Lookout Tower Platform (Louguantai), Shanxi

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History

The Lookout Tower Platform ( 樓台觀 Louguantai ) is the place where Laozi preached The Book of Dao and its Virtue ( 道徳經 Daode Jing ). It is so called because Yin Xi, a senior official of the Zhou dynasty who had a good command of astronomy and astrology, built a straw tower there to observe constellations and clouds. He welcomed Laozi to preach scriptures and doctrines at this place. Therefore, the Lookout Tower Platform can be considered to be the origin of the culture of philosophical Daoism and a Daoist ancestral court, an Immortal Metropolis and a sacred site. From the Zhou to the Qing dynasties, over sixty emperors went there in person or sent officials to worship Laozi over a hundred times, and sponsored constructions many times. For example, emperor Shihuang of the Qin dynasty built the Pristine Temple in front of the straw tower, emperor Wudi of the Han dynasty set up the Gazing Immortals Temple there, and emperor Gaozu of the Tang dynasty established the Worshiping Sages Temple as the imperial ancestral temple.

Present Situation

The Lookout Tower Platform is an independent religious community directed by the Daoist association of Xi'an City, Shanxi Province, one of the first large temples opened in present China, the largest Temple of the Ten Directions ( 十方叢林 Shifang Conglin ) in the northwest, and one of the ten great scenic spots of Xi'an. It often receives people from home and abroad who go for sightseeing or pilgrimage, and is the site of prayers for blessings and good fortune for pilgrims and believers. For example, in 1998, both the German Chen Lineage Taijiquan association and the Taiwan Daoist Culture Meeting for Exchange Between the Two Banks of the Strait of Taiwan gathered there for communication. As a temple of The Dragon Gate Sect ( 龍門派 Longmen Pai ) of The Complete Perfection Tradition ( 全真道 Quanzhen Dao ), the Lookout Tower Platform is managed according to the traditional rules of Daoist temples, which have been combined with modern management experience into a unique system. The temple has raised a generation of Daoist priests versed in Daoist rituals of Fasts and Offering ( 齋醮 Zhaijiao ), Cultivation and Refinement ( 修煉 Xiulian ) and Nourishing Life ( 養生 Yangsheng ), Martial Arts and medicine, and the Eight Trigrams ( 八卦 Bagua ) of The Book of Changes ( 易經 Yijing ).

Geography

Located in the northern foothills of the Qinling Mountains fifteen kilometers southeast of Zhouzhi County of Xi'an, it is 60 kilometers distant from Xi'an and 65 kilometers away from Xianyang International Airport. It is adjacent to the hut where Kumarajiva translated Buddhist scriptures in the east, close to Chongyang Temple, the ancestral court of the Complete Perfection Tradition, and adjoins Xianyou Temple and the site of the key construction project for drawing water from the Heihe River in the west. Its northwest flank faces Famen Temple, its central north side faces the Qian Tomb of Wu Zetian, its south leans on the Qinling Mountains, and its southwest corner points to Taibai Mountain. With the Lookout Tower Platform at the center, the net of Daoist culture radiating through the central Shanxi plain takes shape. It is usually called "the Zhongnan Blissful Realm ( 福地 Fudi )".


Construction Arrangement

The Lookout Tower Platform, with its pleasant circumstances, peaceful ravine and clear spring, luxuriant and tall forests, is famed as "the First Blissful Realm in the world". In this scenic spot, marvelous peaks and steep cliffs, waterfalls and water-eroded caves, zigzagging rivers and thermal springs, rare flowers and exotic plants are found everywhere. The historic relics of temples, towers, platforms, caves, and springs, etc. of the Lookout Tower Platform spread all over the place. There are over 60 relics, such as Yuhua Temple, Patriarch Lü 's Cave, Laozi's Tomb, the Queen Mother Temple, and the like. The stone tablets in the temple total more than 90, such as the Records of the Imperial Temple of the Great Tang Dynasty ( 大唐宗聖觀記 Datangzong Shengguan Ji ) written by Ouyang Xun and The Ancient Laozi written in sealed characters by Gao Wenju of the Yuan dynasty. Eminent Daoists and writers, such as Zhongli Quan, Lü Dongbin, Li Bai, Bai juyi and Su Shi, have left a number of beautiful poems at the Lookout Tower Platform through the ages.

Contact

Address: Lookout Tower Platform scenic spot, Zhouzhi County, Shanxi Province.

Director: Abbot Ren Farong Postal Address: Lookout Tower Platform, Zhouzhi County, Shanxi Province (postal code: 710402)

Telephone: 8629-8988044

Fax: 8629-8988093

Route: along Longhai Road and the No. 108 National Road