Train to Luoyang

Trip Start Jun 16, 2008
Trip End Jul 20, 2008

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Flag of China  , Henan,
Sunday, June 29, 2008

I boarded the train in Xian at 8:30AM and arrived 5 hours later in Luoyang.  I was met their by my guide.

Our first and only stop of the day was at the White Horse Temple.  In the year 64 of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), Emperor Ming sent a delegation of his men to study Buddhism in the western world. After three years, two eminent Indian monks, She Moteng and Zhu Falan, came back with the delegation. They brought with them a white horse carrying Buddhist sutras and Buddhist figures on its back. This was the first time that Buddhism appeared in China. To express his thanks to the two monks and their white horse, the emperor ordered the building of a monastery which he named the White Horse Temple during the following year. During this time, the two monks were busy translating sutras in the temple until they completed the Chinese sutra 'Forty-two Chapter Sutra', which attracted many monks and meant that the temple became a centre for Buddhist activity in China. It is for this reason that the temple is honored as the 'Founder's Home' and the 'Cradle of Buddhism in China'.
The temple, which is located about seven miles away from the city of Louyang, is covered with green ancient trees and appears solemn and tranquil. Outside the gate, there is a pool with fences around and lovely fish in the water. It is for the believers to set free the captive animals. After crossing the pool via a stone bridge, you will enter the temple. To the east and west of the gate are the tombs of She Moteng and Zhu Falan, which are one of the six most famous sights in the temple. In the east corner stands a tablet pavilion. The Chinese characters written on the tablet are the work of a Chinese calligrapher abbot Shamen Wencai, designed during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-368). They are written in his familiarly free and easy style and describe the history of the temple.  The temple boasts great antique architecture which has remained intact for over 1,900 years. The Hall of Heavenly Kings, Hall of the Great Buddha, Hall of Mahavira, Hall of Guidance and the Cool and Clear Terrace appear in proper order in the temple, as they were when it was first built.

I arrived at my hotel in Luoyang at 3:30PM.  I relaxed the rest of the day with internet, tv, and walking the streets.

Luoyang History:
2070BC Xia Dynasty king Tai Kang moved the capital to the intersection of Luo river and Yi river and named the city Zhen Xun.

16 Century BC King Tang of Shang defeat Jie, the last king of Xia Danasty and made their Capital Xihao, which located in Shi Xiang Gou of Yanshi County of Luoyang City.
The original city was constructed by the Duke of Zhou (ZOE) in the 11th century BC as a settlement for the remnants of the captured Shang nobility and was named Chengzhou. It became the capital of the Zhou Dynasty in

770 BC. The city was destroyed in a civil war in 510 BC and rebuilt the next year at the request of the king.
In AD 25, Luoyang became the capital of Eastern Han Dynasty. For several centuries, Luoyang was the center of gravity of China.

In AD 68, the White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China, was founded in Luoyang. The temple still exists, though the architecture is of later origin, mainly from the 16th century. An Shihkao was one of the first monks to popularize Buddhism in Luoyang.

In AD 190, Chancellor Dong Zhuo ordered his soldiers to ransack, pillage and raze the city as he retreated from the coalition set up against him by regional lords from across China. The court was subsequently moved to the more defensible western city of Chang'an. Following a period of disorder, Luoyang was restored to prominence when Emperor Wen of the Wei Dynasty declared it his capital in AD 220.
The Jin Dynasty, successor to Wei, was also established in Luoyang. When Jin was overrun by invaders and forced to move its capital to Jiankang (modern day Nanjing), Luoyang was nearly totally destroyed.

In AD 493 the Northern Wei Dynasty moved its capital from Datong to Luoyang and started the construction of the rock-cut Longmen Grottoes. More than 30,000 Buddhist statues from the time of this dynasty have been found in the caves. Many of these sculptures were two-faced. The Empress Dowager Wenming tomb was built here.
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