Saturday, January 31, 2009

Guangzhou 1

The five-goat statue is the symbol of Guangzhou. Legend has it that five immortals came to Guangzhou riding on five goats. They blessed the city with wealth and prosperity before they returned to heaven, leaving behind the five goats. Ever since, Guangzhou has been a rich city. Till today, it is still one of the richest cities in China.

Guangzhou has a history of more than 2000 years, plays an important role in the spread of Zen Buddhism to China, is a sacred site for Muslims, and the base for the nationalists who overthrew the last feudal dynasty.

The founder of Chinese Zen Buddhism - Ven. Damo (达摩) first landed in China at Guang Xiao Temple (光孝寺), before he further his journey to the north and eventually settled down in Shaolin Temple. There are still legacies of his stay at Guangxiao Temple, including the well where he washed his ink stone.

Guangxiao Temple is also where the 6th Zen grand master Ven Huineng (惠能) was ordained. His hair was buried underneather the 7-level pagoda behind the main hall.

Guangziao Temple's official site is available here.

The Hair Pagoda of Ven Huineng

Guangzhou one of the earliest mosques in China. It is called Guangtasi (怀圣光塔寺), literally meaning in memory of the holy prophet. It has an Arab style tower in the mosque, which also served as a light tower in the ancient days. More information (in both Chinese and English) is available here.

(To be continued...)

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