Bingling Temple Grottoes
The Bingling Temple (simplified Chinese: 炳灵寺; traditional Chinese: 炳靈寺; pinyin: Bǐnglíng Sì) is a series of grottoes filled with Buddhist sculpture carved into natural caves and caverns in a canyon along the Yellow River. It lies just north of where the Yellow River empties into the Liujiaxia Reservoir. Administratively, the site is inYongjing County of Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu province, some 100 km (62 mi) southeast of Lanzhou.
The caves were a work in progress for more than a millennium. The first grotto was begun around 420 CE at the end of the Western Qin kingdom. Work continued and more grottoes were added during the Wei, Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, andQing dynasties. The style of each grottoe can easily be connected to the typical artwork from its corresponding dynasty. The Bingling Temple is both stylistically and geographically a midpoint between the monumental Buddhas ofBamiyan in Afghanistan and the Buddhist Grottoes of central China, Yungang Grottoes near Datong and Longmen Grottoes near Luoyang.
Over the centuries, earthquakes, erosion, and looters have damaged or destroyed many of the caves and the artistic treasures within. Altogether there are 183 caves, 694 stone statues, and 82 clay sculptures that remain. The relief sculpture and caves filled with buddhas and frescoes line the northern side of the canyon for about 200 meters. Each cave is like a miniature temple filled with Buddhist imagery. These caves culminate at a large natural cavern where wooden walkways precariously wind up the rock face to hidden cliff-side caves and the giant Maitreya Buddha that stands more than 27 meters, or almost 100 feet, tall.
The Longmen Grottoes (Chinese: 龙门石窟; pinyin: lóngmén shíkū; lit. Dragon's Gate Grottoes) or Longmen Caves are one of the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art. Housing tens of thousands of statues of Buddha and his disciples, they are located 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of present-day Luòyáng in Hénán province, China. The images, many once painted, were carved as outside rock reliefs and inside artificial caves excavated from the limestone cliffs of the Xiangshan andLongmenshan mountains, running east and west. The Yi River (Chinese: 伊河) flows northward between them and the area used to be called Yique (伊阙, "The Gate of the Yi River").
The alternative name of "Dragon's Gate Grottoes" derives from the resemblance of the two hills that check the flow of the Yi River to the typical "Chinese gate towers" that once marked the entrance to Luoyang from the south.There are as many as 100,000 statues within the 2,345 caves, ranging from an 1 inch (25 mm) to 57 feet (17 m) in height. The area also contains nearly 2,500 stelae and inscriptions, whence the name “Forest of Ancient Stelae", as well as over sixty Buddhist pagodas. Situated in a scenic natural environment, the caves were dug from a 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) stretch of cliff running along both banks of the river.
30% date from the Northern Wei Dynasty and 60% from the Tang, caves from other periods accounting for less than 10% of the total. Starting with the Northern Wei Dynasty in 493 AD, patrons and donors included emperors, Wu Zetian of the Second Zhou Dynasty, members of the royal family, other rich families, generals, and religious groups.In 2000 the site was inscribed upon the UNESCO World Heritage List as “an outstanding manifestation of human artistic creativity,” for its perfection of an art form, and for its encapsulation of the cultural sophistication of Tang China.
Fengxian, or Feng Xian Si, or Li Zhi cave is the Ancestor Worshipping Cave, which is the largest of all caves carved on the west hill built between 672 and 676 for Empress Wu Zetian. The carvings are claimed to be the ultimate in architectural perfection of the Tang dynasty. The shrine inside the cave measures 39 m x35m. It has the largest Buddha statue at the Longmen Grottoes.Of the nine huge carved statues, the highly impressive image of Vairocana Buddha is sculpted on the back wall of the Fengxian. The image is 17.14m high and has 2 m long ears.
