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China to Build First Buddhism School for International Exchanges

China will start building its first Buddhism school for international exchange on Nov. 1 in Yangzhou, a scenic city in east China's Jiangsu Province, according to local officials in charge of religious affairs.


With its founding approved by the Buddhist Association of China, the Jianzhen School is named after Master Jianzhen, a prestigious ancient Chinese monk who made the landmark journey to Japan to spread Buddhism 1,250 years ago. November 1 was the day on which Jianzhen succeeded in his final attempt to land on the Japanese islands.


Covering an area of 20 hectares, the school is to sit north of the Daming Temple in which the Jianzhen Memorial is located. The school, enlisting students nationwide, will start its first recruitment of 1,250 students next year, offering a four-year course.


Jianzhen was a knowledgeable and devoted Buddhist in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Despite five failed attempts, Jianzhen succeeded in his sixth effort to reach the Japanese islands at the invitation of a Buddhist temple in Japan. It took the monk 10 years to succeed in his endeavor and, afterward, he spent the last decade of his life there spreading Chinese culture and arts, such as painting, calligraphy, medicine, sculpture, architecture, printing and craftsmanship.


The Chinese and Japanese governments worked together to build the Jianzhen Memorial in 1973 in Yangzhou, where the monk spent some time before leaving for Japan.


(Xinhua News Agency September 9, 2003)

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