Water Mirror (ShuiJing) Stage

On September 6, 2011, in Historical Relics, Popular Provinces, Shanxi, by Jack Li

The Water Mirror Stage covers a big area and the eastern part of the stage is often used as the background screen in the plays while the western part, faced with the Shengmu Palace, serves as the proscenium. Under the stage eight large earthen jars functioned as loudspeakers. According to Chinese traditions, when people redeem […]

The Water Mirror Stage covers a big area and the eastern part of the stage is often used as the background screen in the plays while the western part, faced with the Shengmu Palace, serves as the proscenium. Under the stage eight large earthen jars functioned as loudspeakers. According to Chinese traditions, when people redeem a vow to a god or offer sacrifices to gods and their ancestors, they usually give various performances to entertain the god as well as themselves. And such a custom lasts for generations. Why? Because ancient common people in China were poor and had to work hard almost every day through the whole year, so they did not have much leisure time. When it came to the ritual ceremony, people all got excited and took this particular opportunity to relax and enjoy themselves. This kind of folk worship ceremony was entertaining and ceremonial at the same time. In the Song and Yuan Dynasty, plays were very popular. In order to meet the needs of the performances of ritual activities, people devided the stage into terrace, pavilion, proscenium and background screen and opened only one side of the stage. Not all people who stood around the stage could enjoy the show, but only those who sat in specific direction could do so. Therefore, stages with fixed watching direction came into being and gradually appeared in various temples or other sacrificial sites.

Jinci Temple

The Buddhist Relics Tower

On September 6, 2011, in Popular Provinces, Shanxi, Temples, Towers, Pagodas & Grottoes, by Jack Li

The Buddhist Relics Tower is located in Futu Court in Fengsheng Temple. The legend holds that after the death of Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, his bone ash formed many shiny beads, which were called Buddhist relics (Shelizi) by his followers. Only one of the beads were buried under the tower, however, when the Qing […]

The Buddhist Relics Tower is located in Futu Court in Fengsheng Temple. The legend holds that after the death of Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, his bone ash formed many shiny beads, which were called Buddhist relics (Shelizi) by his followers. Only one of the beads were buried under the tower, however, when the Qing Emperor Qianlong had the tower rebuilt, surprisingly to all, many Buddhist relics were found. How could one bead become millions of beads? Was it because the living soul of Sakyamuni did this and showed people that Buddhism could last for good? As a result people started to call the tower Buddhist Relics Tower. Built in 589 to 604 BC. (Kaihuang years in Sui Dynasty) and rebuilt in Song Dynasty, the temple was unfortunately destroyed in the beginning years of Qing Dynasty. Shanxiu, a monk in Fengsheng Temple decided to repair this tower, so he began the fund-raising immediately. For some years, he finally got the money needed to accomplish the task in 1751 (the sixteenth year under Qing Emperor Qianlong’s reign). The tower measures 38 m in height with 8 angles and seven floors, and on each floor there are 4 doors and 8 windows. The delicate spiral stairway will lead you to the top of the tower where you can enjoy the most beautiful sight of the tower at dusk when the setting sun is going down. to the east of the tower there is a court called Liushan Garden, in which two pavilions can provide you perfect places for a good rest, one is called Liushan Pavilion, the other is Banyun Pavilion. A folk tale has it that in the year 1558 the Hanging Urn Hill (Xuanweng Shan) moved slowly to the east for more than four hours and stopped just in front of the Lishan Pavilion, and that is how Liushan Pavilion got its name because in Chinese Liushan means to stop the mountain.

Jinci Temple

Everlasting Spring

On September 6, 2011, in Historical Relics, Popular Provinces, Shanxi, Temples, by Jack Li

The source of Jinshui is inside Jinci Temple and there are in all three springs named Yuzhao Spring, Shanli Spring and Everlasting Spring. Sometimes the source of Yuzhao Spring and Shanli Spring is dried up while the Everlasting Spring never runs out of water. The water comes out from the rock 5 m deep down […]

The source of Jinshui is inside Jinci Temple and there are in all three springs named Yuzhao Spring, Shanli Spring and Everlasting Spring. Sometimes the source of Yuzhao Spring and Shanli Spring is dried up while the Everlasting Spring never runs out of water. The water comes out from the rock 5 m deep down the ground with an average flow of 1.8 m3. The temperature of the spring keeps at 17℃ all year round. The name of the spring is from a famous sentence “never grow old” in The Book of Songs.

