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China to expand its oldest Buddhist temple

(Xinhua)

10:18, January 04, 2012

Photo taken on Dec. 18, 2008 shows the Indian Buddhist hall adjacent to a Chinese hall in Baima Temple, or White Horse Temple, in Luoyang, central China's Henan Province. As the first and oldest Buddhist temple in China, the White Horse Temple was established in 68 A.D. in Luoyang. Nowadays, an exposition zone of worldwide Buddhist halls, including that of India, Thailand, Nepal, Japan, etc., are being constructed in the temple. (Xinhua/Wang Song)

ZHENGZHOU, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Central China's Henan province has approved a plan to expand and renovate the Baima Temple, the oldest Buddhist temple in China, local religious affairs authorities said Tuesday.

The complex of the Baima Temple, or the White Horse Temple, will be expanded into a cultural park of 1,300 mu (about 87 hectares) in eight years, said an official with the religious affairs bureau in the city of Luoyang, where the temple is located.

The 1,943-year-old temple was the first Buddhist temple in China and is considered "the cradle of Chinese Buddhism" by most believers.

The expanded complex will include an area for 10 exotic shrines that will come from foreign countries, the official said.

An Indian shrine and a Thai shrine have already risen in the courtyard.

The bureau said last week that the government of Myanmar has agreed to build a shrine there, and construction is expected to start in April.

In order to make the shrine in a genuine Myanma style, most of the materials and decorations will be shipped from Myanmar.

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