structure.
Two units from the Jinan and Chengdu military garrisons joined the salvage effort immediately.
The scriptures have been recovered and are now safely housed in a protected area.
Most Buddhist statues and paintings at Puzhao Temple remain intact. The local department that oversees the protection of cultural relics is continuing its efforts to keep damage to a minimum.
(CCTV.com June 13, 2008)