Kunming Mei's Mandarin School

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Nice writeup but factually inaccurate - there was not a [single] 'Chinese brand [of Buddhism] then permeating the Tang Dynasty'.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Buddhist_traditions_timeline for an overview of the emergence of Buddhism's various traditions.

At a minimum, Chan, Tiantai and Chinese Vajrayana (Tangmi) were all well established in China, Tibet had multiple traditions, and Theravada was in the south from Mon missionaries from circa 8th century or earlier.

In different parts of the Tang, the area around Anning was variously controlled by Nanzhao (Yunnan's local empire, lost to history) or (later) the Chinese Tang Dynasty.

It is important to note that Nanzhao used Sanskrit (affiliated with Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions) for some religious purposes, rather than Pali or Chinese, though it did also use Chinese. However, Nanzhao would have been familiar with Sarvastivada/Theravada traditions from the Mon and possibly via Tibet. They definitely had contact with the Pala kingdom, a Buddhist kingdom centered around what is now Bangladesh whose history is unfortunately obscured by the fact that much of its past has been sold or destroyed by modern day religious zealoutry, overpopulation and extreme poverty. There is a great scroll in the National Palace Museum in Taiwan from Nanzhao that shows black-skinned people with topknot hair visiting Nanzhao's court.

About Shibaoshan - the interesting thing about those grottoes behind Shaxi (on what is allegedly the old road from Dali to Lijiang, and only slightly south of the first curve in the Jinshajiang or upper-Yangtse, and right next to an ancient site of intensive rice agriculture that is only now being excavated - Jianchuan) is the presence of underniably Hindu 'yoni' (essentially oversized female genatalia cut out of solid rock), whereas there appears to be only Daoist and Buddhism themes in Anning.

The mountains near Qingzhou (the old capital of Shandong) also have some excellent carvings I can recommend visiting.

Smiles from Perpignan in southern France, Walter.

A year or two ago there was a story in one of the Chinese newpapers that there was some mining going on there, more or less completely in disregard of the area. Well, does that surprise...

Thanks. Nice travelogue. Bern to various grottoes great and small. Both large and small showing what a couple of hundred years of weather and vandals does to the head of carvings. Even though the small ones like this aren't as impressive, I find them more peaceful and always tended by a humble monk or two. Haven't been to this one, but should make for a great cycle.

Well wikipedia.com and yunnanbaiyaopowder.com say the formula is guarded secret of the company. We use Yunnan Baiyao for horses here in Australia. If they disclose the formula, it will be produced by tens of companies in China tomorrow. To me it is unclear whether the leaked list is real. Never underestimate Chinese ))

Myanmar didn't only open up for tourism in 2011. It has been open for years just that not many westerners went prior to 2011, even though there was little stopping them. The only thing you couldn't do prior to 2013 was travel overland unless you had a permit. I first went to Myanmar on a day trip to Tachilek in 2001 and flew into Yangon in 2004 and 2005. It was just as easy to get a visa back then as it is today, except that there were more restricted areas than there are now. Also, getting to Mu-se on the Chinese border seems to be OK. I went there in February. The adjacent areas where the Kokang conflict erupted are of course out of bounds. Chinese citizens generally aren't allowed to travel across to the Burmese side overland either, except to Mu-se for up to 7 days but that isn't always allowed either. Burmese who travel to China illegally risk arrest and those that travel overland from Mu-se can only travel to Ruili. To enter China properly and travel wherever they want, they either need a permit or must fly in, just like other foreigners.

Well, he's right that huiguorou itself is not a particularly Yunnan dish. It's traditionally associated with Sichuan cuisine. But perhaps it's the kumquats that put a Yunnan twist on it.