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The "Heart Sutra" is believed to have been written sometime around 350 BC in India.

The sutra reveals the "heart" or main tenets of Buddha's teachings.

So, while the Chinese have historically ascribed this charm to Guanyin, it may actually be a charm associated with Vanavasa, the "Plantain Lohan".

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The popular Ming Dynasty novel "Journey to the West" ( The Buddhist charm at the left, dating from the Qing Dynasty, is commonly referred to by the Chinese as a "Guanyin" (Kwan Yin, Kuan Yin) pendant charm.

Guanyin (Kuan-yin, Kwan-yin 观音), known as the male in India, is usually depicted as a female in China and is recognized by all Chinese for her compassion and kindness.

It is appropriate that a mantra serves as the link to the Bodhisattva since the root meaning of (洪武通宝), as the real coins, and usually depict a scene from the emperor's early life on the reverse side.

Unlike most emperors, Emperor Tai Zu came from very humble beginnings.

The Mahayana texts offered those seeking salvation the possibility of sudden enlightenment through the assistance of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

One of the most prominent sects to evolve in China was the Pure Land sect ((Amida Buddha).

These "temple coins" were cast in very small numbers and were not meant for circulation as legal currency.

They tend to be very small in size and the majority were cast during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368 AD).

Because chanting the name of the Buddha was a simple ritual to achieve enlightenment, the Pure Land sect became especially popular among the masses throughout China.

This Buddhist temple coin, which is discussed in more detail below, bears the inscription Because Buddhist temples in China had the capability of casting bells and other bronze objects, it was easy for them to also cast bronze coins to commemorate special occasions such as the dedication of new structures.

A lotus, the traditional symbol of Buddha, can be seen on the lower half of the charm.