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The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple

  • Costa Coffee 1 Wu Dao Ying Hu Tong Beijing, Beijing Shi China (map)

Yonghegong (Lama Temple) and the Confucian Temple are physical reflections of Buddhism and Confucianism respectively, but both these sites have also long played a role in state ritual and the ideology of empire.  

At the Confucian Temple and the adjoining Imperial Academy, students, officials, and rulers came to venerate the Great Sage and to study for the examinations which were the gateway to power and elite status in imperial China.

At Yonghegong (The Lama Temple), we will consider how the emperors of the Qing Dynasty appropriated the forms of Tibetan Buddhism by consecrating a holy space in their capital even as their armies were steadily moving westward across the Tibetan Plateau. The historical connection between empire building and Buddhism in Tibet continues to have profound implications for the relationship between the government and the people of that region.

This walk will explore both sites and offer insight into the history of Confucianism and Indo-Tibetan Buddhism while exploring two of Beijing's most famous and celebrated historic sites.

Walk Duration: About three hours

Cost: 300 RMB (260 RMB for members of The Hutong) includes all guide fees and admission tickets

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Spaces for this walk are limited and reservations are required. After registering you will receive a confirmation email with complete walk details and directions to our meeting location.