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Stone Buddha Temple, the cultural center of ancient Jiaxing.

Jiaxing was called Zuili and Changshui in ancient times. According to the note quoted by Du Yu in Zuo's Commentary, Zuili is located in the south of Jiangxing County; also according to Recording of Jiaxing until Yuan Dynasty, Changshui is located 300 meter away from the south of County. Geographically, Stone Buddha Temple is not far away from these two ancient places. Besides, the Fengqiao Town, where the temple is located, has the prehistoric cultural sites such as White Grave Mound, Liu Mound and so on. Consequently we can say that Stone Buddha Temple is in the center of culture circle of ancient Jiaxing. In the sense of culture, Stone Buddha Temple, combining religion and culture, ranks top among all the temples in Jiaxing.
A vital cultural center welcomes and attracts different cultures. The cultures of religion, celebrity, seclusion, family and immigration of Stone Buddha Temple region are the epitome of Jiaxing Culture. Speaking of immigration culture, the third group in Fengqiao Town in the 35th year of Republic of China (1946), was divided into 15 Units. Among the fifteen unit administrators, eight were from Jiaxing, six were from Shangbafu and one was from Yancheng which means newcomers were occupying over half of them. The other groups and units were in the same situation. Exploring into its cause, we can find out such newcomers migrated to Fengqiao Region after the period of Taiping Hevenly Kingdom, when Jiaxing met the same situation. According to Jiaxing County Notes: "after the Guangdong bandits aggressed, people lost their home and the farmland was barren, especially in the villages in the south east", therefore, a large number of labors from east Zhejiang entered here for exploration. Thus, immigration in the Stone Buddha Temple region is not a random event but the epitome of the immigration of Jiaxing in that time. And the changes of folks, languages and technologies brought by this immigration can directly reflect the changes in Jiaxing's culture.

It is this cultural inclusiveness that attracted many poets and scholars, promoting the emerging of celebrities in Stone Buddha Temple, or even in the Fengqiao Town. In the profound history, the Rock Buddha Temple is everywhere.

The person who first record Stone Buddha Temple
The first record of Stone Buddha Temple we can find now was made in Song Dynasty, by Jiang Zhiqi and Chen Shunyu. They were both famous in Song Dynasty. Chen Shunyu was the backbone against the reform of Wang Anshi. He didn't hold high-ranking position but was very well-known. He was taught by Ouyang Xiu and built a good friendship with Sima Guang and Su Dongpo. It is hard to deduce Jiang Zhiqi's attitude towards the reform of Wang Anshi. On one hand, he promoted the policy of Wang Anshi, on the other hand, he was listed in Yuanyoudangren inscription, called Yuanyou Four friends together with Su Dongpo, Qian Mugong and Wang Zhongzhi but against Ouyang Xiu. He was a person with strong personality.

Chen Shunyu (?-1075), whose courtesy name is Lingju, was reported from Wucheng, Huzhou according to Song History, or Jiaxing according to Recording of Jiaxing until Yuan Dynasty. Later, Wuxing Reference Record, By Dong Sizhang from Huzhou, certified he was from Wucheng, Huzhou while Zuili Poem System, by Shen Jiyou from Jiaxing, insisted he was from Jiaxing. As opinions varied widely and no unanimous conclusion can be drawn, it had become a doubt case for thousands of years. He was a scholar in the sixth year of Emperor Zhaozhen's reign in Song Dynasty (1046), with unprosperous career. Until the third year of Emperor Zhaoxu's reign in Song Dynasty (1070), he was only the vice director of State Farms Bureau of Shangyin County. At the moment of reform of Wang Anshi, he opposed strongly the Qingmiao Law, and got banished. He was a friend of Wang Anshi, but was isolated from each other since then. Chen Shunyu once secluded in Bainiujing, Jiaxing. He was given the name of White OX Gentleman since he used a white ox as his transportation. After he passed away, Su Dongpo wrote an article for mourning him, praising him that "his knowledge and talent was equal to that of hundreds of people ". His masterpieces, Lushan Record and Duguanji were included in Complete Works of Chinese Classics.

Baosheng Temple, written by Chen Shunyu, is the first poem ever existing that describes the Stone Buddha Temple. The poem said: deeply inside the locked door, the mottled green moss is growing and the trees are cultivated by the fertile lands. In this peaceful residence, remote from the crowds, the heart can enjoy total relation.

Jiang Zhiqi (1031-1104), with the courtesy name of Yingshu, from Yixing, Changzhou (now in the Jiangsu Province), was a scholar in the second year of the Emperor Jiayou's reign in Song Dynasty (1057), whose highest position is Administrator of the Bureau of Military Affairs. Because Jiang Zhiqi has impeached Ouyang Xiu, he was impeded by the lucid criticism. He was every talented, Song History described him as "being the envoy for Ministry of Personnel for twelve times, ruling the provost for six times, renowned by good governing, and focusing on recommendation educated people". However, the writer of Song History finally gave him a criticism of "outstanding person among petty men". Actually, such criticism is presumptuous. He was an outstanding person, but not a pretty man. Summary of Complete Works of Chinese Classics described his impeachment against Ouyang Xiu that it is over reacting but judging from his whole career, he is still a very respectable famous official. This exactly appraised him.

Jiang Zhiqi had produced many works. The first record of Stone Buddha Temple is found in his Daily Record which says, Paosheng Stone Buddha Temple is located in the southeast of Jiaxing County. The four stone Buddha figures dug out in the second year of Emperor Zhide's reign in Tang Dynasty was still preserved. It was named as Paosheng during Emperor Zhaozhen's reign in Song Dynasty, but people called it Stone Buddha Temple.

These few lines by the prime tell us that Stone Buddha Temple was well renowned during the period of Northern Song. Any record about how its name generated ever after all includes these words by Jiang Zhiqi.

Chen Shunyu was contemporary with Jiang Zhiqi. But when they referred to Stone Buddha Temple, they use Baosheng and Paosheng respectively. Which one is right? The latter was only used once while the former was ever used when referring to Stone Buddha Temple in Recording of Jiaxing until Yuan Dynasty. This may gives useful information.