A folk story tells that once there was a girl called Liu in Jinsheng village 20 km away from Jinci Temple got married with a man in Gutang village, where the temple was located. Her mother-in-law was very mean to her and never let her visit her parental home. She was ordered to carry water to the house from afar. It took her a whole day to carry just two buckets of water, however, the evil mother-in-law only use one bucket and pour out the water in the other bucket so as to torture the poor girl. One day Liu met an old gentleman riding on a horse half way back home, and the man wanted to get some water from her to feed his horse. Without any hesitation, Liu said yes and give the water to the man, but to her surprise, the horse drank the water in both buckets. Then Liu faced an awkward dilemma, it was already at dusk now, so there was not enough time to carry another two buckets of water, but if she went back home empty-handed, the harsh old lady would surely call her names or even abuse her. At this moment, the old man gave Liu the horsewhip and told her if she put the horsewhip in the jar, water would come out immediately and fill the jar to the full. With these words the man disappeared. Liu got home and secretly used the whip as she was told to, and it turned out the man did tell the truth. Days after, the old lady felt quite curious about how Liu could make the jar full of water without going out. She asked her daughter to secretly keep a lookout over Liu and the girl came to know the existence of the magic horsewhip. The old lady intentionally allowed Liu went back to her parents’ home and then let her daughter imitate Liu’s trick; sadly, the water kept running all time and did not stop. They could do nothing but ask Liu for help. Liu tried to stop the water flow by sitting on the jar, but the water continues to come out incessantly for thousands of years. That’s how the story goes about the Everlasting Spring.

Jinci Temple

Jinci Temple

On September 6, 2011, in Must-sees, Shanxi, Temples, Towers, Pagodas & Grottoes, by Jack Li

Jinci is a must-see in Taiyuan City. People also say that “Not going Jinci temple when you are in Taiyuan is like not going to the Forbidden City when you are in Beijing.” It situates in 25km away from downtown Taiyuan, Xuanweng Mountain. The Temple is under special protection of the state attracting visitors all […]

Jinci is a must-see in Taiyuan City. People also say that “Not going Jinci temple when you are in Taiyuan is like not going to the Forbidden City when you are in Beijing.” It situates in 25km away from downtown Taiyuan, Xuanweng Mountain. The Temple is under special protection of the state attracting visitors all over the world. The ancient trees soar to unbelievable heights. It is in compound with hall, pavilions, and towers. The Saintly Mother’s Hall, built from 1023 to 1032 during the Song Dynasty, is the most magnificent and oldest building remains of ancient in Jinci Temple. Jinci Temple is fine combination of natural landscape and architecture. The main buildings are distributed along the central axis from east to west. All the buildings are in compact and designed strictly according to traditional style. The cypresses grown in the Zhou Dynasty and pagoda trees of the Sui Dynasty are still vigorous, lush and exuberant.

Jinci Temple Attractions

The Buddhist Relics Tower

Everlasting Spring

Water Mirror Stage

Jinci Temple Stories

1.   Fengsheng Temple Pagoda Tree

Around the Fengsheng Temple there stands a giant centuries-old pagoda tree. The trunk is crooked but the branches are young and tender. Story has it the tree was old and dead until 1756, the Qing Dynasty. A Taoist priest was selling plaster under this tree claiming that it is panacea. However, no matter how hard he tried to sell his medicine no one cast a look at it. Disappointed and upset, he pasted the plaster on the dry bark of the dead pagoda tree. Miracle happened several months later: the tree began to branch out again! Nonetheless, it is probably just happened to come to itself after hundreds of years of sleep.

