|Baiyun Guan is one of the three main Daoist centers in China today and has been devoted to the teaching of the Longmen subsect 龙门 (Lóngmén) of the Quanzhen 全真 (Quánzhēn) Daoist sect since Genghis Khan asked Qiu Changchun to lead the temple.
Above and below, one of the many steles on the grounds is detailed. Some of the pillars contain scriptures, some were placed to celebrate a new building, and some to remember a famous person. This particular pillar has deer and clouds decorating the base. Deer are frequently used in Chinese decorative motifs and are a central theme in Buddhism.
You will see that many of the decorations, symbols, and even deities are shared between Daoism and Buddhism. Chinese Buddhism absorbed many features of Daoism and Daoism did the same with Buddhist practices and beliefs. Daoism became a much more formal religious practice as it competed with Buddhism for followers. The Quanzhen Daoist tradition deliberately included both aspects of Buddhism and Confucianism within its teaching to synthesize the best of each.
Last update: October 2009
© Marilyn Shea, 2009