An inscription at the base of this figure gives 676 as the year of carving. The Bodhisattva on the left of the main image of Buddha is decorated with a crown and pearls. Also shown is a divine person trampling an evil spirit. The main Vairocana image's features are plumpish and of peaceful and natural expression. Each of the other large statues are carved with expressions matching their representative roles. These were carved at the orders of Empress Wu Zetian, and are considered uniquely representative of the Tang dynasty's "vigorous, elegant and realistic style." The huge Vairocana statue is considered as "the quintessence of Buddhist sculpture in China."
The Vairocana statue also provides at its base the names of the artisans who worked here, the name of the Emperor Gaozong, who was the donor, and also honors Wu Zetian. It is said that Wu Zetian donated "twenty-thousand strings of her rouge and powder money" to complete this edifice. Hence, it is conjectured that the Vairocana Buddha was carved to resemble the Empress herself and termed a "Chinese Mona Lisa, Venus or as the Mother of China". All the images here, which remain undamaged, project character and animation.
Statues of Kasyapa and Ananda, the two principal disciples of Vairocana, and of two Bodhisattvas with crowns flank the main statue, in addition to numerous images of "lokapalas (guardians or heavenly kings), dvarapalas (temple guards), flying devas and numerous other figures."
The Yungang Grottoes (simplified Chinese: 云冈石窟; traditional Chinese: 雲崗石窟; pinyin: Yúngāng Shíkū;Wuzhoushan Grottoes in ancient time) are ancient Chinese Buddhist temple grottoes near the city of Datong in the province of Shanxi. They are excellent examples of rock-cut architecture and one of the three most famous ancient Buddhist sculptural sites of China. The others are Longmen and Mogao.The site is located about 16 km west of the city of Datong, in the valley of the Shi Li river at the base of the Wuzhou Shan mountains. They are an outstanding example of the Chinese stone carvings from the 5th and 6th centuries. All together, the site is composed of 252 grottoes with more than 51,000 Buddha statues and statuettes.
In 2001, the Yungang Grottoes were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Yungang Grottoes are considered by UNESCO to be a "masterpiece of early Chinese Buddhist cave art... [and] ...represent the successful fusion of Buddhist religious symbolic art from south and central Asia with Chinese cultural traditions, starting in the 5th century CE under Imperial auspices." It is classified as a AAAAA scenic area by the China National Tourism Administration.
After the decline of the Jin Dynasty, the northern parts of China came under the control of the Northern Wei. They made the city of Pingcheng, now known as Datong, their capital. Due to its promotion, Pingcheng saw an increase in construction work. The Northern Wei early adopted Buddhism as their state religion. Buddhism arrived in this location via travel on the ancient North Silk Road, the northernmost route of about 2600 kilometres in length, which connected the ancient Chinese capital of Xi'an to the west over the Wushao Ling Pass to Wuwei and emerging in Kashgar before linking to ancient Parthia.
The work on this first period of carving lasted until the year 465 AD, and the caves are now known as caves 16–20. Beginning around the year 471 AD, in a second construction phase that lasted until 494 AD, the twin caves 5/6, 7/8, and 9/10 as well as the caves 11, 12, and probably 13 were constructed under the supervision and support of the imperial court. The imperial patronage ended 494 AD with the move of the Wei court to the new capital of Luoyang. All other caves emerged under private patronage in a third construction period, lasting until 525, when the construction came to a final halt due to uprisings in the area.
Since the end of the works, the sandstone of the grottoes has been exposed to heavy weathering. The ensuing centuries therefore saw several attempts to preserve the caves and to repair sustained damage. During the Liao Dynasty the caves saw some renewing of statues and the buildup of the "10 temples of Yungang" from 1049 to 1060, that were meant to protect the main caves. However, they were destroyed again just some 60 years later in a fire. The wooden buildings extant in front of caves 5 and 6 were constructed in 1621, during the early Qing Dynasty. Since the 1950s, cracks in the sandstone have been sealed by grouting, and forestation has been implemented in an effort to reduce the weathering due to sandstorms.
