Thursday, December 9, 2010

White Horse Temple - Buddhism from India To China

In A.D 64, Mingdi, a Chinese emperor had a dream of a flying deity over his palace. The dream disturbed the emperor and his trusted dream interpreters told him that it was Buddha flying over his palace.

Mingdi, immediately sent 18 people to India to explore Buddhism. When his ambassadors returned from India, they brought with them a forty-two-chapter-long sutra, two Buddhist monks, and an image of Gauthama Buddha on white horses.

Subsequently, in AD 68, Baimisi or the White Horse Temple was built in Henan's Louyang city. The two Indian monks Dharmaraksa and Kasyapa Matanga translated the Buddhist sutras into Chinese language.

The Baimisi, the first Buddhist temple in China, was one of the forerunners of Sino-Indian ties and Chindia. When the then Prime Minister Vajpayee visited Baimisi in 2003, he overstayed his 30 minute schedule and spent two hours in the temple.

- Smoke and Mirrors, An experience of China, by Pallavi Aiyar