Chinas first Buddhist temple to have an Indian structure

January 12th, 2008 - 5:21 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Jan 12 (ANI): Abbot Shi Yinle, head of China’s first Buddhist temple, is expecting completion of an Indian hall in April inside the 1,900-year-old temple.

The exotic structure in the White Horse Temple in Luoyang, same style as the Great Sanchi Stupa in India, is being financed by the Indian Government as part of a religious and cultural exchange agreement endorsed by the Prime Ministers of the two countries in 2005.

Abbot Yinle is proud that his temple was chosen to house the Indian hall, almost 20 centuries after the introduction of Buddhism to China from India.

“Our temple stands as testimony to the time-honoured friendship between China and India,” he said.

The Indian hall covers 3,450 sq m and contains facilities for Buddhist lectures, prayers, exhibitions and conferences. All of the stone used to build the hall has been shipped from India.

A senior Indian engineer has been supervising the interior decoration, which started last September, the China Daily reported.

Two other Indian master craftsmen will soon come to supervise the final exquisite wall carvings, said Hu Xuanyan, an official with Luoyang’s religious affairs bureau.

A 3.6-m high Buddha statue from India weighing 22 tons was placed in the hall last September, the largest Buddha statue the Indian government has given to China, local officials said.

The White Horse Temple is named after an ancient tale about a white horse that carried Buddhist scripture between India and Luoyang, then China’s capital city.

In exchange for the Indian hall, the Chinese government financed the building of a Xuanzang Memorial Hall in Nalanda in Bihar in 2006.

Xuanzang was a Buddhist monk, a translator and an envoy of peace and Buddhism between China and India some 1,300 years ago. (ANI)

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