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0198 History of the Expedition in Asia, 1927-1935 : vol.2
History of the Expedition in Asia, 1927-1935 : vol.2 / Page 198 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000210
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peror paid a return visit to the Hsin-kung, and asked His Holiness to initiate him into the mysteries of lamaisin. The TASHI LAMA remained in Jehol for twenty-six days, and then set out for Peking, where the Yellow Temple just outside the northern city-wall had been placed at his disposal.

One day, despite snow and bitter cold, the Grand Lama paid a visit to the emperor. On his return he complained of headache and fever. The next day his ailment was diagnosed as small-pox; his last day had come.

Whether the death of the third TASHI LAMA was natural, or, as ABEL REMUSAT and KOEPPZN assert, the result of a political murder, it can safely be affirmed that it came at an opportune time for the emperor; for it served to strengthen a link in the chain of vassal states which, like a girdle of fortifications in the west, guarded China proper. But the annals were not permitted to speak of it. The game of big politics must be masked. CH'IEN LUNG was a clever man, and he felt his responsibility for the safety of that boundless empire.

In order officially to commemorate the death of the third TASHI LAMA in the Yellow Temple, the emperor CII'IEN LUNG caused to be built a magnificent marble stupa, with reliefs showing the Grand Lama's journey to Peking and his death. See Plate 6 in Part I.


About one kilometer E. N. E. of the Hsin-kung and about the same distance to the north of the Ili-miao, at the foot of the hills, stood the temple Ta-fo-ssu (the Temple of the Great Buddha) . Its real name is P'u-ning-ssu (the Temple of Pervading Peace). It was built by CII'IEN LUNG in 1755 to commemorate the subjugation of the Dzungars.

At the gatehouse in the south wall stood a lonely guardian tree, a leafy, shady acacia. A square courtyard was shut in as usual by four pavilions in Chinese temple-style. The finest of these, which faced south, was oblong, and upon the long wall directly opposite the entrance sat three gilded Buddhas, about five meters high. They were all alike except for the position of the hands. In front of them were an altar-table with offering-bowls and ceremonial objects of the cult. On both the short sides, to the east and west, were the Eighteen Lohans (Buddha's disciples), nine on each side. These were of wood, while the ritual objects were of wood or bronze, rather roughly made. A big temple-bell of iron hung in one frame, and in another was a flat drum.

The hall of the gods in the Ta-fo-ssu differed from all the others we had seen in that it was excellently preserved and seemed well cared for. The ceiling was beautifully painted in the most decorative patterns. A priest stepped forward,. bowed, and lighted sticks of incense in a bronze bowl half full of ashes.