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WuTang Trip to China 2002

Master Yang and "Grandpa" outside Confucius' Teaching Pavilion 


Outside the Taoist Temple Taiqing Palace, Laoshan Mountain

The Ancient Chinese Philosopher Confucius (Kong Fu Zi) lived from 551 to 479BC.
His home and gardens were made into a Temple in 478BC, the year after his death. We visited Confucius Temple (Kong Miao) in the city of Qufu. Here we saw: the Kuiwen building, or repository with hundreds of stone tablets engraved with the teachings of Confucius; the Lu Wall, where texts were hidden when the Emperor Qin Shihuang ordered all the books burned; the Old Well; the Apricot Pavilion (xingtan), where Confucius taught his students; and the Confucius Mansion, where his decendents lived for thousands of years. Here we were able to tour the inner quarters of the Mansion that were always closed to outsiders. Even their own waterboy had to remain outside and pour water through a trough in the wall. Confucius is buried nearby in Konglin, the largest manmade forest in China.
Group assembling inside the Temple which dates back to the Song Dynasty

Looking up at the surrounding Laoshan Mountain Range

Alicia and Godson Zhang Maochang in the Temple
Laoshan Mountain Range to the east of Qingdao, in Shandong Province is an area known for its scenic spots. It towers above the Yellow Sea with an altitude of 1133 meters. It is also famous as the birthplace of Praying Mantis Kungfu and source of Laoshan Mineral Water used to make Qingdao Beer. Laoshan is dotted with Temples and Pavilions. One notable Temple is Taiqing Palace, where we visited a Taoist Monastery that has existed since the Song Dynasty.   
Whole Group on the way out of the Temple

Outside the Temple, Laoshan Mountain Range meeting the Sea in the background
Godson Zhang Maochang playing Praying Mantis at the tournament
Click here for Tournament Photos
Standing outside South Heavenly Gate on Mt. Taishan
Staircase on Mt. Taishan
MT. TAI (Taishan) is the head of the five sacred mountains of China. It was visited by 72 Emperors of successive Dynasties. The mountain is covered with Temples and scenic vistas. Here we saw YuHuang Temple, altitude 1545 meters, Bixia Temple built in the Song Dynasty, Moon Watching Peak, and Duguan Peak where the trip made by Emperor Xuanzhong is recorded in stone, 13.3 meters high with 996 characters written by the Emperor himself.  
Group on Mt. Taishan

Outside the Jade Emperor (Yu Huang) Temple at the top of Mt. Taishan

Master Yang playing Baji on Moon Watching Peak, Mt. Taishan

A shot over Bixia Temple with Moon Watching Peak in the background 
Daguan Peak, 996 characters written by Emperor Xuanzhong of the Tang Dynasty


Songshan Mountain Range, near Shaolin
Songshan Mountain Range in Henan Province is the Central of the five sacred mountains. The main section of it lies in the northeast of Dengfeng County, Henan. It consists of 72 peaks, Shaoshishan is the highest at 1440 meters. The Songshan region has many attractions, the most famous of which is the Shaolin Temple. An Indian Monk, Damo, visited the Temple in 527AD. Legend has it that Damo, also known as Bodhidharma, found the monks frail and sickly from lack of exercise. He ascended Songshan mountain and meditated in a cave for "nine years". I had the pleasure of climbing Songshan and "sitting" in Damo's Cave.
Standing outside Da Mo's Cave on Songshan above Shaolin


Large Statue of Da Mo above the Cave on Songshan

Mountain Gate Shaolin Temple 
 A huge statue of Damo is located at the summit of Mount Songshan and is visible from the valley. Ascending to the summit of Mt. Songshan is rather simple and takes about 45 - 60 minutes. Though there are many side trails on the way to the top, it is easy to reconize the main trail. The main trail to the summit starts between the Shaolin temple and the Forest of Stupas. At the left side of the temple, just after the parking lot, is a clearing with a narrow stone-paved road leading from it. Right past the primitive bathroom, the road turns immediately to the left, running across a couple of small farms. Always follow this road and ignore the small trails leaving from its right side. The trail continues with a few turns between corn and soybean fields. Then a sequence of steep and narrow staircases run rapidly to the cave of Bodhidharma. About one third of the way up, the trail runs right into a Temple. You may visit the front parts of the Temple, but the rear is the private quarters of the Nunnery. The main trail goes around the left side of the Temple. On this trail it is common to meet martial art students or monks going up and down. About half way up is an empty stupa with vendors selling trinkets in front of it. It gets steep after this, mainly stone staircases. The Bodhidharma cave, near the top, is where according to the legend the monk Damo meditated for "nine years" facing the wall. When he emerged he had created the exercises that gave birth to martial arts at Shaolin. The cave is tended by several Buddhists (Nuns when I went) who pray here and burn incense. Inside the cave are the statues of Bodhidharma and his disciples Huike, Sengcan and Daoxin. The stone arch outside the cave was built in 1604 AD. From the cave there is one steep stone staircase to the summit. At the top there is a small pagoda with vendors. A trail leads away to the the Bodhidharma statue. There is a small temple there. Damo is also known for bringing Chan or Zen Buddhism to China.

