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Journeys in Time 2010-09-14 Legends from the Central Plains (4)- White Horse Temple

09-14-2010 18:05 BJT

Today we reach the final part of our series, in which we’re investigating some of the legendary people, places and events associated with China’s Central Plains.

Buddhism, which originated in India in the sixth century BC, is today one of the great world religions. It took around six centuries, before Buddhism reached China, at the time of the Eastern Han Dynasty. The first Buddhist place of worship built in China, is thought to have been White Horse Temple, just to the east of Luoyang in Henan Province. In today’s programme, we’ll investigate some of the fascinating tales told about White Horse Temple.

It was in part of what is today Afghanistan that the Chinese envoys sent by Emperor Ming of Han met Kasyapamatanga and Dharma-ratna. These two Indian monks would return with the envoys, and preach Buddhism in China. They would even have their own temple, built specially for them; White Horse Temple.

White Horse Temple

The Cool and Refreshing Terrace at White Horse Temple became the place where the Buddhist scriptures were first translated into Chinese. The work of the translators, and the teachings of a number of enlightened monks, soon made White Horse Temple the centre of Buddhist learning and worship in China.

During the two thousand years of its history, White Horse Temple has experienced numerous ups and downs; it has been destroyed and rebuilt on several occasions. Today, the basic layout of the temple remains just as it was, in the Ming Dynasty. The temple’s fate mirrors that of Buddhism in China. As an inclusive religion, Buddhism could flourish alongside Taoism and Confucianism, and it could be assimilated into Chinese culture. In 1961, the State Council designated White Horse Temple as a key historic site that would be under special protection. More recently, plans have been announced for making White Horse Temple one of the leading places of Buddhist worship in the world, and an international centre of Buddhist research.


Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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