The Seven Wonders of China: Part 3/5

February 13, 2013

4. Leshan Buddha

Everything about this Buddha is BIG. More than a thousand years old, it took almost a century to carve the Leshan Buddha from the solid rock cliff. The Buddha looks out over a river and legend says the rugged, unpredictable river sunk many boats drowning people until the Buddha was carved from the cliff.

It is thought that the rocks cut from the cliff while the Buddha was being constructed tumbled into the river and calmed the currents. However, today, air pollution as in acid rain from industry is threatening the Buddha. Maintaining the Buddha has become a challenge. About two million people visit each year.

5.Mount Wudang

To the Chinese, Mt. Wudang is the first mountain under heaven. Ornate palaces may be found on the mountains slopes. Temples, pavilions and bridges are all designed to harmonize with the landscape. This mountain is also the home of Wudang Kung Fu. A martial art that is still active today after seven hundred years. In Chinese terms, Wudang is a small town of 20,000 people that is a fascinating mix of tradition and modernity.

Continued on February 14, 2013 in The Seven Wonders of China: Part 4 or return to Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Bodhidharma and “A Sudden Dawn” by Goran Powell

February 5, 2013

An Indian prince, Siddartha Guatama, became the Buddha in the 6th Century BC, and recorded history says Buddhism first arrived in China about four hundred years later—more than two centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ.

After the Buddha died, tradition says that Buddhism split—Christianity and Islam also split into different sects after the founders died—into two major branches that divided again several times over the centuries. Today, Buddhism has about 379 million followers and is the world’s fifth largest religion.

The Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk and a teacher who lived during the fifty and/or sixth century AD—about twelve-hundred years after Buddha.

A Sudden Dawn is an epic historical fiction novel that opens with a young man named Sardili born in 507 AD to the Indian warrior caste.

The author of A Sudden Dawn is Goran Powell, 4th dan, GojuRyu Karate. He is an author of two martial arts books, a freelance writer in London and a recipient of numerous advertising awards. Powell is a regular contributor to martial arts magazines and has twice appeared on the cover of Traditional Karate Magazine. This is his first novel. Powell resides in London with his wife and three children.

In A Sudden Dawn, Sardili realizes that he would rather seek enlightenment than follow his family’s military legacy and he sets out on a life-long quest for truth and wisdom that leads him to China where he becomes the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma, known as Da Mo in China.

Da Mo establishes the Shaolin Temple as the birthplace of Zen and the Martial Arts. In ancient China, bandits and thieves were widespread and Buddhist temples were vulnerable to attack. The Da Mo taught a fighting system for the monks to defend themselves, and it proved successful. Over time, the Buddhist Shaolin style of martial arts evolved to what it is today.


The discovery of Bodhidarma’s burial temple in China

What do others say about Goran Powell’s historical fiction novel?

Harriet Klausner, the #1 Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer, says, “This is an entertaining biographical fiction that enables the reader to understand the life of the founder of the Shaolin movement; in fact the temple Bodhidharma constructed over fifteen centuries ago is still there. Although the romance elements feel forced, the era and the hero come across vividly clear. Readers who appreciate a deep ancient Asian tale will enjoy this super glimpse at a devoted sixth century legendary Buddhist monk.”

L.A. Kane, an Amazon Vine Voice and an Amazon top 1,000 reviewer says, “I’ve read thousands of novels, hundreds of terrific tomes, yet A Sudden Dawn easily makes my top ten. It does not matter if you know of Bodhidharma, care about martial arts, or can even spell the word “Shaolin,” if you have any interest whatsoever in historical fiction you will be captivated by this extraordinary tale. …”

Shawn Kovacich, an Amazon Vine Voice, says, “Being a long time practitioner of the martial arts I tend to be very subjective and quite picky when it comes to fictionalized accounts of the martial arts and martial arts fighting. However, I found that all of my preconceived notions and prejudices were totally unfounded concerning this very well written and totally engrossing novel based upon historical events and people (to a certain extent). … It is that good!”

Discover Cults and Christian Cannon Balls

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Wu Zetian, China’s Female Emperor – Part 3/4

November 10, 2010

After the death of Emperor Taizong, Wu’s first husband, she lived in a Buddhist monastery as a nun and was a faithful follower of Buddhism.

Some scholars claim that she became a Buddhist for political reasons.

In fact, she did have many Buddhist temples built and sculptures of Buddha made.  This cost a great deal.

However, as far as affairs of state were concerned, she made good decisions without hesitation.

She did not allow her Buddhist beliefs to influence her decisions.

For example, she only promoted officials who earned the right to be promoted. There is no evidence of favoritism.


Mandarin with English Subtitles

She also did not rule as a tyrant. Before making decisions, she listened to all views. Today, historians study her ruling style, and the evidence says her political decisions were wise ones.

During the fifty years that Wu ruled the Tang Dynasty, China’s borders expanded north, south and west and she did not lose any of the territory won.

Wu understood that with the people’s support, political stability was guaranteed. When there were tragedies such as floods, the dynasty offered relief so the people recovered.

Although imperial family members attempted to restore the Tang Dynasty, most of the rebellions were suppressed in two or three months.

Officials who were convicted of failing in their duties to the people were punished and often beheaded.

While Wu ruled China, the role of women in Chinese society changed drastically. Women didn’t have to worry about the clothing they wore. Women wrote poetry, rode horses, played Chinese chess, made music and practiced archery as men did.

Even after Wu was forced to retire at eighty, there were officials that called for her to return. The historical records show that the Tang emperors that followed here were not as open as she was.

Return to Wu Zetian, China’s Female Emperor – Part 2 or continue to Part 4

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Tang Dynasty (618 – 906 AD) – Part 3/4

September 25, 2010

Later, after the first Tang emperor, Taoism was removed as the national religion and all religions were treated equal.

This benefitted Buddhism.

In 1987, archeologists discovered an underground temple/palace below the Famen Temple that had been built and sealed during the Tang Dynasty and found a solid-gold pagoda and inside was a finger bone of the founder of Buddhism, Sakyamuni.

The seventeen-hundred year-old Famen Temple was built during the Eastern Han Dynasty. To date, this is the largest underground Buddhist palace/temple in China.

Although China is known as the home of tea, it wasn’t until the Tang Dynasty that drinking tea became part of the culture when the Chinese also invented noodles.

Chang’an, known as Xian when it was the capital of China’s first emperor, had an east and west market that sold goods from around the known world.

A popular past time for both men and women during the dynasty was playing polo, which had been introduced from Persia.

Art, music and dance flourished in the Tang capital.  The political flexibility of the Tang Dynasty promoted social tolerance leading to stability.

Continued in Tang Dynasty – Part 4 or return to The Tang Dynasty (618 – 906 AD) – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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