Other historic and famous sites :
Famen Temple (Chinese: 法门寺; pinyin: Fǎmén Sì) is located in Famen town, Fufeng County, 120 kilometers west ofXi'an, Shaanxi province, China. It was widely regarded as the "ancestor of pagoda temples in Guanzhong area".After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, Famen Temple was among the first key protected historical relics of the province. However, the properties of the temple were still appropriated for public uses, such like schools in Famen town. During Cultural Revolution, the Red Guard damaged temple halls and Buddhist figures under the name of "breaking four old fashions".
The abbot, Liangqing (良卿法师), incinerated himself in front of the True Relic Pagoda, in order to protect temple's underground palace. When the palace was unearthed later, the relic of self-immolation could still be seen. Other monks were either demobilized or killed. The temple became "the temporary headquarter of proletariat rebellion of Fufeng County". After 1979, Shaanxi province government once funded restoration of the Grand Hall of the Great Sage (大雄宝殿) and the Brass Buddha Pavilion (铜佛阁).
At 1:57am of 4 August 1981, half side wall of True Relic Pagoda collapsed in the heavy rain. This incident drew universal attention. In 1984, the government implemented religious policy and handed Famen Temple to Buddhist community. In 1985, Shaanxi province government decided to pull down the remaining half side wall and rebuild the True Relic Pagoda. On 3 April 1987, the underground palace of True Relic Pagoda in Famen Temple was opened, and a large quantities of precious historical relics were unearthed. This was quite a hit in news at that time. The expansion of the temple and the reconstruction of the pagoda were completed in October 1988. On 9 November of the same year, the Famen Temple Museum was opened.
From 5–12 May 1987, after the opening of an underground palace, four relics claimed to be directly related to Buddha were found. Two of these were made of white jade. The third relic was from a famous monk. These three are called "duplicate relics" (影骨). They were placed together with a "true relic" (灵骨) in order to protect them. The true relic is yellow-colored, with bone-like secretory granules. It was declared by experts to be a finger bone of the Sakyamuni Buddha. Thereafter, Famen Temple became a Buddhist place of pilgrimage due to the discovery of what is claimed as a true relic of Buddha.
The finger bone was preserved in the last of eight boxes, each enclosing the others, each wrapped in thin silk. The outer box was in sandalwood and had rotted away, but the smaller boxes were in gold, some in silver, and one in jade, and were in a good state of preservation. Each box had a silver lock and was exquisitely carved.The true relic is exactly the same as the description by Tang dynasty Buddhist DaoXuan and other Tang dynasty records.The relics have been abroad four times, 1994/11/29 - 1995/02/29 in Thailand, 2002/02/23 - 2002/03/30 in Taiwan, 2004/05/26 - 2004/06/05 in Hong Kong, 2005/11/11 - 2005/12/21 in South Korea.
Gold & silver relics
The underground “Palace” is now a museum, and contains some other relics. One of the best preserved is a gilt silver tea set, said to be one of the earliest royal tea sets ever discovered. It includes a tea caddy woven out of metallic yarn, a gilt silver tortoise-shaped tea box, a tea roller-grinder, and a silver stove for brewing the tea. As a part of the set, a kind of container for mixing tea, called a Tiao Da Zi, was used for tea mixing and drinking, since in ancient China the tea drinking ceremony was treated to some extent just like a meal. First, tea was put into the container and spices added. Some boiled water was used to mix the tea into paste, and them more hot water was added to make it into drinkable tea.
In addition, there is a magnificent silver-gilded incense burner on display, as well as a silver-gold decorated sandalwood burner. This consists of a burner cover, stack, feet and other parts. The bottom rim of the cover is decorated with a circle of lotus petals patterns, and the upper part is carved with five lotuses and enlaced tendrils. On each lotus lies a tortoise with its head turned back, holding flowers in its mouth. The burner has five feet in the shape of beasts, the front parts of which are in the shape of unicorns. The inscription on the burner indicates that it was made in 869 AD by an imperial workshop specialized in fabricating gold and silver ware for the imperial family.
