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China’s Sacred Mountains – Nine Symbols of Spirituality

Nine Sacred Mountains on the territory of China are considered spiritual symbols, and five of them are worshiped by the adherents of Taoism and four by Buddhism.

Since ancient times, both groups of mountains are places of mass pilgrimage for believers, the very word “pilgrimage” in the Chinese language is formed by the expression “pay tribute to the sacred mountain”.

In recent decades, the Sacred Mountains of China have gained increasing popularity and as tourist sites.

Taoism is an ancient religious and philosophical doctrine common in China, the “way of things” preaching the subordination of all that exists in the world to the universal and absolute law, or Tao. The emergence of Taoism, scientists refer to the V-III centuries BC. e. Taoism has never been the official religion in China, however, it has a lot of adherents among ordinary Chinese.

Taoists worship as sacred five mountains, forming on the map a kind of cross, the ends of which are oriented to the cardinal points. In the east, in Shandong province, is Mount Tai Shan, the Great Central Mountain, which is considered the most sacred.

Mountain number 1. According to legend, all five sacred Taoist mountains emerged from the head, legs and hands of Pan-gu – the first person on Earth. At the same time, Tai Shan Mountain (Taishan, Tài Shān or Mount Tai), according to Taoists, originated from Pan-gu’s head and therefore is “main”. As the legends say, the great Chinese emperors, who ascended the mountain, often talked with the gods living there. The Tai-Shan mountain is 1545m high, it is also revered as a symbol of rebirth and renewal, and tourists love to watch the sunrise from this mountain of rare beauty. On the ski lift you can climb to the top of the mountain and visit the Taoist temple, which is about 3000 years old.

Mountain number 2. And in the geographical center of the conditional cross is Mount Sun-shan (Songshan, Sōng Shān or Mount Song) 1494 m high, famous for the location of the famous Shaolin Monastery – the “cradle” of Chinese martial arts, other Taoist monasteries and the ancient astronomical observatory .

Mount No. 3. Located in the north of the cross, Mount Heng-Shan (Hengshan, Héng Shān or Mount Heng) 2017m high is famous for the unique hanging monastery of Xuanqun-sy. The monastery, built in 491 on wooden stilts resting on sheer cliffs, is considered a national monument of China. Located in Shanxi.

Mountain No. 4. The western mountain of Hua-Shan (Huashan, Mount Hua or Hua Shan) with a height of 2130m may be of interest not only for lovers of antiquities and eastern exoticism, but also for climbers and mountain tourists. Here they are organized to climb several peaks of the mountain, with a visit to the ancient monasteries, temples and pagodas located along the way.

Mount No. 5. South Mountain – Heng-Shan (Hengshan, Mount Heng or Héng Shān), “Mountain of Equilibrium”, is actually a mountain chain consisting of 72 peaks, the largest of them, topped by a Taoist temple, reaches an altitude of 1290m. The chain stretched for 150 km, surrounded by roads. Located in Hunan Province.

Buddhism is a religious and philosophical doctrine of spiritual awakening, it originated in ancient India around the 6th century BC. e., in China, Buddhism became widespread in the I century AD. e., a long time was considered the official religion. Chinese Buddhists worship the four mountains as sacred: Puto-Shan, Utai-Shan, Emei-Shan and Tszyuhua-Shan.

Mountain No. 1. Puto-Shan (Putoshan, Mount Putuo or Pǔtúo Shān), although it is considered to be the sacred mountain of Buddhists, in fact, an island, the highest point of which is 284 m. To get here and admire the numerous Buddhist shrines, natural objects can be taken by water from Shanghai or Ningbo.

Mountain No. 2. Utai-Shan (Utaishan, Mount Wutai or Wǔtái Shān) is located 250 km south-west of the capital of China – Beijing. On the Utai-Shan mountain, besides religious Buddhist objects, unique monuments of ancient Chinese architecture are preserved.

Mountain No. 3. Emei-Shan (Emeishan, Mount Emei or Éméi Shān) is a mountain in the center of China, in the province of Sichuan. Here in the 1st century AD e. The first Buddhist temple in China was built. Hiking up the mountain height of 3077m takes two or three days for tourists, but there is an opportunity to use the cable car.

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