Nikon, Sigma 8MM
Panoweaver 8 Professional Edition
"Ayuwang (Asoka) Temple Panorama
(c. 282, 405, 502, rebuilt thereafter)
Here you can have a panoramic view
of Ayuwang (Asoka) Temple. The Asoka, or Ayuwang, temple is located about a dozen miles east of Ningbo in Zhejiang Province. Along the way the flat terrain of the city soon gives way to somewhat scenic hills and an interesting pagoda. The temple is located near the Luhua Peak in the Taibai mountains, one of China's five important Buddhist mountains. The temple is part of the Chan (Zen) sect and attracts many Chinese and Japanese pilgrims and tourists as well as the occasional European or American visitor. It is the only remaining temple in China named after the Indian king and Buddhist proselytizer.
There are numerous legends connected with the founding and early history of the temple complex. The original temple apparently was built during the reign of Taikang of the Western Jin Dynasty in 282 AD, though traces of it have long disappeared. Its prized possession is a parietal bone of Sakyamuni, the Buddha, dug up in the late 3rd century. It is one of the reported 84,000 reliquaries made by King Asoka, India's first major patron of Buddhism (c. 274 -237 BC). The relic is housed in a seven-step stone stupa, about 20 inches high, in the Hall of Stupa.
Asoka, or the 'king of Zhouli' according to the Chinese, reportedly saw the area of Ningbo as a place of peace and harmony. Soon Hui Lian, a senior monk, searching for a place for a temple, heard a sound
from the ground and found a hotspring, and the temple miraculously appeared. In 405 the emperor confirmed that this was the truth and built another temple to protect the first one and added other buildings. In 502 another layer of temples was built, and Emperor Liang Wudi became a major Buddhist proselytizer; he named it ""A yu wang."" It still has many 'layers' today and has very extensive grounds.
The temple appears often in the historical literature. Sushi, a Song Dynasty poet, wrote a complete history of the temple; Jian Chen, a great calligrapher also wrote about it, as did the Song calligrapher, Zhang Jiucheng. In one of the three pagodas on site there is an interesting collection of Buddhas.
In 1993 the eastern part was refurbished, and there was discovered some calligraphy from the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. The temple also has a unique calligraphy collection, including some from the Qianlong emperor most prolific calligrapher and writer who visited the site in the eighteenth century. There are significant gardens and enjoyable scenic spots as well.