|Sacred Mountains of China
|China has a well-known system of Nine Most-Sacred Mountains, and has dozens more that
are highly-sacred by any standard. The "Great Nine" are divided as five sacred to the ancient
Daoist religion and four sacred to Buddhism, but this formulation is really too simplistic.
The four "Buddhist mountains" are actually entirely devoted to Buddhism, with one of the four
principal Bodhisattvas of Mahayana Buddhism thought to be residing at each one:
Putuo-shan (普陀山 Pǔtuó Shān, actually a rocky island off the coast below Shanghai) is the "home"
of 觀音 Guan-yin the Bodhisattva of Compassion -- merged with the south-chinese-coast
ocean-goddess Matzu, and therefore depicted as female; in Korea this deity remains in its
original male form (most of the time) as the popular Gwanse-eum-bosal. In original Sanskrit he
is called Avalo-kitesvara.
Jiuhua-shan (九華山 or 九华山 Jiǔhuá-shān, in Anhui Province south of the Yangtze River, upriver from
Nanjing City) is the "home" of 地藏 Di-zang the Bodhisattva of Salvation from Sufferings
(manifested in human form by a Korean Prince during the Tang Dynasty!) -- known in Korea as Jijang-
bosal, in Sanskrit as Ksitigarbha.
Emei-shan (峨眉山 Éméi Shān, in Sichuan Province south of Chengdu City) a magnificent set of
peaks up to 3100 meters high, is really just a foothill of the great chains of lofty mountains
flowing westward into Tibet. It is the "home" of 普賢 Pu-xian the Bodhisattva of
Benevolent Actions -- known in Korea as Bohyeon-bosal, in Sanskrit as Samanta-bhadra.
Wutai-shan (Wǔtái-shān 五台山, in Shanxxi Province west of Beijing City) at 3000 meters high is
called the "holy roof of northern China". It is the "home" of 文殊 Wen-shu the Bodhisattva
of Wisdom -- known in Korea as Munsu-bosal, in Japan as Monju and in original Sanskrit as
Manjusri. His key characteristics are Wisdom and keen awareness, and his main teachings
are thought to be encapsulated in the Diamond Sutra.
famous "Hanging Temple" of North Heng-shan