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Louguantai Daoist temple, China

The aim is for Louguan to become a low carbon city by the end of 2013.

This page has not been updated since June 2014. 


Shaanxi Province, China

A founding member of the Green Pilgrimage Network

Louguantai is one of nine cities and 22 different organisations and faiths that joined as founding members of the Green Pilgrimage Network, launched at Assisi, Italy, during ARC's Sacred Land Celebration, October 31-Nov 2, 2011. The founder members from Louguan are:

  • Louguantai Taoist Temple
  • China Taoist Association of Shaanxi
  • City of Louguan
  • Louguan is the setting for the most famous Daoist temple – Louguantai, at the north side of the Qin Lin Mountains, about 70 kilometers from the ancient capital city of Xi’an. Here it’s believed the sage Lao Tse wrote the most sacred text of Daoism, the Dao De Jing around 600 BC, in one night, as he left for the west.

    For centuries, Louguantai has been the most important Daoist sacred place in China, receiving pilgrims from both home and abroad.

    HRH Princess Michael of Kent talking to Daoist nun Master Ge Huifang and Ms Claudia He Yun at the Sacred Land event for the Green Pilgrimage Network, celebrating Louguan joining the Network as a founder member.
    Louguan is the town that has grown around it, serving pilgrims and tourists -providing food, accommodation and incense. Within two years, the population will be quarter of a million.

    The surge in interest in sacred sites in China led the Daoists and the local authorities -- supported by the Provincial and National Governments -- to agree on a major investment plan. This is a unique partnership between Daoism and the Chinese government.

    Latest developments - June 2013

    In order to spread their green ideas further Louguan have created a special website called Spring Came To Louguan inviting tourists to visit the Daoist area, sample organic, vegetarian food and learn about organic farming. The local schools and tourist agencies are also involved running summer camps for students and their parents to learn more about Daoism and agriculture.

    The green spa hotel uses low carbon fuel and incorporates Daoist principles
    Meanwhile solar panels, bio-fuel and renewable energy usage are all being encouraged across the Louguan area with the aim of making it a low-carbon city by the end of 2013

    Green Pilgrimage City Louguan brings modern green technology to ancient Daoist principles.

    A team from ARC has had the privilege of visiting the impressive new development in China

    Eighteen months of building and a 1.5 billion dollar investment from individuals and the Chinese government has seen an amazing transformation at the new pilgrimage city of Louguan, near Xian in western China.

    New temple parks celebrate Daoist ritual and teachings.
    The mountain area of Louguan - which is the site where the sage Lao Zi is said to have written the Dao De Jing in a single night - has been declared an ecological conservation area and around 30,000 people are currently being rehoused from the slopes of the Qinling mountains to ‘re-green’ the mountain – allow reforestation and providing a better habitat for biodiversity. The whole complex, situated at the birthplace of Daoism, is being billed as an inspirational model for sustainable living- where people can live in harmony with nature in an ideal garden-like small city.

    Housing and Building

    Modern low rise sustainable housing has been built in Louguan in tree-lined streets using natural gas and solar power heating. New public building includes the Louguan Daoist Spa Hotel- built with key Daoist concepts and offering luxury rooms, open air bath pools in its bamboo groves and fish pedicures as well as a state of the art conference centre. Housed in a cluster of glass buildings there’s also an organic restaurant serving local food and a vegetable growing demonstration site- all heated by solar and natural gas with low carbon emissions.

    Temple complexes

    There are two vast Daoist temple parks with 3D presentations of Daoism and its rituals, ancestor worship and gods – all laid on from the comfort of electric buggies and with smartly dressed guides. The God of Wealth Temple Complex is a 3.5 square kilometre park showing the legends and stories of gods, folk dances and music related to the God of Wealth. It opened in July 2011.

    The temples are so high that there are elevators to each of the storeys – one lift stopping at the main shrine for the God of Wealth, another at a worship area and another at a display centre for God of Wealth Culture. Daoist teaching is everywhere as are stands to dress up in traditional dress for photos.

    Then there’s the Daoist Culture Exhibition Area with its 13 newly constructed Daoist temples, its nine courtyards and 6 palaces making this the world’s largest and grandest Daoist palace complex- where visitors and pilgrims alike enter the divine world of the immortals. The largest hall is 32 metres high- with a shimmering gold roof, supported by vermillion pillars and built with doors and windows decorated in gold and jade. The Halls lead up to a preaching platform built on the place where Lao Zi taught the Dao De Jing. A solid gold statue of Lao Zi has just been erected.

    Another enormous complex designed for women, demonstrating Daoist tea culture and spring water culture, is almost complete.

    Organic Farming

    In 46 hectares of development, there is also an agriculture expo centre where organic farming, sustainable land management techniques and new farming methods are taught. Many of the rehoused new residents of the city are being taught new ways to farm, for example, roses and lavender or how to grow kiwi seeds imported from Singapore which grow faster and don’t damage the land. Natural fertilisers are used- with leaves and branches being ground into powder for fertislisers to increase the output of the land in a sustainable way.

    Three Sticks

    There were signs of pilgrimage at many of the temples – the trees strewn with red ribbons and prayer requests and many of the bunches of incense being burnt were in three sticks according to the Daoist 8 Year Environment Plan.

    Teachings

    The teaching of Daoism on living in harmony with nature and on the importance of protecting nature is also evident with the demonstration of traditional ceremonies associated with the seasons to try and reconnect urban dwellers with the rhythms of the year. For example, local festivals are now being held for the return of the snow or the return of the mosquitoes where people are being re-taught old practices of heating up a special leaf that has an aroma to dispel mosquitoes.

    Replication and Inspiration

    Our municipal guides told us that they would like to see the success of Louguan’s development replicated in other cities in China. The Daoist Master Ren of Lougandai Temple told us that this was a return to spiritual values, to living a simple life, based on Daoist teaching of living in harmony with nature and with each other.

    Useful links

    Download the full Green Pilgrimage Network handbook here

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