2The Iron man in the Jinci Temple

It is said that in a hot summer, an iron man wanted to cross the Fen River. When he was stranded in the heat by the river bank, he noticed that a boat coming from downstream. He waved and asked the boatman to carry him across the river. “All right. But I’ll wait and see if there’re other people want to cross the river. It’ll be such a waste to carry just you.” “Really? I’m wondering is you’re skillful enough to carry just me!” “How much do you weigh? I can ferry dozens of people except that you’re made of iron.” To the boatman’s surprise, the man began to freeze right in front him and the man looked rather familiar! The man was the iron man in the Jinci Temple. The boatman gathered some fellow villagers to carry the iron man back to the Temple. The Buddha commanded him to be whipped on his feet. Today the scars still can be seen on the statue’s feet.

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Mount Wutai Travel Tips

On August 26, 2011, in Mountain Areas, Shanxi, Tours, Travel Info, by Jack Li

The top four famous Buddhist mountains are Mount Wutai in Shanxi, Mount Emei in Sichuan, Mount Jiuhua in Anhui and Mount Potuo in Zhejiang. Mount Wutai is not only a Buddhist attraction but also regarded as the best mountain as a summer resort. If you need a tour guild, please find one in with Guide […]

The top four famous Buddhist mountains are Mount Wutai in Shanxi, Mount Emei in Sichuan, Mount Jiuhua in Anhui and Mount Potuo in Zhejiang. Mount Wutai is not only a Buddhist attraction but also regarded as the best mountain as a summer resort. If you need a tour guild, please find one in with Guide ID Card in a travel agent. During the trip, don’t accept cards and gold ingots sent by strangers. Please choose commodity and service when there is a specific price. Be careful and don’t be fooled by strangers’ traps. There are some people trying to charge visitors a high price by peddling Buddhist things.

Best Time to Visit the Mount Wutai

The best time to visit the Mount Wutai is from June to August. Climb the Mount Wutai in summer, and you can see the beautiful flower seas. While in the ancient caves, there are landscapes of ice and snow which has been stored for hundreds of years. It rains a lot in the summer. Visitors had better bring rain gears, shirts with long sleeves and pants. If you go to the Mount Wutai in spring and autumn, you have to wear sweater, and thick or woolen pants. If you want to go to the peak and see sunrise, you must rent a cotton-padded overcoat. The weather is worse in winter. Travellers who go to the Mount Wutai in winter have worn more clothes to keep themselves warm and pay more attention to transportation.

Mount Wutai Best Routes

One day schedule:

After having breakfast, travelers can start the tour at eight o’clock. The route for the morning is Wuye Temple, Bodhisattva Ding, Xiantong Temple and then Tangyuan Temle. Wuye Temple is the best place to make a wish in the Mount Wutai. The route for the afternoon is Shuxiang Temple, Dailuo Peak. Shuxiang temple is a national protective historical relic. Royal families often got together there and had activities. Dailuo Peak is a small peak along the Qingshui River. There is a stone road of 1080 stairs to get to the peak. It was said after one walked through there 1080 stairs, all his worries would go away. In the evening, it is recommended to stay at the Taihuai County.

Mount Wutai Tickets

Ticket for an adult: 218 RMB/person including admission fee 168 RMB, environmental fee 50 RMB and insurance 5 RMB. Ticket for a child: 134 RMB.

Open time: from 6:30 to 18:30. It may change according to different seasons.

How to Get to the Mount Wutai

By Plane:

There are flights from Taiyuan to Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guilin, Nanjing, Shenyang, Xi An and other main cities in Wuxiu Airport. You can take the airport shuttle from No. 158 Yingze Street to go to the airport. You can take bus 201 or 901 to get to the Wusu Airport. There are also travel buses between Taiyuan and Mount Wutai at Taiyuan long-distance coach station.

There is a heliport at the Mount Wutai. You can take a helicopter to go to the Mount Wutai from Taiyuan.

