Friday, January 22, 2021
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Temple

Temple

China is a country with diversified religions. Apart from the indigenous Taoism, there are Buddhism, Islam and Christianity which were introduced into China from foreign lands. Taoist structures are called gong for palace or guan for temple; mosque is the term for Moslem struture and church for a Christian structure; temple, tope and grotto are called the "Three Great Structures of Buddhism".

Although Buddhism was first introduced into China from ancient India, Buddhism buildings have obviously been localized since then. Most of ancient temples were designed in a way that the entrance gate would face central main road. Inside the gate, to the left and rights were Bell and Drum Towers. Confronted was Hall of God, followed by Hall of Great Wisdom. Further back was Tower of Scriptures. Other structures such as monk's residences, kitchens and dining rooms, were located at the sides along the center passage. Chinese ancient temple was a vivid imitation of the imperial palace building, in terms of its layout, the structure of main altar room, and the construction of roof structure. While integrating palace building's grandeur and magnificence, Chinese Buddhist temple structure created its own unique style. Most of Buddhist temples are built in remote mountainous areas far away from noisy city. This is spetacular, so with Four Buddhist Holy Mountains, namely, Mt. Wutai, Mt. Emei, Mt. Jiuhua and Mt. Putuo, where renowned temple buildings over the past dynasties located, such as Foguang Temple and Nanchan Temple in Wutai Mountains.

Both Nanchan Temple and Foguang Temple were built in Tang Dynasty. Among them Nanchan Temple is the earliest timber structure temple surviving in China. Foguang Temple is famous for its status, mural paintings, calligraphy and architecture. They are commonly known as "Four Wonders".

Buddhism has been practiced extensively in China, as numerous temples have been constructed throughout the country. These monastery establishments not only symbolize Buddhist culture, record the ancient social and cultural development, but also witness the rise and fall of Buddhism. They are of great historical and artistic value.

 
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