Master Yang at Long Men Caves near Luoyang


One of Thousands of Buddhas carved into recess caves at Long Men


Master Yang at Long Men
Dragon Gate (Long Men) Grottoes outside the city of Luoyang are a series of caves and niches cut into the limestone cliffs along the banks of the Yi River. The caves are filled with statues of various images of Buddha, as well as inscriptions and other Buddhist figures like Bodhisattvas, Celestial Warrior Guardians and Kings of Heaven. There are more than 1300 caves, 40 pagodas, and almost 100,000 statues of Buddha. The earliest carvings date back to around 493 AD, but the majority were done in the seventh century during the Tang Dynasty. It took over 400 years to complete. The largest of the thousands of Buddhas is the Buddha Vairocana, symbol of creation. It is 56 feet high and was begun in the seventh century. The Central Ping Cave is one of two built by Emperor Yuan Lo for Emperor Xiao Wen Di and Empress Dowager Wen Zhao. It is said to have taken 25 years and more than 800,000 workers to carve. It has 11 statues of Buddha, the main one about 27 feet high. The ceiling has a large lotus flower carved on it. Some scenes were taken around 1935, the Empress worshipping Buddha is now located in the Nelson Art Museum in Kansas City. The Medical Perscription Cave has about 120 herbal remedies for various diseases carved around its entrance.
Group picture in front of the Largest Buddha at Long Men

Buddha Vairocana symbol of creation

Master Yang in front of Gen. Kwan's tomb in Guanlin Temple

The RED faced General Kwan with Guan Pin and Zhou Cang


A Replica of Gen. Kwan's Weapon you may try to lift weighing nearly 120 pounds
GENERAL Kwan, born Yun-ch`ang aka. Guan Yu, Lord Kwan, Kwan the Noble, Guan Gung, Guan Di, Gen. Quan, etc. is the patron saint of martial arts, or God of War. He was a famous general of the Shu Kingdom during the Han Dynasty who was born around 160 AD and died 219AD. His exploints are the stuff of legend and glorified in the Chinese Classic, "Romance of the Three Kingdoms". Loyal and honorable, he became known for his valor, an incredible fighter, renowned for his strength, hence his deification. Gen. Guan's Temple (Guanlin) is a memorial and tomb south of Luoyang. Inside the first hall there is the statue of General Guan Yu sitting. On either side of the statue of Guan Yu are two standing statues, on the left, Guan Pin, Guan Yu's son, holding a large seal and on the right, Zhou Cang, Guan's disciple, holding a big saber. There are many ancient pine and cypress trees, several halls, an octagonal pavilion and Guanyu's tomb. Construction work on this temple complex began in 1595, during the reign of Ming Emperor Wanli.
Master Yang at Bai Ma Si (White Horse Temple)


Master Yang in front of monk statue in Bai Ma Si
White Horse Temple (Bai Ma Si) was the first Buddhist Temple in China, established in the year 68 AD. The two Indian monks that came brought the Buddhist scriptures on a white horse. Emperor Ming of the Eastern Han Dynasty lodged the monks at the Honglu Temple, which had a guesthouse for foreign emissaries. When living quarters for the monks were built in the temple the following year, the temple was renamed White Horse Temple, in order to memorialize the white horse's contribution. The gate of the White Horse Temple was built in Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). White Horse Temple has more than 40 upright stone tablets dating back to the Tang Dynasty. Outside there are two life-size stone horses carved in the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279).  
Touching the Healing Rock
Group outside Bai Ma Si

Rob in a Museum!

Bagua on the Museum lobby floor
The same Bagua as viewed through a glass sphere on the second floor

We actually got Rob into two Museums and an "Art Exhibit". This was the second and by far the better Museum, Henan Provincial Museum in Zhengzhou. Here we saw artifacts of all sorts, exquisite porcelain, jade objects including a full body suit, ancient coins and weapons, stone and bronze statues, engraved gold and silver bars, tomb guardians, the first Chinese seismograph and an ancient bone flute. We were especially lucky to be treated to a musical program featuring traditional Chinese instruments and costumes.
Musical Program at the Museum

All the musicians take a bow
Click to see a whole Gallery of Great Wall Pictures

Tiananmen Square at sunset
Another visit to Dong Hai Chuan's grave

The End of another fine trip to China with Master Yang.

Special Thanks to Zhang Weifu, director of the tournament, Wei Ping, Grandpa’s nephew, who was responsible for organizing most everything else, Master Sun Jian Kua, Sun Zhian, and tour guide Bruce Li, and Song Chang Ji and Yang Xiao Hua, who took time and energy to teach us martial arts.

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