Caotang monastery, (near) Xi'an, Shaanxi, CN

Raw data

"Caotang Temple is […] about 30-35km to the southwest [from Xi'an's city center]. The temple dates back to 401. It was originally a thatched-roofed building, which gave it its name: "Caotang" means "Straw Hall (or Hut)." Kumarajiva (Chinese 鳩摩羅什; 344-413), one of the "Four Great Translators" of Sanskrit into Chinese, once lived here, and oversaw a translation workshop employing over 3,000 monks on the grounds.
Caotangying Cun (Village), Caotang Zhen (Town), Hu Xian (County), Xi'an, Shaanxi. Phone (029) 8758 9795
Latitude: 34.014517, Longitude: 108.739232

"The Caotang Temple is a temple that honors a famous Central Asian Buddhist monk who translated scriptures at the site. The monk was named Kumarajiva (344-413). […] At the Caotang Temple […] he translated Buddhist texts for Later Qin Empire (374-418). He greatly influenced Emperor Yao Xing, and it is said that under Yao Xing's influence, 90 percent of the people in the Later Qin Empire became Buddhists. His ashes may have been put into a stupa that is about 7 feet tall that you can see at the Caotang Temple site."

"After the new portion of the Hua Yan Sutra was completed, the emperor felt it was necessary to write another commentary so readers could understand it better. Cheng Guan [= or Ching-liang (738–839) ] was more than happy to shoulder the task. The emperor asked him to stay in Cao Tang Temple, a few miles outside the capital, to carry out the work. The emperor also ordered that the master be completely undisturbed.
After the work was completed and presented to the emperor, Cheng Guan requested that he be allowed to live in Yun Hua Temple on Mount Zhongnan, south of the capital."

Input by: tmciolek, Oct 24, 2012

Guifeng Zongmi (圭峰 宗密) (Wade-Giles: Kuei-feng Tsung-mi; Japanese: Keiho Shumitsu) (780–841) was a Tang dynasty Buddhist scholar-monk, installed as fifth patriarch of the Huayan (Chinese: 華嚴; pinyin: Huáyán; Japanese: Kegon; Sanskrit: Avatamsaka) school as well as a patriarch of the Heze (WG: Ho-tse) lineage of Southern Chan. […] Zongmi withdrew to Mount Chung-nan [= Zhongnan Mountain - tmciolek], southwest of Chang’an, in 816 and began his writing career, composing an annotated outline of the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment, and a compilation of passages from four commentaries on the sutra. […] In early 821 he returned to Ts’ao-t’ang Caotang temple beneath Kuei Peak and hence became known as Guifeng Zongmi (WG:Kuei-feng Tsung-mi.[6]” -
Input by: tmciolek, Feb 23, 2013

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 23 Feb 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200 m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Caotang monastery, CN.

General location of the Caotang monastery, CN.
Lat 34.014517 Long 108.739232
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2012.

Google Map link:,%20CN)&ll=34.014517,108.739232&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • China:Shaanxi Sheng

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Mahayana

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

11. Date-early

  • MBM chrono-tag: 0400-32c - tmciolek 13 Dec 2012
  • 0400-32c 0433-66c 0467-99c 0500-32c 0533-66c 0567-99c 0600-32c 0633-66c 0667-99c 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99c 0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32c 0933-66c 0967-99c 1000-32c 1033-66c 1067-99c 1100-32c 1133-66c 1167-99c 1200=> dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

  • [missing data]

13. Date-late

  • MBM chrono-tag: 1200=> - tmciolek 28 Oct 2012

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • [missing data]

16. Additional notes

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

18. Available Printed Literature

  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 1]
  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 2]
  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 3]

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