White Horse Temple (simplified Chinese: 白马寺; traditional Chinese: 白馬寺; pinyin: Báimǎ Sì, Wade-Giles: Paima szu) is, according to tradition, the first Buddhist temple in China, established in 68 AD under the patronage of Emperor Ming in the Eastern Han capital Luoyang.
The site is located just outside the walls of the ancient Eastern Han capital, some 12–13 kilometres (7.5–8.1 mi) east of Luoyang in Henan Province. It is located approximately 40 minutes by bus No. 56 from the Luoyang train station. The temple, although small in size in comparison to many other temples in China, is considered by most believers as "the cradle of Chinese Buddhism". The geographical landmarks to the south of the temple are Manghan mountain and Lucoche River.
The main temple buildings, a large complex, were reconstructed during the Ming (1368 to 1644) and Qing (1644 to 1912) dynasties. They were refurbished in 1950s, and again in March 1973 after the Cultural Revolution. It has numerous halls divided by several courtyards and manicured gardens, covering an area extending to about 13 hectares (32 acres). The display plaques in Chinese and English give ample descriptions of the Buddhist deities installed in various halls. Significant statues include Śākyamuni Buddha, Maitreya-the laughing Buddha, the Jade Buddha, and figures of saints such as Guru Avalokiteśvara, Amitābha and arhats. Stone statues of the two white horses, which brought the Indian monks to China, and of two mythical lions are seen at the entrance. Under international funding, the temple has undergone many changes, both structurally and internally. The most recent cooperative project, with India, was completed in 2008 when the Sanchi Stupa and the Sarnath Buddha statue were erected.
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... Peony Festival (mudan huahui) is an important flower festival, which is held in Luoyang every year on April 10–25 and which attracts large crowds to the city and the White Horse Temple ... The legend linked to this festival is that Peony flower did not follow the orders of the queen Empress Wu of the Tang Dynasty to bloom during winter and she became enraged that it did not obey her command ...
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