PDA

View Full Version : Ancient Hindu Temples in China



philosoraptor
20 July 2013, 08:12 AM
http://www.india.cd/members/indian/activity/872/



China’s hindu temples were built by Tamil traders 800 years to 1000 years ago for personal worship when they settled in Quanzhou region for managing trade. Many of them have collapsed now but manuscripts and figures of gods have been recovered and preserved by Chinese museums. Earliest settlers from Tamil kingdoms came as early as 6th or 7th century. “These rich Indian men and women mainly live on vegetables, milk and rice,” a Chinese writer of that time wrote, unlike the Chinese “who eat meat and fish.”

Jeffery D. Long
20 July 2013, 10:10 AM
This is fascinating. There is certainly a great untold story to be discovered of the ancient interactions between Southern India and East Asia. In addition to the trade with China recounted here, the similarities between the Tamil and Japanese languages are truly striking.

Sudas Paijavana
20 July 2013, 10:43 AM
delete

philosoraptor
20 July 2013, 12:08 PM
What I found most interesting about this was the anecdote, from a non-interested source, asserting that the Indian visitors were vegetarians.

This is interesting because some academics perpetually argue that whatever is good about Hinduism (i.e. vegetarianism, etc) was a later addition.

Jeffery D. Long
20 July 2013, 01:07 PM
What I found most interesting about this was the anecdote, from a non-interested source, asserting that the Indian visitors were vegetarians.

This is interesting because some academics perpetually argue that whatever is good about Hinduism (i.e. vegetarianism, etc) was a later addition.

Also interesting to note that the Indians are described as rich. Of course, they were merchants, but this also cuts against the tendency of westerners to see India as having been perpetually poor (and to blame this poverty on an imagined Hindu "fatalism," essentially a mangled version of the karma doctrine).

And also worth pointing out that they were living in China, meaning ancient Indians traveled (contrary to simplistic readings of the Manusmriti). And presumably some of them were Brahmins. Someone had to serve in those temples. This was definitely the case in Southeast Asia during the same period.

Ganeshprasad
20 July 2013, 01:50 PM
Pranam



Also interesting to note that the Indians are described as rich. Of course, they were merchants, but this also cuts against the tendency of westerners to see India as having been perpetually poor (and to blame this poverty on an imagined Hindu "fatalism," essentially a mangled version of the karma doctrine).

That perception is absolutely wrong, India was and still is very rich, first for thousand of years it has been perpetually looted and now the politicians has been doing it.



And also worth pointing out that they were living in China, meaning ancient Indians traveled (contrary to simplistic readings of the Manusmriti). And presumably some of them were Brahmins. Someone had to serve in those temples. This was definitely the case in Southeast Asia during the same period.

My understanding is that the crossing the sea was tabu, i could be wrong but that is my understanding.

Long before 1000 year history of this temple Ashoka's empire stretched a far distance.

It is though very interesting to note the dietary habit of Indians then, although it would not come as surprise to many of us.

Jai Shree Krishna

Omkara
20 July 2013, 02:10 PM
Also interesting to note that the Indians are described as rich. Of course, they were merchants, but this also cuts against the tendency of westerners to see India as having been perpetually poor (and to blame this poverty on an imagined Hindu "fatalism," essentially a mangled version of the karma doctrine).


According to economic historian Angus Maddison in his book Contours of the world economy, 1–2030 AD: essays in macro-economic history, India had the world's largest economy in terms of GDP for 16 of the last 20 centuries. In fact India's share of the world economy was around 33% compared to about 21% for the U.S.A. today. Not surprisingly, India's share of world GDP declined continuously throughout the period it was under the rule of the adharmic ideologies of Islam, Christianity and Socialism. It is only after free market reforms that India's share of the world economy has begun to rise again.

jignyAsu
20 July 2013, 04:07 PM
What I found most interesting about this was the anecdote, from a non-interested source, asserting that the Indian visitors were vegetarians.

This is interesting because some academics perpetually argue that whatever is good about Hinduism (i.e. vegetarianism, etc) was a later addition.


Excellent info and deduction also. Thanks a lot for sharing!

The influence of Hindu tradition is visibly seen in Thailand today, which means the Hindus used to travel regularly by sea in Bay of Bengal. They ofcourse must have traveled further in the south china sea to extend influence on Philippines, Quanzhou etc.

Looking at Thailand, Sri Lanka etc. it seems like some kind of efforts to spread our dharma were always going on.

The warning against crossing the sea must have originated by examining the culture in those countries.

Atleast one thing is for sure. If our ancestors could manage to be staunch vegetarians even in China of those times, we should be ashamed of complaining about practicality of being a strict vegetarian, now :).

Sudas Paijavana
20 July 2013, 06:39 PM
delete

Girisha
20 July 2013, 10:26 PM
I live near Hong Kong and will be visiting the Happy Valley temple there within the next week or so- I'll post some pictures.

There are very few if any Hindu temples in mainland China particularly in the north but the government is now supporting Mahayana Buddhist and Taoist-Shenist temples. There is a very fine place down the road from me in Zhuhai- I have a few photos...

Omkara
21 July 2013, 08:11 AM
And also worth pointing out that they were living in China, meaning ancient Indians traveled (contrary to simplistic readings of the Manusmriti). And presumably some of them were Brahmins. Someone had to serve in those temples. This was definitely the case in Southeast Asia during the same period.

See this-
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_zS2JDRBdNzk/TUP5CsQysFI/AAAAAAAADBM/Fa36mejCQXg/s1600/kingdom+of+rajendra+chola.JPG

Jeffery D. Long
21 July 2013, 10:19 AM
See this-
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_zS2JDRBdNzk/TUP5CsQysFI/AAAAAAAADBM/Fa36mejCQXg/s1600/kingdom+of+rajendra+chola.JPG

Great map!

Yes, there is definitely a reason scholars have sometimes referred to Southeast Asia as part of a "Greater India."

And note that the trade route extends northward off the map toward China (and Japan).

Believer
21 July 2013, 10:53 AM
Namaste,

Thank you P/R for the info. and Omkara for the map. Compare that to the current times when Hinduism is not recognized as a religion in China and no Hindu temples are allowed to be built there.


Not surprisingly, India's share of world GDP declined continuously throughout the period it was under the rule of the adharmic ideologies of Islam, Christianity and Socialism....
We must be careful not to transfer all the blame on outside forces. The internal decay had to have started for outsiders to subjugate us.

Pranam.

jignyAsu
21 July 2013, 11:10 AM
See this-

Omkara,

What is the source of this map and to what time is this attributed to? It makes a lot of sense as kingdoms would have been spread only through land rather than through the seas, which is lot difficult.

One of my Sri Lankan friend was once complaining about how the Cholas used to frequently attack on "their land"- which sounds to be me that battle through seas were also not rare.

Can the reason why the tamil population is huge in Singapore be attributed only to the British period or can be extended beyond?

Omkara
21 July 2013, 11:12 AM
Omkara,

What is the source of this map and to what time is this attributed to?

Wikipedia, 1030 A.D., Empire of Rajendra Chola.

jignyAsu
21 July 2013, 12:53 PM
Wikipedia, 1030 A.D., Empire of Rajendra Chola.

Great info! This could also shed some light about "crossing the sea" rule. Since, the Cholas had already occupied both sides of the land, crossing the sea may not have been considered as violating anything. After all, the idea behind forbidding crossing the sea is not pertaining to the sea itself but is about preserving one's dharma.