A tortoise-shaped gold-plated container with silver inlays is on display in the museum, the cover of which carved with turtle-shell and brocade patterns. The container is 13 cm high, 28.3 cm long, 15 cm wide. In addition, there is a set of five gilded-silver plates of exquisite workmanship believed to date from the Tang dynasty.A magnificent set of mini-sized costumes specially fabricated for the Bodhisattva can be seen, the most typical being a half-sleeved blouse 6.5 cm in length, with 4.1 cm-long sleeves. This modelled on a typical short sleeved blouse worn by ladies in the Tang Dynasty, and is made in the style of what the Chinese call "Gold Couching Embroidery," and is top-grade crinkled embroidery made by embroidering with gold threads. The blouse was worn drooped to the chest and has buttons down the front, with the collar and sleeve rims decorated with patterns embroidered with twisted gold threads.
The average diameter of the gold threads is 0.1mm, with the thinnest segment as thin as 0.06mm, which is thinner than a hair. Moreover, one meter of gold thread is developed from 3,000 circles of gold foil, which is hard to achieve even in modern times characterized by high technology. In particular, loop edges of the gold threads make the fabric seem like a painting, and are arranged to display gradually changing colours. The garment is obviously made by a master-hand and can be rated as an unsurpassed piece of embroidery.Also on display are 121 gold and silver articles, 17 glass articles, 16 pieces of olive green porcelain,more than 700 pieces of silk fabrics,104 Buddhist figurines,hundreds of volumes of Buddhist scripture.
Xingjiao Temple (Chinese: 兴教寺; Pinyin: Xīngjiào Sì) is located in Shaoling Yuan, Chang'an District of Xi'an City. The five-storied Buddhist relic pagoda, preserving the relics of Xuanzang (玄奘), is inside the temple, along with the pagodas of his disciples, Kuiji and Yuance.Xingjiao Temple was built in AD 669 to reinhume Xuanzang and was one of eight famed temples in Fanchuan in Tang Dynasty.Although the original Tang Dynasty stone pagoda is still standing, the temple was burnt to the ground at Tongzhi years in Qing Dynasty. It was rebuilt during the period of the Republic of China.
White Horse Temple
White Horse Temple (simplified Chinese: 白马寺; traditional Chinese: 白馬寺; pinyin: Báimǎ Sì; Wade–Giles: Pai-ma szu) is, according to tradition, the first Buddhist temple in China, established in 68 AD under the patronage of Emperor Ming in the Eastern Han dynasty capital Luoyang.The site is just outside the walls of the ancient Eastern Han capital, some 12–13 kilometres (7.5–8.1 mi) east ofLuoyang in Henan Province. It is approximately 40 minutes by bus No. 56 from Luoyang railway station. The temple, although small in comparison to many others in China, is considered by most believers as "the cradle of Chinese Buddhism".The geographical landmarks to the south are Manghan mountain and Lucoche River.
The main temple buildings, a large complex, were reconstructed during the Ming (1368 to 1644) and Qing (1644 to 1912) dynasties.They were refurbished in the 1950s, and again in March 1973 after the Cultural Revolution. It has numerous halls divided by courtyards and manicured gardens, covering an area of about 13 hectares (32 acres). The display plaques in Chinese and English give ample descriptions of the Buddhist deities installed in the halls. Significant statues include Śākyamuni Buddha, Maitreya (the laughing Buddha in China), the Jade Buddha, figures of saints such as Guru Avalokiteśvara, Amitābha and arhats and stone statues of the two white horses which brought the Indian monks to China and two mythical lions at the entrance. Under international funding, the temple has undergone many changes, both structurally and internally. The most recent cooperative project, with India, was completed in 2008 when the Sanchi Stupa and theSarnath Buddha statue were erected.
Here are several forms of the legends relating to the foundation and naming of the temple:
Following Emperor Ming's dream vision about a Buddha who established Buddhism, two of Ming's emissaries departed to search for Buddhist scriptures. They encountered two Indian Buddhist monks in Afghanistan and persuaded them to join them and return to China, bringing their book of Buddhist scriptures, relics and statues of Buddha with them on two white horses. Pleased with their arrival in China, the king built a temple in their honour and named it the White Horse Temple or Baima Temple, as an appreciation of the white horses that had carried the monks.
