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Hong Luo Temple
Introduction to a one day tour of Hongluo Temple and Hongluo Mountain
Hongluo Temple is located at the southern foot of Hongluo Mountain in the northern part of Huairou district in Beijing. It was originally called “Da Ming Temple” (Temple of Enlightenment) and during the reign of the Ming emperor Zhengtong (1438 - 1449) the name was changed to “Hu Guo Zi Fu Chan Temple” (Protecting the Country and Bringing Fortune Zen Temple), commonly called Hongluo Temple. This temple was built by the senior monk Fo Tucheng in the fourth year of the reign of Emperor Xian Kang in the Eastern Jin period (338 AD).
In the last years of the Western Jin, the senior monk Fo Tucheng from the Western Regions, as a result of being moved by a dream came to seek the home of Buddhism in Northern China but, after 20 years, found nothing. In the fourth year of the reign of the Eastern Jin Emperor Xian Kang (338 AD), Shi Hu, a ruler of the Later Zhao, made an expidition to the North to fight Duan Liao. Fo Tucheng followed and came to Yuyang City, where he found Hongluo Shan, which resembled his dream with the upper part of the mountain was shaped like a golden wing roc and the lower part resembled the “touching the earth” Bhūmisparsa Mudra left by Shakyamuni Buddha when he became enlightened. This showed that Hongluo Mountain was a perfect place for practicing Buddhism and thus he founded the temple and named it “Temple of Great Enlightenment.” Since it was extended and reconstructed into a stately and imposing way in the Tang Dynasty and it experienced successive dynasties, including the Liao, Jin, Yuan, Ming, and Qing and the imperial court of each attached great importance to it. In the Jin Dynasty Zen Master Fo Jue was sent to oversee the restoration of this temple. In the early period of the Yuan Dynasty, in Genghis Khan's time, Zeng Le a provincial governer, errected a stone inscription and in the later period of the Yuan Dynasty Emperor Ren Zong summoned Zen Master Yun Shan to administer this temple. In the Ming Dynasty the “Tianqi brass bell” was given to the temple. In the Qing Dynasty Emperor Kang Xi, Emperor Qian Long, and Empress Dowager Ci Xi visited this temple to admire the halls and bamboo and bestowed a tablet that read “great brightness” and palace lanterns. The twelfth forefather of the Chinese Pure Land School, Venerable Ji Xing, once practiced, promoted the Pure Land School, and then passed away here. The thirteenth forefather, Venerable Yin Guang, practiced and studied Pure Land and then went to Putuo Mountain to promote Pure Land practice. There is a saying, “in the South there is Putuo Shan, in the North there is Hongluo Temple.”
The total area of the Hongluo Si scenic area is 800 hectares. The entire area consists of Hongluo Temple, Guanyin Temple, Five Hundred Arhats Park, three Buddhist cultural sites, together with Hongluo Mountain and Qīnglóng Mountain, two natural scenic areas, which can make up a one day tour. It possesses the “scenic characteristics of looking at flowers in Spring, escaping the heat in summer, appreciating the turning leaves in fall, and in winter visiting the 'three cold resistant friends'(pines, bamboo, and plum trees).”
Hongluo Temple is surrounded by Hongluo Mountain in the north, Hongluo Lake in the south, and encircled by peaks with layer upon layer of folded ridges, dense green forrests, towering old trees, gray tiled and red walled buildings, which reflect the green bamboo, pines, and cypress, with their blue-green ripples. The three outstanding scenic ornaments “Imperial Bamboo Forest,” “pairs of ginkgo,” and “wisteria nestled in pine” can be seen inside and outside of the ancient temple. To the east of the temple statues of Maitreya (big bellied Buddha), five hundred Arhats, and the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac are scattered amongst the ancient pine forest. Secluded corridors and and painted pavilions are situated on the ridges. Climbing to them and enjoying the view leaves you carefree and relaxed. Guanyin Temple is a place of exceptional charm, situated in the mountains with the courtyard in a deep, secluded valley.
The Hongluo Temple scenic area provides a complete set of service facilities: a courtyard structure on Hongluo Mountain with a guest lodge in Qianmu Ancient Forest with a serene, elegant, and unique environment; Bamboo Garden restaurant, Guest House restaurant to provide tourists a convenient and characteristic food and drink service; temple shops and a farmer's market have Buddhist items, souvenirs, and local specialty products to choose from.
“The landscape of Hongluo Mountain and Pure Land Buddism.” The Hongluo Temple scenic area can provide you with a graceful environment and order, high quality service. We welcome your visit.
Information about the Buddha Hall
Pay respects to the Buddhas' images shows respect to the Buddhas, Bodhisattva, and displays respectful conduct. There are nine kinds of Buddhist ceremonial customs, amongst which the most frequently practiced is prostrate oneself on the ground. The most respectful practice is to prostrate oneself on the ground. First straighten out your clothes and hat, do not speak out loud, face towards the Buddha and stand upright with both feet facing forwards, join palms, hold your head down, and kneel in respect. Kneel first with your right knee and then with your left knee, touch the ground with both elbows in the same order, again reach out with both palms with palms facing upwards, think about touching the Buddha with your feet, and touch the ground with your head. When paying respect you must be concentrated and honest in your respect, you cannot harbor any arrogance or speak out of place. After paying respect, rise again according to the same order, stand up errect, join palms, and lower your head, praise, and finish the motion, then walk unhurriedly back.
Offerings to the Buddha: offerings and alms. Since ancient times until the present, pure water, incense, fresh flowers, food and drink, lamps, burning incense are the six most common kinds of offering. Water represents giving, smeared incense represent warning against attachment, fresh flowers represent patience, food and drink represent determination to meditate, lamps represent wisdom, burning incense represents the desire to improve oneself. All sincere, joyful, and virtuous offerings to the Buddha must be peaceful and and given happily to receive good fortune and merit.
Burning incense: Buddhists believe that offering incense in front of the Buddha, when burning the incense, as the fragrance from a thread of smoke gracefully rises, it can take the person's faith to the Buddha and thus communicate with the Buddha. There are five types of raw materials that Buddhists make incense is made of. Those are sandal wood, Chinese eaglewood, cloves, tulips, and camphol. These are all manufactured with rich and fragrant natural resins, flower oils, and wood chips. This way they provide fragrance that will allow your aspirations to follow peace and in accordance with the joyous blessings of the Buddha.
When Buddhists burn incense they usually burn either one or three sticks. Some people think that respecting the Buddha too often is not apprpriate. In buddhism there is a distinction between good aroma and bad aroma. Proper desires and the smoke from burning incense can nourish people's five sense organs (nose eyes lips tongue ears) and for the lay person this can be understood as good aroma. If distracting thoughts exist in people's hearts, the smoke from burning incense will be too dense and the goodness of their five sense organs can be harmed leading to vices, which is an evil aroma. One time burning too nuch incense, with smoke chaotically boiling and above will be the black statue of the Buddha, displaying disrespect to the Buddha. Below people's eyes and noses will burn and choke. One may save oneself but there is no point thinking that the Buddha will be pleased. At present there are some types of cheaply priced incense on the market that are made from chemical ingredients. When these products burn they release harmful and poisonous gasses, injuring people, disgracing the Buddha, and destroying the environment. These products cannot be considered incense. With this in mind, when buring incense, please pay attention to product quality and holding the incense in the proper way so that you will be able to achieve the goal of an offering to the Buddha.
Web site: hongluosi.com
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