The White Cloud Temple or the Monastery of the White Clouds is a Daoist temple located in Beijing, China. It is one of "The Three Great Ancestral Courts" of the Complete Perfection School of Taoism, and is titled "The First Temple under Heaven".
Like most other Chinese temples, the White Cloud Temple is laid out on a north-south axis, with the entrance at the south end. There are five main halls built upon the main axis, beginning with the Main Gate, Yuhuang Hall , Laolü Hall , Qiuzu Hall and finally the Sanqing Hall .On either side of the main axis are two smaller axes, each containing halls dedicated to a variety of deities. In the rear of the complex is a garden which hosts the abbey’s ordination platform.
Out of twenty Quanzhen ordination centers in Qing times, Baiyun guan was the most important. In order to become a Daoist priest, novices first had to spend three years living in a temple. After accomplishing this, they were eligible to be ordinated. The ordination was extremely harsh. Each novice had to undergo 100 days of brutal training that sometimes resulted in death. In modern times, this has been reduced to 53 days, and is no longer as dangerous. After this training period, novices had exams on Taoist classics, poetry and precepts. Afterwards, successful novices were ordained as full Daoist priests. During Qing times, averages of 200 novices were ordinated every four years. Ordination ceremonies ended after 1927, but were resumed in 1989.
Every year on the 19th day of the first lunar month a festival is held at the abbey in celebration of Qiu Chuji’s birthday. It was thought that Qiu would return to earth as an immortal on this day.The festival was first held during the Yuan Dynasty, but was suspended after the People's Republic was established in 1949. The temple was revived in the 1990s, and continues to be held to this day.