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Beijing White Cloud Taoist Temple (Beijing Baiyunguan)

Beijing White Cloud Taoist Temple, Beijing Attractions, Beijing Travel GuideSituated in the West City District, the White Cloud Taoist Temple formally reopened in 1984 for the first time since 1949. It is the largest and the only one of its kind open to the public. The temple is one of "The Three Great Ancestral Courts" of the Complete Perfection Sect of Daoism, and is titled "The First Temple under Heaven", also the center of Taoism in north China, is located among the smokestacks of southern Beijing. Monks are still in residence, and every February during the spring festival, a famous temple fair is held there. Inside, you'll find an amazingly tranquil world of exotic deity statues, religious artifacts of the Ming and Qing dynasties and longhaired Taoist priests. There is also a meditation chamber open to the public for chanting four times a day, at 8:30 am, 10 am, 2 pm and 3:30 pm.

The White Cloud Taoist Temple is the chief temple of the Quanzhen Taoist sect and the center of the Longmen sub-sect. According to historical records, Emperor Xuanzong (7l2-756) of the Tang Dynasty built a temple called Tianchangguan to enshrine a stone statue of Laozi. The Tianchangguan was burned down in 1202, but was rebuilt from 1203 to 1216 and renamed Taiji Palace. It was later damaged during war. In 1224, Genghis Khan ordered the reconstruction of the temple.The temple got its present name in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and was damaged twice by war and fire, and rebuilt and repaired several times. Today it is more or less the same as it was after renovation in 1706.

In addition, in terms of temple in Chinese, Taoist temples are not actually called temples, but Guan. Guan means something like to look at or observe. This is a reflection of the Taoist belief that understanding the Tao comes from a direct observation of nature, rather than scholastic theological studies.

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