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Luoyan, 04 White Horses from the West

This is a documentary from Chinese Central TV on the White Horse temple in Luoyang, which was the first Buddhist Temple in China.

The temple was founded in the 1st century of the Common Era, when the then Emperor Ming of the Eastern Han dynasty had a dream about the Buddha and send emissaries to the west to find him.

They returned with two Buddhist monks on white horses, and the Emperor was delighted, and when the foundation was named it was called after after the white horses which brought the monks.

They translated many Indian Buddhist texts, including the Sūtra of the Forty Two Chapters, and later translators who worked at the temple include Dharmarakṣa and Xuanzang.

Apart from the texts nothing of the temple from the early period survives, of course, and most of the buildings and the monastic life come from the Tang dynasty period (618–907).

The film, which is part of a series about Luoyang, explains the foundation of the temple, and its development as one of the most important of centres for Buddhist learning in the country, and the gradual sinicization of the religion in its new homeland.

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