The Temple of the Ruined was a migrational structure, which was also recognized as a group of people, that moved around from East Asia to Eastern Europe during the early 1900’s to mid-1900’s. Although the origin is unclear, it is widely believed by anthropologists and historians that the group started within Beijing, China under an unknown leader. The Temple of the Ruined would be set up on the outskirts of highly populated areas with the intent of providing mental and spiritual support for the common people who searched for such guidance. The temple would also provide black market deals which included items such as weapons and drugs; weapons were advocated as a form of self protection while drugs were both for medicinal and spiritual use. The temple’s spiritual message generally preached the ideas of Zen Buddhism, but also held a political voice that disdained rich and powerful members within governments that would not use their standing to help out the common people. Followers of the temple kept their association hidden from the public, but documents and letters flowing within the system allowed them with less ability to maintain their secrecy.
Recruiters for the temple would be disguised as common citizens and held the objective of befriending people within low-income communities while trying to establish enough trust in order to bring them into the temple. Those who were highly trusted would be initiated to carry out special missions that involved stealing, altering, or tarnishing government documents; the assassination of political members were also carried out at times. By having no established location or leader, the temple’s actions could not be tracked even if they were noticed; the members of the temple also blended in with society and held no items that could be associated with the temple. The religious teachings of the temple were also too common elsewhere to be associated with any following.
By the 1930’s the temple had more locations and members that operated from China to Russia. The groups actions began to receive more attention during the mid-1900’s and military action was taken by the government in China. The outskirts of Beijing were under heavy surveillance on December of 1949 and bases of the temple were found and burned downed. This military action resulted in a few hundred casualties, many of who were not associated with temple, but just happened to live within the vicinity. As a response, the temple gathered its members and decided to start rise a rebellion against the military with their own arms. Hundreds of members decided to participate, but their forces were put down quickly by the military leaving many members dead. The news of this rebellion quickly spread within the temple and left many discouraged to continue taking action against the leaderships that they were opposed to; both in secret and up front. Evidence of the groups actions died down during the 1950’s, but it is believed that many of the members have transferred the values of the temple into other organizations that exist today.