Poems of Meng Jiao
Great Obscurity Temple -- Remaining above the destruction of their temple in Yun
The ancients left us their pure high-mindedness.
From afar, their thousand texts come down to you.
Broken pines see your chaste hearts.
Torn bamboo see your righteous culture.
The waning moon does not change its hues.
High virtue's power is ever renewed.
Our oldest poems abound with love of home.
Yet we cannot cling to our houses of wood.
How could the horses all trample the springs and
Change the shining surface of everything?
Cherish your thoughts, never speak again,
And fish for merit on distant river banks.
Meng Jiao lived from 751 to 814. In the early part of the Tang, Buddhism was in the ascendency and was favored by the emperors. This began to change in 729 with the compulsory registration of all Buddhist monks and clergy. From this time until 845, there was more and more anti-Buddhist sentiment as the Buddhists were seen as repositories for wealth and manpower which were outside the emperor's control. In 845, Emperor Wuzong commanded the destruction of 4600 temples, the return of most monks and nuns to laiety, and the seizure of all Buddhists assets.
From this poem, we gather that the destruction of temples had already begun, in a piecemeal fashion, during Meng Jiao's lifetime. Yun appears to be an ancient kingdom in present day Hubei. Regions tend to cling to their oldest names in China. So that part of Hubei was probably still called Yun in Meng Jiao's time. I cannot trace Dayin Fang (大隐坊) but it must have been a monastery close to Meng Jiao's heart as this and the next two poems refer to it.