The monks resided at the new temple and here they translated the Buddhist scriptures into the Chinese language. The Buddhist religion prospered from here and with the arrival ofBodhidarma, another monk from India in the 5th century, Chinese Buddhism evolved, spreading to other countries.At the invitation of the Chinese Emperor Ming Di, two Indian monks named Kasyapa Matanga and Dharmaratna or Gobharana, translated the Buddhist classics at the Baimai Temple at Luo Yang, which was then the nation’s capital. They translated many scriptures, the notable of these was the Sutra of Forty-two Chapters (四十二章經), which was translated by Matanga.
This was the first Buddhist sutra in Chinese and has the pride of place in the history of Chinese Buddhism. Gobharana translated the 'Dasa Bhumi' or the 'Ten stages of Perfection', apart from five others.The temple then increased in importance as Buddhism grew within China and spread to Korea, Japan and Vietnam. The introduction of Buddhism in China was a significant influence on Chinese morals, thought and ethics. The temple's story begins with the dream of Emperor Mingdi and his establishing the temple in 68 AD honouring the two Indian monks and the white horses that brought them to China with Buddhist scriptures. The two monks translated many scriptures while living in the temple, which was named as White Horse Temple. They died in the temple precincts and are buried in the first courtyard of the temple. Following the establishment of the temple, 1000 monks lived here practicing Buddhism.
According to 'The Chapter on the Western Regions' of the Hou Hanshu (Book of Later Han), which was based on a report to the Emperor c. 125, but was not compiled until the 5th century: "There is a current tradition that Emperor Ming dreamt that he saw a tall golden man the top of whose head was glowing. He questioned his group of advisers and one of them said: "In the West there is a god called Buddha. His body is sixteenchi tall [3.7 metres (12 ft)], and is the colour of gold." That is why the Emperor sent envoys to Tianzhu [Northwest India] to inquire about the Buddha’s doctrine, after which paintings and statues [of the Buddha] appeared in the Middle Kingdom."
There are differing accounts explaining how the temple was established. Yang Hsüan-chih says in the preface to his book, A Record of the Buddhist Monasteries of Lo-yang (completed c. 547 CE), that, after his dream, Emperor Ming ordered that statues of the Buddha be erected at the [K'ai-]yang Gate (Opening to the Morning Sun Gate) of the Southern Palace and on near the [Ch'ang]yeh Terrace (The Eternal Night Terrace).He, however, makes no mention of the temple. The Emperor is said to have sent a monk or monks to India or Scythia who returned carrying the Sutra of Forty-two Chapters on a white horse. The Sutra was received by the Emperor and housed in a temple built outside the walls of Luo Yang. It was China's first Buddhist temple.
Other versions mentioned in the book Indian Pandits in the Land of Snow by Sri Sarat Chandra give the following legendary versions: The legends related to this temple have direct link to the emergence and spread of Buddhism in China. Two visions are stated in this context. The first vision was witnessed by Chow Wang, the fifth ruler of the Tang dynasty. The Emperor saw, in the southwestern region of China, a very bright light in the sky, like a halo or aureola from the west which lit the whole space. The astrologers of his court predicted that a saint was born in that quarter of the world where he saw the bright halo light. It was also prophesied that the religion practised by the saintly person, would spread to China. This was recorded by the King in his royal register. This year happened to be the year when Gautam Buddha was born in Nepal
The second vision happened at Luo Yang during the reign of Mingdi, the second Emperor of the Han Dynasty. In 60 CE, on an auspicious day, the Emperor had a vision (dream) of a saintly person of golden complexion with theSun and the Moon shining behind his back came near his throne from the heavens and then circled his palace. This incident was correlated with the ancient recorded version and the events were interpreted to mean that the period prophesied in the past, of Buddhism coming to China, was now. History chronicler Fu Hi interpreted this vision as that of the divine person known as Buddha who was born in a place to the west of China in India.
