白云观( White Cloud Temple )
The White Cloud Temple, also known as Baiyun Temple or the Abbey or Monastery of the White Clouds, is a Taoist temple and monastery located in Beijing, China. It is one of "The Three Great Ancestral Courts" of the Quanzhen School of Taoism and is titled "The First Temple under Heaven".
The White Cloud Temple was first founded in the mid-8th century during the Tang dynasty and was initially called the Temple of Heavenly Perpetuity (Tianchang Guan). During this period, the abbey was state-sponsored and staffed by an elite clergy. From 1125 to 1215 when what is now Beijing was controlled by the Jin dynasty, the abbey served as the Taoist administrative headquarters and played an important role in state ceremonies. After Beijing was taken by the Mongols in 1215, the abbey was taken over by the Quanzhen patriarch Qiu Chuji and became the headquarters of the Quanzhen movement until the establishment of the Ming dynasty. Qiu—who himself was known by the name Master of Eternal Spring—renamed the abbey the Palace of Eternal Spring (Changchun Gong). Upon being summoned by Genghis Khan, Qiu undertook a three-year trek from Shandong to give the great khan an exposition on Taoism, which he completed in October 1222. Qiu's successor, Yin Zhiping (尹志平; 1169-1251) built a memorial shrine over Qiu's grave. This shrine became a temple in its own right and became known as the White Cloud Temple. The abbey was damaged when the Mongols took over in the late 13th century and, during the Ming dynasty, the Palace of Eternal Spring was destroyed. However, the White Cloud Temple survived and took over the functions of its former parent. Under the Ming, monks from the Zhengyi school took over operations of the abbey but continued Quanzhen traditions and ordination ceremonies. Zhengyi control over the temple continued until the 17th century, when their monopoly ended and the Quanzhen master Wang Changyue (王常月; d. 1680) took over. To this day, the White Cloud Temple remains controlled by the Quanzhen school. The abbey was without an abbot for the 1940s and was closed when the Communists came to power in 1949. Unlike many other historical sites which were damaged during the Cultural Revolution, the White Cloud Temple was well-protected and remained safe. Today, it is again a fully functioning temple and is the seat of the Chinese Taoist Association.