September 03, 2010

China's oldest Buddhist temple

baima, white horse temple, luoyang, china

According to the Asian News Network, China's oldest temple aims to position itself as a major Buddhist hub. Built in 68 CE, the White Horse (Baima) Temple, in Luoyang, in China's Henan province, has a colorful history. The ANN reports:

According to legend, the Eastern Han Emperor Yongping (reign: AD 57-75) dreamed of a golden figure with a halo, which his advisers assumed was the Buddha, in India. Emissaries were sent abroad to learn more about Buddhism and they returned years later with two Indian monks on white horses, bearing sutras and statues....

In light of its history, Baima aims to become a leading center of Buddhism in Asia and has an Indian Buddhist shrine made entirely of Indian materials, a gift from the Indian government that was completed last year. Nearby, a Thai Buddhist shrine, built in 1992, is being expanded.

The temple has been rebuilt, and little remains of the original. Also, the original temple lacked air-conditioning, but that has been remedied.

You can read the ANN report here.

Image © China Daily

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Mindy's picture

I agree with Mr. Zerull. What reason is behind this "open-ness'? In light of what this country has done to Tibet and its Buddhist population, I wonder about the reasoning here.

Dennis W. Zerull's picture

It would be wonderful if the Chinese government did this out of altruistic motives, but I am skeptical in light of events surrounding their agenda to control religious organizations, people and cultures in order to make them more palatable and achieve the governments ideals for "the people".

How the world views China is most important to them. However controlling Buddhism and other religious traditions and their stance on Tibet is not in the best interests of humanity or the people of China. Oppression and brute force can never over come the desire for human happiness and freedom from suffering.

James's picture

You can listen to the monks chanting - very nice experience. In Luoyang, you can also visit the Longmen Grottos.