Retribution for Destroying a Sacred Temple

A sacred Buddhist temple was destroyed to make way for a new villa at the direction of Lin Biao. (Image: Ledge Biscuit Flickr via Compfight cc)
A sacred Buddhist temple was destroyed to make way for a new villa at the direction of Lin Biao. (Image: Ledge Biscuit Flickr via Compfight cc)

Lin Biao (December 5, 1907 – September 13, 1971) was a marshal of the People’s Republic of China. In 1966, he became known as the second in command to Mao Zedong and was named his successor. Lin adhered as closely to Mao’s direction as possible and was believed to be Mao’s closest follower.

In April 1969, Lin’s position was officially confirmed following the 1st Plenary Session of the 9th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. It was announced that he was Mao’s “closest comrade-in-arms and successor,” and the Party constitution was formally revised in order to reflect Lin’s future succession.

In later years, Mao became uncomfortable with Lin’s growing power and began to suspect him. On Sept. 13, 1971, Lin, his wife, and son, together with his bodyguards, fled the country. They were on their private plane when it crashed in Inner Mongolia, killing all aboard.

It was said that the Chinese government blew up the plane. The Chinese government’s official explanation was that Lin and his family attempted to flee following a botched coup against Mao. Others have argued that they tried to flee out of fear that they would be purged, as Lin’s relationship with other Communist Party leaders had soured in Lin’s final few years of life. After Lin’s death, he was officially condemned as a traitor by the Communist Party.

Mount Wutai is a sacred Buddhist mountain. (Image: wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Mount Wutai is a sacred Buddhist mountain. (Image: wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0)

When looked at from a different angle, Lin’s death can be seen as divine intervention to punish him for destroying a sacred temple and pagodas.

In 1969, Lin Biao sent people to Wutai Mountain to build villas in secret. The people he sent took a fancy to the beautiful scenery of Wulang Temple and the Golden Cave. They ordered the monks and the residents to vacate the place within three days, and thereafter, Lin sent his artillery to blast the temple, statues, surrounding buildings, and artifacts and destroyed everything. This temple was built during the Eastern Han Dynasty sometime between A.D. 25 and 220. The area contains more than 400 buildings, mostly from the Ming and Qing dynasties.

A photographer at the site took pictures on the spot and after developing them, he was shocked to see the image of a Bodhisattva appearing in the smoke from the explosion. At the site of the ruined Wulang Temple, they built Maotun Villa. Lin Biao and family went there to stay once. Two years later, Lin Biao, his wife, and children died in the plane crash in Mongolia.

Photographs of the image of the Bodhisattva are now placed in Xiantong Temple on Mount Wutai as a reminder to those who were deceived by atheism in modern times.

A photo was taken when Wulang temple was destroyed and the image of a Bodhisattva appeared in the smoke. (Image via: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

A photo was taken when Wulang temple was destroyed and the image of a Bodhisattva appeared in the smoke. (Image via: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Here is another incident that happened years earlier. In 1942, 100,000 soldiers making up the Chinese Expeditionary Force conquered Burma. This special unit of the Chinese army was dispatched to Burma and India in support of the Allied efforts against the Japanese army during the Japanese invasion and occupation of Burma in the Second World War.

The field commander was Du Yuming. During the campaign, he ordered the bombing and destruction of more than 200 Buddhist pagodas. It was reported that he lost more than 40,000 men (very nearly half his troops) due to the savage conditions in the mountains.

From these occurrences, it is not hard to believe that Lin and the soldiers deaths were actually retribution for destroying sacred Buddhist temples.

Translated by Chua BC

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