By train:

The train station of the Mount Wutai is in Shahe Town, Fanzhi County. It is 51 kilometres away from Taihuai County. In the station, there are trains to get to Beijing, Taiyuan, Datong and other places.

Visitors from Beijing can get to the Mount Wutai stop by train and then go to the mountain. Other visitors can take a train to Taiyuan. It takes two hours to get to the Mount Wutai and the ticket price is 38 yuan.

By bus:

At the in season, there are long-distance buses to Mount Wutai in Beijing Liuliqiao bus station, Shijiazhuang bus station, Datong bus station.

There are also buses at the Taiyuan and Jinzhou couch station. It takes one hour from Taiyuan and Jinzhou.

By car:

Beijing to Mount Wutai:

Drive on the Jingshi Express, get out at Baoding. Go on driving through Shunping, Tangxian, Fuping and get to the Wutaishan Road.

Taiyuan to Mount Wutai:

Yuantai Express, get out at Jinzhou. Then go on driving through Dingxiang, Wutai County, Rucun Village, Qingshui River, south entrance of Wutai Mount and get to Taihuai County.

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Xiantong Temple

On August 26, 2011, in Historical Relics, Popular Provinces, Shanxi, Temples, by Jack Li

Xiantong Temple is in the central area of Taihuai County. It is the oldest and the largest temple in the Mount Wutai. It started to be built during the Yongle Era in the Han Dynasty. It was originally named Dafu Lingjiao Temple. The Xiantong Temple was enlarged in Beiwei Dynasty. It then was named Garden […]

Xiantong Temple is in the central area of Taihuai County. It is the oldest and the largest temple in the Mount Wutai. It started to be built during the Yongle Era in the Han Dynasty. It was originally named Dafu Lingjiao Temple. The Xiantong Temple was enlarged in Beiwei Dynasty. It then was named Garden Temple because there was a garden besides the temple. When it came to the Tang Dynasty, Emperor Wuzetian, the only woman monarch in Chinese histor y, changed the name to Dahuayan Temple. After that, Emperor Taizu in the Ming Dynasty renamed it to Daxianzong Temple. It really has a long history about the temple’s names.

There are more than four hundred architectures in Xiantong Temple, covering an area of 80,000 square metres. Mountains and green pines around the temple add a solumn atmosphere to the temple. There are in all seven palaces in the Xiaotong Temple including Guanyin Palace, Wenshu Palace, Dafo Palace, Wuliang Palace, Qianbo Palace, Tongduan Palace, and Zangjing Palace. There are all magnificent but with different features. The most impressive palace is the Tongduan Palace, because it was made by bronze. There were three bronze palaces in China. Another two were in Mount E Mei and Mount Baohua. Now Xiantong Temple is the only bronze palace existing. The bronze palace is square and five metres high. Over 10,000 small Buddhas are carved on the walls inside the palace. In the middle of the palace, there stands a big Buddha called Wanfo Rulai. There used to be five bronze towers in front of the Xiantong Temple. However Japan invaded China in 1937 and stole three of these five towers. There are only two left. The Towers are eight metres high, with thirteen floors. The towers are carved with images of Buddha. The bases of the towers are square with four muscle men’s statue in sides. Their function was to hole the tower. There is a bell tower built in the Ming Dynasty right in front of the temple. When the bell is sticking, people in each corner of the mountain are able to hear it.

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Tayuan Temple

On August 26, 2011, in Popular Provinces, Shanxi, Temples, by Jack Li

Tayuan Temple is in the south of the Xiantong Temple. Actually it used to be a part of the Xiantong Temple. The Tayuan Temple was designed by a Nepal architect Anige. It was separated from the Xiantong Temple during the Yongle Era in the Ming Dynasty. In the yard, there is a very well-known White […]

Tayuan Temple is in the south of the Xiantong Temple. Actually it used to be a part of the Xiantong Temple. The Tayuan Temple was designed by a Nepal architect Anige. It was separated from the Xiantong Temple during the Yongle Era in the Ming Dynasty. In the yard, there is a very well-known White Tower. The main layout of the temple is very tidy. Daci Yanchou Palace is in the very front with a pavilion of Buddhist texts in the back. The White Tower is in the middle.