Emperor Mingdi forthwith selected emissaries named Taai Yin, Tain King, Wangtrun and others, in all 18 people, to go toward the west to India in search of the religion practiced by Buddha. After travelling through several countries bordering India such as Getse and Yuchi (the Saka Tartars), and the Bactrian Greece they reachedAfghanistan (Gandhara country) where they met two Buddhist monks (Arhats) named Kasyapa Pandita (a Brahmin fromCentral India) and Bharana Pandita.
They accepted the invitation of the emissaries to go to China. They then proceeded to China on two white horses accompanied by the emissaries. They carried with them a few sacred texts of sutras — the Sutra of Forty-two Chapters — statues of Buddha, portraits and sacred relics. They reached Lou Yang where they were put up in a temple. The King met them in 67 CE, with due reverence and was pleased with the presents the monks had brought for him. It was the 30th day in the 12th month of Chinese calendar. The Emperor was particularly happy with the Buddha image which had striking similarity to the one he had seen in his dream vision. At this time, the monks performed some miracles, which further strengthened the belief of the Emperor in Buddhism.
However, some Taoist priests protested and wanted the Emperor to test the merits of both parties. The Emperor agreed and convened a meeting at the southern gate of the White Horse Temple. He ordered that the sacred texts and religious paraphernalia of the Taoists be placed on the eastern gate and the sacred texts, relics and Buddha image of the westerners in the hall of seven gems on the west. He then ordered that the objects be thrown into the fire, and whichever documents survived the fire then that religion would receive his patronage. The Taoists expected that their texts would survive. This did not happen as all the texts of Taoists were burnt and that of the Buddhists from the west survived.
With this test, the Emperor was convinced of the Buddhist religion. He with all his entourage of ministers and kinsmen embraced Buddhism. He built several temples, which included 'Pai-masai', the White Horse Temple and three convents for nuns. The two Taoist priests who had challenged Buddhism were put to death by fire. Now that there are many contradictory versions of this story, most modern scholars accept it as a Buddhist fable and not a valid historical event. The White Horse Temple is not recorded in contemporary sources before 289.However, there is a Poma si mentioned in Chang'an in 266 and another of the same name at Jingcheng in central Hubei at about the same date.
It is said that the next year, the Emperor ordered the construction of the White Horse Temple on the south side of the Imperial Drive three li outside the Hsi-yang Gate of the capital Luoyang, to remember the horse that carried back the sutras. After the death of the Emperor a meditation hall was built on his tomb. In front of the stupa luxuriant pomegranate and grape vines were grown which were said to be larger than those elsewhere. Buddhism evolved in China after arriving from India, as a blend of Chinese beliefs and needs, particularly in respect of its folk heritage. It is Mahayana Buddhismpractice, which is widely followed even though the Theravada or Hinayana came to China first.
The Shaolin Monastery (Chinese: 少林寺; pinyin: Shàolín sì), also known as the Shaolin Temple, is a Chan ("Zen") Buddhist temple in Dengfeng County, Henan Province, China. Dating back 1,500 years when founded by Fang Lu-Hao, Shaolin Temple is the main temple of the Shaolin school of Buddhism to this day. Shaolin Monastery and its Pagoda Forest were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010 as part of the "Historic Monuments of Dengfeng". Traditionally Bodhidharma is credited as founder of the martial arts at the Shaolin Temple. However, martial arts historians have shown this legend stems from a 17th-century qigong manual known as the Yijin Jing.
