Friday, August 18


The Summer Palace, or Yiheyuan, dates in its present form from Qing (Manchu) rule (1644-1911.) In the 1750s the emperor Qianlong commanded the creation of the lake and redesigned the temple atop Longevity Hill. Severely damaged during the punitive Anglo-French expedition of 1860, it was ordered to be restored after the Empress Dowager Cixi managed to embezzle some navy funds in the 1880s.

Surprise at the top of the hill: Bhaisajyagurubaiduryaprabhasa.

Bhaisajyaguru, aka Yao Shih Fwo in Chinese and Yakushi in Japanese, is one of the three foremost Buddhas of the Chinese pantheon. Also known as the Medicine Buddha or the Healing Master, this Buddha's efficacy is in preventing calamities and curing illness. The Sutra of the Buddha of Medicine (Bhaisajyaraja Sutra) was translated into Chinese first during the Chin dynasty, and then corrected and republished by Tripitaka Master Hsuan Tsang during the Tang. Hsuan Tsang's work is known as Bhaisajyaguru - Vaidurya - Prabhasa-Tathagata, i.e. Teacher of Medicines - Learning Glow - Who Here Arrived.

At Yiheyuan, Bhaisajyaguru is found in a triad with Sakyamuni Buddha and Amitabha Buddha, and his symbols are the medicine bowl and the pagoda.

Back to Beijing.


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