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Updated by Lavinia Woolf on Aug 18, 2014
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Five Temples in Xian – leading places where Chinese Buddhism flourished

China's religious thinking is largely influenced by Taoism, which is celebrated in many temples in Xi'an. Many temples are centuries old. Accommodation in Xian offers access to study these temples.

1

Da Ci'en Temple

Da Ci'en Temple

This temple is notable to many Chinese Buddhists, because of its Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Emperor Li Zhi repaired the temple while he was still a crown prince in a bid to pay gratitude to his mother upon her premature death. History has it that Emperor Gaozong worshipped by looking in the direction of the temple twice a day. With 13 courtyards, the temple owns 1879 rooms. This was a place of much dignity during the Tang Dynasty. With the fall of Tang Dynasty, however, the temple too had to face decadence. The halls and rooms, which now remain were built during the Ming dynasty.

2

Wu Xian Guan

Wu Xian Guan

This Taoist temple was set up to solemnize five immortals or celestial beings. Situated in Guangzhou, this is a temple of dignity built in the Ming dynasty. The immortals, it is believed to have come down to the city with rice spikes. A large sandstone, which resembles a footprint, lay here believed to be owned by an immortal. As the legend goes, once the immortals got down to Guangzhou, they had offered the rice spikes to the inhabitants. The temple's location has changed a number of times in history. Following Ming dynasty, there had been many refurbishment projects carried out on the temple.

3

Daxingshan Temple

Daxingshan Temple

This ranks to be one of the oldest Chinese Buddhist temples. Indian monks occupied this temple to carry out propagation of Buddhism. They performed a number of activities such as translating Buddhist suttas. Later on, it turned out to be a prominent place utilized for sutta translations. The temple underwent restoration in 1955 and 1983. Among its salient architectural features are Mountain Gate, Devajara Hall (Hall of the Heavenly Kings), Mahavira Hall (Daxiongbaodian), Bell and Drum Towers and Kwan-yin Palace.

4

The Qinglong Si

The Qinglong Si

Quinglong Si is Chinese for 'Green Dragon. This temple was very much influential during the Tang Dynasty. Japanese monks visited this temple to study Buddhist teachings. A Japanese monk by the name of Kukai took Buddhism from here to Japan. He played a vital role in making Buddhism popular in Japan.

5

Temple of the Eight Immortals (Ba Xian An)

Temple of the Eight Immortals (Ba Xian An)

This temple is dedicated eight immortals: Han Zhongli, Zhang Guolao, Han Xiangzi, Tieguai Li, Cao Guojiu, Lv Dongbin, Lan Caihe and He Xiangu. This is also known as Eight Immortals Palace and Eight Immortals Nunnery. Its Chinese name, Ba Xian An, was given when eight powerful allied forces attacked and encroached Beijing in 1900. Emperor Guangxu and Empress Dowager Cixi fled to Xian and hid in this temple. Later the Empress Dowager made a gift of silver taels for the monastery's welfare. What is visible today was constructed during the Qin dynasty. The temple is of three main sections. The first section's five halls are devoted to Wang Lingguan, a Taoist deity. The second section's back hall is occupied by the eight immortals' statues. The main hall is the third section. The Empress Dowager had carved the four characters, Dong, Tian, Yun and Ji on a tablet in this hall. The temple is within close reach of Citadines Gaoxin Xi’an.