The Binyang caves three Grottoes in Longmen Grottoes were carved in the Northern Wei, Sui and Tang Dynasties

After we passed Qianxi temple, there was an open niche on the right side of the road. On the front wall was a cursive stone tablet written by CHEN Si of Song Dynasty, which said, “open a horse on the Bank of heaven, and a strange man is a dragon”. This is a book written by Chen chuansuo, a Taoist in the Northern Song Dynasty. Then, is Chen Chuan the last man of God. He is a legendary figure who has lost his official career and won the appreciation of the emperor for his reclusive cultivation. He has successively cultivated in Wudang Mountain, Huashan Mountain and other places. We have seen the stone plaque and walked tens of steps to the south to enter a quiet courtyard. In the courtyard, there are three caves, namely Binyang three caves (commonly known as middle cave, North cave and South cave), sitting side by side to the East. Represented by Zhongdong, Zhongdong was called Lingyan temple in the Northern Wei Dynasty. It was renamed Binyang cave after the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It is said that it was named after the addition of the last two words of LV Dongbin, one of the eight immortals of Taoism, and Chunyang. This cave was carved in the first year of Jingming, Xuanwu emperor of the Northern Wei Dynasty, from 500 A.D. to Zhengguang four years, that is, it was completed in June 523 A.D., lasting for 24 years, employing 802366 people. Binyang three caves can also be understood as “seeking for the meaning of Binyang Gaiyin bin Sunrise”, that is, the meaning of sunrise or Xiangyang. Although Binyang cave costs so much time and money, the whole project of three caves is not over. In the fourth year of Yanchang, Emperor Xuanwu died in 515. When Emperor Xiaoming (Yuanxu), who was only seven years old, took the throne, his regime was firmly in the hands of his mother, Empress Dowager Hu. Due to the civil strife in the palace, Binyang’s carving work actually stopped. So Binyang three caves, a large cave operated by the royal family of the Northern Wei Dynasty, actually completed only one Binyang middle cave. The southern and Northern caves were completed by the later Sui and Tang Dynasties. Binyang three caves are carved in three dynasties, so the shapes and expressions of the statues are different. So how to tell? Please follow me. I’ll tell you about it from Binyang middle cave.

Binyang middle cave is a third generation Buddha cave. In the Northern Wei Dynasty, because of the influence of “fahua Sutra”, in addition to the belief in Sakyamuni and Duobao, the object of belief was the third Buddha. In Longmen Grottoes, this is only one example. Binyang middle tunnel is 9.8m high and 11.10m deep and wide. On the obverse, there are five statues mainly of Sakyamuni Buddha. Sakyamuni sits down in China (the sitting method for Buddhist practitioners is: two feet meet, the instep is next to the left and right thighs). He is dressed in a commendatory robe, with a height of 8.4m. He has a beautiful face, full expression, high nose, big eyes and a little smile. The left hand bends down three fingers, the right hand stretches forward, this kind of gesture indicates the saying seal, in front of my seat, there are two stone lions with their heads held high and their chests held high. It is the characteristic of lion carving in the Northern Wei Dynasty. There are two disciples and two Bodhisattvas (left Manjusri and right Puxian) standing around Sakya. The two Bodhisattvas are gentle and kind with a smile. There are also statues of one Buddha and two Bodhisattvas on both sides of the north and the south. They are all standing on the lotus covered seat with robes and cassocks. In the backseat of the Binyang cave statues, there are relief sculptures of Bodhisattvas and disciples. The top of the cave is in the shape of qionglong, and the central part is carved with a lotus cover made up of double petals of big lotus. Around the lotus there are eight Jiyue and two supporting heaven and man. We call supporting heaven and man flying. Feitian is called “Xiangyin God” in Buddhist art. It is a beautiful immortal who is good at singing and dancing and full of fragrance. This is the scene described in the fahua Sutra that “all the heaven’s music, hundreds of thousands of gods, are all made in the empty sky for a while, and rain all the heaven’s flowers”. On the north and south sides of the front wall of the middle cave, there are four layers of exquisite reliefs. Before, visitors could go in and have a look. Now in order to protect these precious cultural relics from being damaged, iron railings are added in front of the cave. I hope you can understand.

On the south side of the cave in Binyang, there is a stele engraved on the cliff, namely the famous “stele of Chu suiliang”, namely the stele of yique Buddhist shrine, which records that Wei Wangtai, the fourth son of Emperor Taizong of Tang Dynasty, made a vow for his dead mother, empress changsun of Wende, to make a statue of Gongde Cave (Zhenguan 15, 641 A.D.). The inscription is badly corroded, so it is difficult to distinguish it.

Binyang middle cave was originally carved in the Northern Wei Dynasty, but it was stopped because of the internal turmoil in the palace. So give up halfway. The cave is a transitional one from the Northern Wei Dynasty to the early Tang Dynasty. The tunnel is 9m high, 8m wide and 9m deep. The main statue is Amitabha, which is popular in Tang Dynasty. It is more than 8 meters high, with a slightly long face, thick lips, transverse neck lines and raised chest. There are two disciples on both sides of muzun. The statue of Di ye on the left side is very lifelike. His face is wrinkled, his eyes are fixed, he is strict and prudent, and he is well versed in the world. The Bodhisattvas standing outside the left and right disciples have thick shawls and wreaths, simple and elegant shapes, and the style of the Northern Wei Dynasty. On the four walls of the cave, there are more than 150 niches, including the niches of the Sui Daye and the Zhenguan year of Tang Dynasty. The artistic style of Binyang South cave inherits the vigorous and majestic of the Northern Wei Dynasty and the lively of the Tang Dynasty.

Binyang North cave, which was completed in the early Tang Dynasty. The main statue provided in the cave is Amitabha Buddha. It is nearly 10 meters high. It’s just like sitting on the ground, pointing to the sky and the earth with both hands equally. It’s called “giving fearless seal”, that is, between heaven and earth, there is only one person. When Buddha Sakyamuni was born, he stood on the lotus, pointing to the sky and the earth with one hand, saying “heaven and the world, I am the only one”. Left and right sides north and South relief two king. It’s powerful and powerful.

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