Caotang Temple

Caotang Temple  is situated in Huxian County, fifty kilometers west of Xi'an. It was completed in 401 AD. When Monk Kumarajiva of Kuqa in the western Regions visited China, he preached the Buddhist stura and proofread and translated the classics.

Kumarajiva's father hailed Hilws from India and his mother came from the Kuqa of present-day Xinjiang, where he was born. He attained the full status of monk at the royal palace of Kuqa by the age of twenty, later becoming a state master in Chang'an. Altogether Kumarajiva translated 97 volumes of scripture, the first undertaking of its kind in China. The Three Sastra School and Satyasiddhi, the two Buddhist sects he founded preach the doctrine of retribution and greatly influenced Chinese Buddhism.

Kumarajiva died in 413 at the age of seventy, and was cremated in accordance with the customs of the Western Regions. He was buried at the Temple of the Thatched hall. His grave tower still exists. Mde of marble, the octagonal tower has twelve storeys whose height is about 2.6 meters. The body of the tower is carved with reliefs and other decorations.

Caotang Temple is surrounded by pines and bamboos; its air is clear and fresh. In the courtyard behind the temple there is a "smoking" well. In autumn abd winter mornings, mist rises from the well and floats towards Chang'an. Today, there is a colorful pavilion in ancient style near the well, where it is very pleasant to sit and watch the mist and clouds rolling on distant mountains.