In Chinese Buddhism, there are the Four Sacred Mountains of Buddhism. This article is only about the sacred mountains in Chinese Buddhism and not other sacred sites of varieties of Buddhism - like the "Adam's" or "Buddha's" footprint up the mountain Sri Lanka). Buddhism is the most popular and widespread of the various religions in China and has a history there close to 2,000 years.
These Four Sacred Mountains attracts tourist and devotees of Buddhism from around the world and are famed for their remarkable Buddhist libraries, Buddhist architecture, stunning landscapes, and cultural antiques.
Buddhism In China and The Four Sacred Mountains
According to Chinatoday.com, Buddhism in China can be roughly divided into three parts. These are:
- Han (Chinese) Buddhism: Prevailant Among The Dominant Han Ethnic Group
- Tibetan Buddhism: Found in Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Qinghai, Gansu, and With Other Tibetan Communities
- Pali Buddhism: Found in The Dai Minority in The Southern Yunnan Province
In Han or Chinese Buddhism the Four Sacred mountains are:
- Mount Wutai: In Shanxi Province
- Mount Emei: In Sichuan Province
- Mount Putuo: In Zhejiang Province
- Mount Jiuhua: In Anhui Province
Next time going to China, at these onto the bucket list and get to see a spiritual part of China many people skip out on.
"According to legends, these four great mountains are the locations of the enlightenment of Bodhisattvas Wenshu, Puxian, Guanyin, and Dizang."
Mount Wutai is the tallest mountain in Northern China and means the "five terrace mountain." At the summit of the mountain are five open peaks denuded of tree cover that are snowcapped for most of the year.
Pilgrimage: It Is One Of The Five Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites In The World
Below the snow cover are lush forests of evergreen trees with plenty of temples and monasteries. Some of these are very old and of great cultural value. The East Main Hall of the Foguang Temple was built all the way back in the Tang Dynasty. Religious sites on this mountain were visited by different Chinese Emperors and today the mountain remains centrally important to Buddhism in China.
- Monasteries: About 53 Monasteries Are On this Mountain
"The temples and monasteries on Mount Wutai reflect how ancient Buddhist art and architecture influenced palace building styles in China for more than a millennium."
Mount Emei is located in Sichuan Province around 160 kilometers from the major city of Chengdu. Since 1996, Mount Emei and the nearby Leshan Giant Buddha (the world's second-largest stone-carved Buddha) have been UNESCO Listed.
- Designated: UNESCO World Heritage Site
Some of these Buddhist temples started back in the second century with their heyday coming in the 15th century. Today there are around 30 temples on the sacred mountain (some of the most notable being Baoguo, Qingyinge, and Wannian).
- Temples: There Are around 30 Temples On Mount Emei
Baoguo Temple is particularly notable for being the oldest and best-preserved temple on the mountain. Two of its treasures are a 2.4-meter tall porcelain Buddhist statue and a 2.3-meter tall 25-ton bronze bell.
- Elevation: Mount Emei is 3,079 Meters Above Sea Level
This mountain is actually not even on the mainland but is part of a Zhoushan Islands 100 nautical miles east of Hangzhou Bay, Zhejiang Province in the East China Sea. For centuries the island mountain has proven a magnet for millions of visitors (both pilgrims and tourists) who have been attracted by the spiritualness and the natural beauty of this island.
The monasteries here serve as temporary or permanent residences for a large number of Buddhist monks and nuns. Some of the more remarkable temples here include Puji Temple, Huiji Temple, and Fayu Temple.
- Zhoushan Islands: Mount Putuo Is Located On Islands Off The Coast
- Garden: Mount Putuo Island is Often Described as an Island Botanical Garden
Additionally, Mount Putuo is often described as an island botanical garden on account of its many diverse plants and lush forests.
Mount Jiuhua is noted for its scenic beauty and is located in the Qingyang County of the Anhui province on the southern bank of the Yangtze River. In ancient times it was home to as many as 360 Buddhist temples and monasteries. It was also the residence of some 4,000 to 5,000 monks and nuns.
- Heyday: In Its Heyday, It had 360 Buddhist Temples and Monasteries
Some of the more remarkable temples here include Huacheng Temple (the oldest and most prominent temple here), Dabeilou Temple, Tianchi Temple.
- Lotus Flower: The Mountain Is Said to Be Shaped Like a Lotus Flower
The mountain has over 70 noted peaks together with many beautiful valleys, streams, and waterfalls. The mountain is said to be the most famous mountain in Southeast China and is shaped like a lotus flower.