When people walk into the Taihuai county, they see the tall White Tower in the Tayuan Temple at the first glance. The White Tower is so attractive that it is often seen as the symbol of the Mount Wutai. The base of the White Tower has eight right-angles. In the south of the White Tower is the back wall of the Daci Yanchou Palace. There are three shallow holes in the wall, through which people can see the footprint picture of Buddha Sakyamuni. It is said that before Buddha Sakyamuni died, he carved his footprints on a stone. Then he told his disciples that,” It is my last track. If anyone sees it, worship it, then he will escape from disease and disaster.”

Xuan Zang, a Buddhist monk in the Tang Dynasty carved his footprint on a stone on his way to India. He brought it back. The sculpture was worshiped by the Emperor Taizong in the Tang Dynasty very much.

In the north of the White Tower, there is the pavilion of Buddhist texts. The pavilion also has a stone cave. There stands the statue of the guardian fairy. The lower floors of the White Tower are called Tower Palace where there are Buddha statues of Wenshu, Chinese ancient goddess, Puxi, Dicang, and Sakyamuni. There also are statue of Monk Jigong and Liuhai. This grand white tower is a great achievement in Chinese architectural history. It was not easy to do the aerial work in the 60 metres high sky under the circumstances of weak science and technology. The tower has a perfect layout mixed with rounds and squares. The shape of the tower is beautiful and magnificent. When there is breeze, windbells ring. It is a very clear and pleasant sound.

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Bodhisattva Ding

On August 26, 2011, in Mountain Areas, Shanxi, Temples, by Jack Li

Bodhisattva Ding is located in the north of the Xiantong Temple. You will see the stairs are very steep and direct to the top of the Bodhisattva. In a legend, the Wenshu Bodhisattva lived in the top of the mountain. So people call it Bodhisattva Ding or the Wenshu Temple. The Wenshu Temple was built […]

Bodhisattva Ding is located in the north of the Xiantong Temple. You will see the stairs are very steep and direct to the top of the Bodhisattva. In a legend, the Wenshu Bodhisattva lived in the top of the mountain. So people call it Bodhisattva Ding or the Wenshu Temple. The Wenshu Temple was built in the Beiwei period and named Qingmiao. In the Shunzhi period of the Qing Dynasty, after expanded and repaired, changed into Huang Temple and controlled by Lama. The temple is large and covers an area of 45 Mu, it has more than 430 rooms and all were built in the Qing Dynasty. According to the royal palaces, they used three color tiles and green bricks. It looks luxury and the top of all the temples in the Mount Wutai. The temple has 108 stairs and it suggested 108 countries of Shanxi province. Other people said that it means 108 kinds of worries and people tread the worries underfoot can see the appearance of Bodhisattva. There is a wood building in the Bodhisattva Ding and a brand “Lingfeng Sheng Jing” hangs on the building. People said it was written by the Kangxi Emperor. The temple has two brands, one is the Kangxi Emperor’s and another is the Qianlong Emperor’s. The brand from the Qianglong Emperor was made by white marble and craved words in Han, Man, Men, Zang four kinds of words. It is symbolized the unity of the nationality. Visitors come here will see the green mountains and trees and will have a solemn feeling. There are three large pots. The largest one is 2 meters wide and 1 meters depth. People use the pots each year in the past. People use it to celebrate the date which the Sakya became god. In that day, people use millet, mung bean, red dates, rice and walnuts, also include brown sugar to make Rice pudding and sent it to many people.

