Indian president to unveil religious gift to China's oldest Buddhist temple

10:45, May 29, 2010      

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Indian President Pratibha Patil will visit the White Horse Temple, in central China's Luoyang City, on Saturday, where she will attend an inauguration ceremony of an Indian style Buddhist structure.

The Indian president's visit to the White Horse Temple will increase Buddhist culture exchanges between the two countries, said Wu Chunzhi, a lay Buddhist at the monastery.

The nearly 2,000-year-old White Horse Temple was the first Buddhist temple in China. The first residents in the temple were two prominent Indian Buddhist monks, Kasyapa Matanga and Dharmaranya.

The 60-year-old Buddhist, Wu, a retiree from the capital Zhengzhou City of Henan Province, said the Indian style Buddhist temple was "a gift to China's Buddhism from the Indian Government."

Wu said the temple was very holy, and "because Buddhism originated from India, the Buddha statue transported from India to go inside the White Horse Temple would make Chinese people feel closer to the religion's origin."

China and India signed a memorandum on the construction of the Indian style Buddhist temple on the western side of the White Horse Temple during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India in 2005.

The memo said in a bid to expand India-China Buddhist cultural links, the two countries would jointly construct the Indian style Buddhist temple in Luoyang.

According to the memo, the Indian side would provide the main architectural design for the temple project, its blue print, materials used for the temple and the landscape planning. Once the temple was completed, India would also provide the Buddha Idol and other accompanying materials.

China would provide 2,667 square meters of land for the temple and offer support and advice on its construction. The Indian government would fund the construction of the temple.

Patil arrived in Beijing on Wednesday, kicking off her six-day state visit to China. After visiting Luoyang, she will travel to Shanghai to attend the World Expo.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:王千原雪)

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