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Qinglong-si 青龍寺 monastery

Qinglongsi 青龍寺. Temple of the Azure Dragon. A monastery of Chang'an 長安 founded in 582 in the Sui period as Linggansi 靈感寺. Abandoned for a time in 621, it was restored and renamed Guanyinsi 觀音寺 by Princess Chengyang 城陽公主 in 662 after recovering from an illness. Again in 711 it was renamed as Qinglongsi 青龍寺. Qinglong 青龍 here refers to the asterism presiding over the eastern direction. The monastery was likewise in the east part of Chang'an. It fell into ruin under Tang Wuzong 武宗 during the Huichang abolition of Buddhism 會昌廢佛. In 846 it was restored as Huguosi 護國寺. The Hiki shū 批記集 by Enchin 圓珍 (814–891) states it was called Qinglongsi again from 855. Enchin arrived in Chang'an that year and his works Seiryūji guhō mokuroku 青龍寺求法目錄 (T 2171) and Daihizō yuga ki 大悲藏瑜伽記 identify the temple as located in the Xinchang ward 新昌坊 of the city. In 1072 during the Song when Jōjin 成尋 (1011–1081) visited its location was unknown. In 1618 Zhao Han 趙崡 visited the site and noted Qinglongsi had been there (see Fanggu youji 訪古遊記). In 1974 it was announced by Ma Dezhi 馬得志 that the monastery's original location has been rediscovered following years of excavations.

It was here that the emperors Daizong 代宗, Dezong 德宗 and Shunzong 順宗 had their refuge 歸依 ceremonies. Between 713–741 the monks Daoyin 道氤 (668–740) and Guangyi 光儀 (d. 735) resided here, though it was not known for esoteric Buddhism 密教 until the time of Huiguo 惠果 (746–806), who resided in the Dongta yuan 東塔院 (rebuilt in 1984) as abbot from 775. Other notable residents included the Javanese monk Bianhong 辯弘 (d.u.), Chinese monks Yicao 義操 (d.u.) and Farun 法潤 (d.u.), and Silla monks Hyeil 慧日 (d.u.) and Ojin 悟眞 (d.u.). Under Yicao was Faquan 法全 (d.u.) and Yizhen 義眞 (d.u.). Japanese Tendai monks Ensai 圓載 (d. 877) and Ennin 圓仁 (794–862) received initiations from Yizhen, while Enchin and Shūei 宗叡 (809–884) received theirs from Faquan. Ennin's travelogue, the Nittō guhō junrei kōki 入唐求法巡禮行記, also provides his firsthand remarks about the monastery and its eminent contemporary monks. Kūkai 空海 (774–835) arrived in 805 and studied under Huiguo, receiving initiations 灌頂 for both maṇḍalas 兩界曼荼羅 before being named his Dharma heir 嗣法. Huiguo died shortly thereafter and Kūkai wrote his eulogy. The monastery is thus important to both Shingon and Tendai.

It was located atop elevated land with a beautiful view of a mountain to the south (this is mentioned in the You chengnan ji 遊城南記 by Zhang Li 張禮), which seems to have been frequented by poets. It is expressly mentioned in a number of Tang-era poems. See the Quan Tang shi 全唐詩 (fasc. 125, 126, 127, 248, 249, 264, 269, 282, 284, 285, 293, 325, 332, 339, 437).


Shizuka, Jien 靜慈圓. “Mikkyō no jiin to reijō” 密教の寺院と靈場. In Chūgoku mikkyō shiriizu mikkyō 3 中國密教<シリーズ密教3, ed. Tachikawa Musashi 立川武藏 and Yoritomi Motohiro 賴富本宏, 59–76. Tokyo: Shunjūsha 春秋社, 1999.