The authenticity of the Yi Jin Jing has been discredited by some historians including Tang Hao, Xu Zhen and Ryuchi Matsuda. This argument is summarized by modern historian Lin Boyuan in his Zhongguo wushu shi: As for the "Yi Jin Jing" (Muscle Change Classic), a spurious text attributed to Bodhidharma and included in the legend of his transmitting martial arts at the temple, it was written in the Ming dynasty, in 1624, by the Daoist priest Zining of Mt. Tiantai, and falsely attributed to Bodhidharma. Forged prefaces, attributed to the Tang general Li Jing and the Southern Song general Niu Gao were written. They say that, after Bodhidharma faced the wall for nine years at Shaolin temple, he left behind an iron chest; when the monks opened this chest they found the two books "Xi Sui Jing" (Marrow Washing Classic) and "Yi Jin Jing" within.
The first book was taken by his disciple Huike, and disappeared; as for the second, "the monks selfishly coveted it, practicing the skills therein, falling into heterodox ways, and losing the correct purpose of cultivating the Real. The Shaolin monks have made some fame for themselves through their fighting skill; this is all due to having obtained this manuscript". Based on this, Bodhidharma was claimed to be the ancestor of Shaolin martial arts. This manuscript is full of errors, absurdities and fantastic claims; it cannot be taken as a legitimate source.The oldest available copy was published in 1827.The composition of the text itself has been dated to 1624.
Even then, the association of Bodhidharma with martial arts only became widespread as a result of the 1904–1907 serialization of the novel The Travels of Lao Ts'an in Illustrated Fiction Magazine: One of the most recently invented and familiar of the Shaolin historical narratives is a story that claims that the Indian monk Bodhidharma, the supposed founder of Chinese Chan (Zen) Buddhism, introduced boxing into the monastery as a form of exercise around a.d. 525. This story first appeared in a popular novel, The Travels of Lao T’san, published as a series in a literary magazine in 1907.
This story was quickly picked up by others and spread rapidly through publication in a popular contemporary boxing manual, Secrets of Shaolin Boxing Methods, and the first Chinese physical culture history published in 1919. As a result, it has enjoyed vast oral circulation and is one of the most “sacred” of the narratives shared within Chinese and Chinese-derived martial arts. That this story is clearly a twentieth-century invention is confirmed by writings going back at least 250 years earlier, which mention both Bodhidharma and martial arts but make no connection between the two.
Other scholars see an earlier connection between Da Mo and the Shaolin Monastery. Scholars generally accept the historicity of Da Mo (Bodhidharma) who arrived in China around from his country India 480. Da Mo (Bodhidharma) and his disciples are said to have lived a spot about a mile from the Shaolin Temple that is now a small nunnery. In the 6th century, around 547, The Record of the Buddhist Monasteries says Da Mo visited the area near Mount Song. In 645 The Continuation of the Biographies of Eminent Monks describes him as being active in the Mount Song region.Around 710 Da Mo is identified specifically with the Shaolin Temple (Precious Record of Dharma's Transmission or Chuanfa Baoji) and writes of his sitting facing a wall in meditation for many years.
It also speaks of Huikes many trials in his efforts to receive instruction from Da Mo. In the 11th century a (1004) work embellishes Da Mo legends with great detail. A stele inscription at the Shaolin Monastery dated 728 reveals Da Mo residing on Mount Song. Another stele in 798 speaks of Huike seeking instruction from Da Mo. Another engraving dated 1209 depicts the barefoot saint holding a shoe according to the ancient legend of Da Mo. A plethora of 13th- and 14th-century steles feature Da Mo in Various roles. One 13th-century image shows him riding a fragile stalk across the Yangtze River. In 1125 a special temple was constructed in his honor at the Shaolin Monastery.
Huayan Monastery in Datong
Originally built in Liao Dynasty (907-1125), during which time the Huayan school of Buddhism was in vogue, the Huayan Temple was so named after the Avatamsaka Sutra (Huayan Sutra in Chinese), one of the seven largest schools of Buddhism. Being an imposing and magnificent monastery, Huayan Monastery is one of the most important temples of Liao and Jin (1115-1234) dynasties, which was once an imperial ancestral temple enshrined the stone statues and bronze statues of emperors.
