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The Blue Dragon Temple

The Blue Dragon Temple, located in Xinchang Lane (nowadays some where around the Tielumiao area in the southern suburbs of Xian) the old city of Chang’an in the Tang Dynast) was a famous temple of the Esoteric Sect of Buddhism. According to the historical record, originally named Linggan Temple it was first built in 582, the 2nd year of Kaihuang’s rule of the Sui Dynasty. However, it was later cloned in 62l, the 4″ year of Emperor Wude’s reign. But towards year of 662, the 2nd year of Longshuo’s reign the temple was reopened to be the one for the Goddess of Mercy and still later the name was changed into the Blue Dragon Temple in 711, the 2nd year of Emperor Jingyun’s reign of the Tang Dynasty. Towards the year of 845 there prevailed a nationwide upsurge of eliminating Buddhism and the temple, being again discarded, was turned into part of an imperial garden. However, in May, next year it was again redressed as a temple, naming it the Temple of National Protection. However, people still habitually liked to call it “Blue Dragon Temple.” The temple remained intact up to the Northern Song Dynasty, and later after 1086, the 1st year of Yuanyou’s reign it fell gradually into dilapidation.

Blue Dragon Temple

The Tang Dynasty was the flourishing period of the development of Buddhism in China. With the famous senior monk Huiguo as its abbot the Blue Dragon Temple then used to be one of the important preaching pulpits for Esoteric Buddhism which was in vogue for a time. Those who came Io learn the doctrines included not only monks at home but also friars from Japan and Xinluo (Korea today). Among Buddhist history in Japan. “of the eight monks who came to the Tang Dynasty in Chang’an. Those who acquired great attainments and stood out prominent from among others were Kukai, Yuanxing, Yuanren. Huiyuan, Yuanzhen and Zongrui.

Following the Japanese envoys Kukai came to Chang’an in 804. He first stayed in the Ximing Temple and later followed Monk Huiguo of the Blue Dragon Temple to study Esoteric Buddhism. He returned to Japan in 806 when finished his study and established the True Word Sect of Buddhism (Shingon in Japanese) in Japan and finally became a great master in establishing the “Eastern Esotericism.” While preaching Buddhist doctrines in Japan he also interlaced Chinese literature, calligraphy, astronomy and medicine to Japan, thereby making a great contribution to the cultural exchanges between the two countries.

Blue Dragon Temple

After the founding of the People’s republic of China the state has paid a great attention to the preservation and protection of the cultural relics. In 1956, the People’s Commission of Shaanxi Province made the ruins of the Blue Dragon Temple an important cultural unit under the protection of the province and in 1982, the Xi’an Municipal Govern ment set up an office for the protection of the temple ruins . At the same time the Archeological Research Institution of Chinese Academy of some times having twice made explorations and excavation on the site, has so far discovered seven ruined spots of the temple gates, pagoda, halls and corridors. The archeological findings from the excavation include the building materials of some lotus-flower-patterned gilded Buddha figurines and some debris of tricolor Buddha images as well as Buddhist scripture columns .f the Tang Dynasty. The discovery of these objects has provided mor~ evidences for a further study of the history of the temple. Since the normalization of the diplomatic relations between China and Japan friendly exchanges between me two countries have been further developed. To memorize the great masters of Kukai and Huiguo, the pioneers who’ve contributed a lot to the friendly exchanges of the two connives a memorial hall for Masters Huiguo and Kukai was jointly built and with a monument to Kukai erected on the very site of the Blue Dragon Temple. In this way, it is to eulogize their exploits and also for the people to pay homage to them. It is hoped that the peopes of the two countries will keep on the spirit of learning from each other in making progress so that the friendship of the two countries will be passed on for generation to come.