Subash Buddhist Ruins, Largest Buddhist building complex in Xinjiang

The Buddhist Channel, 14 Oct 2023

Xinjiang, China -- Nestled along the serene banks of the Kucha River in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region lies a silent testament to a rich tapestry of history, spirituality and cross-cultural exchange. The Subash Buddhist Ruins, remnants of the grandest cluster of Buddhist edifices in Xinjiang, have a story that unfolds over centuries, weaving through the 3rd century to reach their zenith during the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) dynasties.

The name "Subash" carries significance in the Uygur language, signifying "water source." This settlement once thrived as an oasis, a cradle of development and prosperity for Buddhism in the heart of Xinjiang.

This temple's origins trace back to the Wei-Jin Dynasties (220-420), and it was graced by the presence of the eminent Kucha monk Kumarajiva (344-413). Kumarajiva, known for his prolific sutra translations, made a significant impact on Chinese Buddhism from this sacred abode.

However, it was during the illustrious Tang Dynasty (618-907) that Subash Temple experienced its heyday. The temple precincts were graced by a congregation of 10,000 devoted monks and welcomed countless pilgrims.

Notably, it became a temporary refuge for the legendary monk Xuanzang on his odyssey from the capital, Chang'an, to ancient India in the 630s. Xuanzang's stay in Subash, which spanned over two months, left an indelible mark as he shared his spiritual wisdom with the people.

In his travelogue "Great Tang Records on the Western Regions," Xuanzang eloquently narrated the natural beauty of Subash, with its endless stream of devout pilgrims. Regrettably, at some point between the 13th and mid-14th centuries, the temple fell into abandonment.

Over nearly a millennium of solitude, the Subash Temple's ruins continue to captivate visitors, like a time capsule preserving its legacy. Amid the boundless desert backdrop, the crumbling pagodas stand tall, bathed in the golden rays of sunlight, whispering tales of past grandeur.

For roughly a thousand years, Subash Temple played a pivotal role in the cultural exchange between the East and West, exerting its significance throughout China's Western Regions. The ruins are revered for their historical, artistic, scientific, and social value. Its construction techniques echo the earthen ruins found in the arid Northwest China and even Central Asia.

Today, the 110,000-square-meter western half of the site near Kucha City opens its gates to the public. Here, a central 11-meter-high pagoda presides over a landscape adorned with temples, grottos, halls, and monks' dormitories. The ruins have unveiled a treasure trove of artifacts, from coins and pottery works to iron and copperware, murals, clay Buddhist figurines, and Buddhist relic boxes dating back to the 3rd and 9th centuries.

As an integral part of the UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site "Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor," the Subash Buddhist Ruins stand as an embodiment of the harmonious blend of faith and history.

The ruins' mystique was partially unraveled by Japanese archaeologist Count Otani, who uncovered a sarira, a Buddhist relic box dating to the 6th–7th century. The sarira features Central Asian men adorned in long tunics, reminiscent of the artistic friezes created by the Tocharians.

The Subash Buddhist Ruins offer a unique opportunity to traverse time and culture, capturing the essence of a spiritual oasis that transcends the boundaries of centuries and civilizations.
We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: