Qinglong Temple

The Qinglong Temple is located on the tableland north of Tielumiao Village, about three kilometers southeast from the downtown area.

The temple, set up in 582 AD, used to be called Ling Gan Si (Temple of Inspiration) in the Sui Dynasty. The present name didn't appear until 711 AD. The Qinglong Temple was the place of origin of the Japanese Mi Sect of Buddhism. From the early period to the middle of the ninth century, many Japanese monks were sent to China to study Buddhism. Six of the eight famous Japanese who came to China in the Tang Dynasty studied at the Qinglong Temple. Kukai, a famous monk was one of them.

Kukai, with a given Buddhist name Master Hongfa, was born at Sanudiokuni (present-day Dagawaken County) in Japan in 774 AD. In 804 AD, he came to China with the Japanese envoy Huziwara Kuzunomaro to study Buddhism. It was in Qinglong Temlpe that he acknowledged Hui Guo as a Mi Sect master.

Master Hui Guo poured holy water on the Japanese youth's head as a sign of acceptance, and gave him the Buddhist title Bian Zhao Jin Gang (Buddha's full-time warrior attendanat). Kukai thus became the eight master of Mi Sect. Hui Guo also had the newly-translated Buddhist scriptures and pictures of Mi Sect masters copied for Kukai. He also had special religious instruments of Mi sect made for him. Being an extremely studious monk, Kukai finished his studies in less than two years and then went back to Japan.

After his return, Kukai built the Buddhist Warrior Attendant Temple at Koyasan and founded the Zhenyan Sect (the True Word Sect). kukai was not only versed in the Buddhist teachings, but was also a great calligrapher. It is said that when part of Wang Xizhi's writing on the walls of the royal palace faded with the passage of time, Emperor De Zong asked Kukai to supply them. Kukai accomplished the task in one breach and the rewritten characters looked exactly the same as those of the former renowned calligrapher. On seeing this, the Emperor couldn't help admiring his superb skill of calligraphy. Having possessed remarkable talents in all the five forms of Chinese calligraphy (regular script, survive script, running script, clerical script and seal script), Kukai was thus called the five-styled monk. Together with Emperor Sagatenno and Tatibananchayanri, he was praised as one of the Three Brushes of Japan. His work Fushinho has been regarded as a calligraphic model, and the original is considered a national treasure. Apart from this, he also wrote many other influential books on specific subjects.

His Bundyohifuron is a masterpiece for the study of the Tang poetry. His Tenreibansyomeigi was the first Chinese dictionary in Japan. His Siipituhos was the earliest works on Chinese calligraphy. Referring to the Chinese cursive script, Kukai invented the system for the Japanese language桯iragana, which is still in use today. He also established an institution of Sogeishinchiin in Kyoto after the Tang educational system which drew students from ordinary families. When he went back to Japan, he took with him many volumes of Buddhist scriptures and original works of Wang Xizhi's calligraphy. He also introduced the Chinese techniques of irrigation and brush-making to Japan and helped to advance the economic and cultural exchanges between the two countries. The novel Kukainofukei written by the contemporary Japanese writer Shibaryotar is based on Kukkai's life in China. It was written on praise the friendship between the two peoples.
A monument in memory of Kukai was set up in 1982 at the Qinglong Temple. The halls have been restored so that tourists may come for a visit.