In 1122, some of the architectures of Huayan Monastery were destroyed in wars albeit later were rebuilt, the monastery was repaired on a large scale with many Buddhas being molded in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and during the same period, it was divided into the upper monastery and the lower monastery with respectively main gate and architecture layout. In early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Huayan Temple was destroyed once again but repaired for several times later to present situation. Today, though the upper and lower monasteries become in one, their individual main hall and features remain.In Huayan Monastery of Datong, the architectures, statues, murals and caissons are all representatives of the art of Liao Dynasty.
Upper Huayan Monastery
The Upper Huayan Monastery is a Mahavira-Hall-centered architecture complex with Gate Hall, corridor hall, Avalokittesvara Hall, Dizang Hall and two courtyards.The main hall-Mahavira Hall, was originally built in 1062, destroyed in 1122 and then rebuilt in 1140 on its former site, covers 1559 square meters. It is the largest existing Buddhist hall of Liao and Jin dynasties, and one of the two largest Buddhist hall in China as well (the other is the main hall of Fengguo Temple in Liaoning Province). In butsudan in the hall, there are five enshrined Buddhas, the central three of which are wooden and the other two on both sides are made of clay. And another 20 Dharmapalas guard the butsudan on its two sides. On the walls of Mahavira Hall is a large scale well-preserved, resplendent and magnificent Buddhist murals in bright color painted in Qing Dynasty.
Lower Huayan Monastery
Located in the southeast of the Upper Huayan Monastery, the Lower Huayan Monastery, in which the Datong Museum is equipped, is centered by Bojiajiaozang Hall (Bhagava Sutra Hall). In lower monastery, there are stone Jingchuang (Dhvaja, a Buddhism ornament architecture in the temples which is generally carved with lections and Buddhas), pavilion-style sutra cabinets, Tiangong Pavilion, the Heavenly Kings Hall, two side halls and a gate hall. All the buildings are oriental-seated, which is said related with the belief and inhabitation convention of Qidan, an ancient nationality in China who founded Liao Dynasty.
The Bhagava Sutra Hall, built in 1038, is the sutra hall since its completion. And all 38 wooden sutra cabinets are in pavilion style; in the central of the back wall is another wooden overhanging pavilion. These ingenious wooden structures and carvings are of significant scientific value in the researches of ancient Chinese architecture art. In the hall, there are also 31 perfectly preserved statues made in Liao Dynasty, two of which are especially praised by both experts and visitors with slender and graceful shape, vivid expressions and great artistic values.
Experience the Wonderful Art of Buddhist Grottoes and Fresco Paintings in China
The speech will be given by professional , experts on historical grottoes and fresco paintings:
D1. Arrive in Urumuqi, met and transferred to hotel.
D2.visit Regional meusem for whole historical along Silk Road and western regions. Drive to Turpan
D3. visit Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves,Gaochang ruins. after noon,visit Jiaohe ruins， Karez irrigation system. train to Kuqa after dinner,overnight in train
D4.arrive in Kuqa, a full day visiting for Kizil Thousand Buddha caves,Subashi ruins, Kumtura Thousand Buddha Caves,etc.
D5. catch flight from Kuqu to Urumqi, then catch day train from Urumqi to Dunhuang.
D6. a full day for visiting Mogao Grottoes.
D7. catch train or flight to Lanzhou.
D8. Drive to visit Binglingsi Grottoes.
D9.Catch day train from Lanzhou to Tianshui, visit Majishan Grottoes.
D10. Drive to Baoji, visit Famensi Temple and Buddha relics, then go to Xi'an.
D11. Full day tour in Xi'an for historical sites, such as: XIngjiaosi temple, Terra-cotta Army museum.
D12. Catch day train to Luoyang, visit Longmen Grottoes
D13. visit White Horse temple, then drive to visit Shaolinsi Temple,stay in zhengzhou
D14. catch train to Datong.
D15.visit Yungang Grottoes and Huayansi temple, Nine Dragons Wall.
D16. Catch train to Beijing. End of the speical culture and art experience.