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Qixian Temple

On August 26, 2011, in Mountain Areas, Shanxi, Temples, by Jack Li

Qixian Temple is in the Dashe Village of Mount Wutai. The temple in the Dashe Village was called Dashe Temple. During the years of the Beisong Dynasty, the seven son of Ganeral Yang killed the third son Pan Bao of Prime Minister Pan Renmei. The Pans regarded the Yangs as the biggest enemy. They accused […]

Qixian Temple is in the Dashe Village of Mount Wutai. The temple in the Dashe Village was called Dashe Temple. During the years of the Beisong Dynasty, the seven son of Ganeral Yang killed the third son Pan Bao of Prime Minister Pan Renmei. The Pans regarded the Yangs as the biggest enemy. They accused the Yangs in front of the emperor. The emperor punished the Yangs by disposing their positions and sending them to Mount Wutai for house arrest. In the next autumn, the Liao Kingdom invaded the Song’s territory. The emperor followed Pan Renmei’s suggestions, led the troops to fight with the enemy and was trapped in Youzhou. Under that circumstance, the Emperor Taizong had no choice but to resume positions of General Yang and his sons. His eighth younger brother went to Mount Wutai and asked the Yangs for help. When the Yangs left Dashe Village, villagers renamed the Dashe Temple as Qixian Temple in the Yangs’ honor. In the central palace of the Qixian Temple, there is a bronze beef statue, which is one metre high and two metres long. It is one of the top ten attractions in the Mount Wutai. In the Tianwang Palace, there is a wooden tower with eight straight-angles and thirteen floors. The tower is nine metres high. It is the only wooden tower in the Mount Wutai. In the back of the palace, there is a biggest bull feather drum in the Mount Wutai. The drum’s diameter is one and a half metres. The width of the drum is 1.67 metres.

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Jinge Temple

On August 26, 2011, in Mountain Areas, Shanxi, Temples, by Jack Li

Except the temples of the Mount Wutai, the Jinge Temple is the second highest in the south. The elevation is 1900 meters high and 15km from the Huai town. In 770, the master Sanzang from India was called to the Mount Wutai and he built the Jinge Temple according the place of Wenshu Bodhisattva was […]

Except the temples of the Mount Wutai, the Jinge Temple is the second highest in the south. The elevation is 1900 meters high and 15km from the Huai town. In 770, the master Sanzang from India was called to the Mount Wutai and he built the Jinge Temple according the place of Wenshu Bodhisattva was in. People use copper as the tiles and then painted gold on tiles. People call it Jinge. The master supervised the process of built the temple. All the emperors in different dynasties showed the respect to the master Sanzang.

The master is one of the main founders. After he left the Mount Wutai, the monk Hanguan often came to the temple and the temple was famous in the world. In the Ming, Qing Dynasty and the Minguo period, the temple was repaired. Now it has more than 160 rooms. The layout of the temple is there are two yards and a palace which toward the south. In front of the temple, there also have Tianwang Palace and two Zhonggu buildings. In the middle of the first yard has a cabinet, and the Thousand arms Guanyin Copper Statue in it. The statue is 17.7 meters high and the Guanyin has 48 arms. This is the largest statue in the Mount Wutai, it was made by mud outside and then painted gold. The statues of a boy and a girl stand beside the Guanyin Statue. The boy hold a sword in his hand, in a legend the boy and the girl are the parents of the Guanyin. There are 24 statues in the walls of the temple, people call them “24 Zhutian.” A ancient legend in India said that 20 gods to beat the evils and protect goodness people, in Buddhism people call the 20 gods “20 Zhutian.” When the legend spread to China, people added another four gods and changed into “24 Zhutian.” In the southwest corner, there is another statue of the Tangdai Zong Emperor (Li Yu).

The cabinet has two relics of stone pillars. In front of the Jinge temple have two stone monuments of the Jiajing year 36 and 37. Also has a stone monument of the Minguo period year 24. The mark of monuments has the details about the history of the Jinge Temple and how to build the Guanyin Statue. In the north of the first yard have a row of dormitories for monks and in the upstairs have all kinds of palaces. The design of these palaces was complicated, and the Yuhuang Palace and the Sanhuang Palace are most interesting. The Yuhuang is the most powerful god in Taoism, also called Yudi. The Sanhuang means three emperors. It includes Fuxi Shi, Zuiren Shi and Shennong Shi. The three emperors also called Tianhuang, Dihuang and Renhuang.

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