Qingyuan's attractions include Niuyuzui, Feilai Temple, Feixia Scenic Spots, Baojing Palace of Yingde, Taihe Ancient Cave of Qingxin, Sankeng Hot Spring in Qingxin County, Huanghua Lake in Fogang, Little Biejiang of Lianyang, Peak Shikengkong in Yangshan County, Underground River of Lianzhou, Huangteng Gorge, Three Gorges of Huangchuan and Yinzhan Hot Springs.
Huiyuan also enjoyed enormous popularity among the gentry of South China, for it was to this group that he primarily directed his literary efforts. Some thirty of his works, in the form of letters, essays, prefaces, eulogies, or inscriptions, are extant. Unlike Dao'an, who primarily wrote commentaries for the Buddhist clergy, Huiyuan addressed issues that most concerned the gentry: rebirth, the immortality of the soul, the doctrine of karman, and the nature of the dharmakāya. His previous classical training made him successful in explaining these concepts in terms of the philosophical outlook of the Chinese elite, which at the time was dominated by xuanxue ("dark learning") speculations into the underlying source (ben ) of phenomena. That he never once quoted a Buddhist sūtra by name but made numerous allusions to the Confucian classics attests to his fervent desire to bring Buddhism into the mainstream of Chinese spiritual and intellectual life. Modern scholars have identified certain areas in which Huiyuan's understanding of important Buddhist concepts deviates from that of the Indian texts. They have attributed this both to his concern to present Buddhist notions in a form comprehensible to the Chinese, as in his postulation of a cosmic soul (shen ) as a means of explaining the process of rebirth, or to his frank inability in some instances to master the subtleties of Buddhist doctrine. This is particularly evident in his treatment of the Mādhyamika concepts introduced into China by Kumārajīva. Huiyuan's correspondence with this, perhaps the greatest of all Buddhist translators, is one of our richest sources of information on the development of Buddhist thought in fifth-century China.
Among Huiyuan's many accomplishments, his devotional group probably had the most enduring influence on Chinese Buddhism. In 402 Huiyuan and 123 lay and clerical disciples gathered before an image of the Buddha Amitābha and made a collective vow to be reborn together in his Pure Land. Huiyuan's devotional group served as a model for the lay-based Buddhist societies of the mid-Tang and Song periods, the most well known of which is the White Lotus Society of the early twelfth century. This group claimed to take its name from that of Huiyuan's confraternity; modern scholarship, however, has shown the name to be of later origin. The deliberate evocation of Huiyuan's legacy some eight hundred years after his death, however, attests vividly to his enduring prestige in the Chinese Buddhist community. His influence continues to be acknowledged by the Pure Land traditions of both China and Japan, which have traditionally regarded Huiyuan as their founder and first patriarch.
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