Cloud Light Grotto in the Iron Peak Mountain of Nine Cauldrons
As the birthplace of Northeastern Daoism, it is located at the border of Nandian town, Benqi city, Liaoning province. The mountain stretches for dozens of square kilometers, and its peak is more than 700 meters high above sea level. The mountain is a famous scenic spot, highlighting the clean streams, pretty flowers and dense forests. In the top lies the Cloud Light Grotto, the place where Long Eyebrow Li, an ancient immortal who, according to local tales, used to exercise cultivation. About 5 meters high at the mouth, 9 meters high in the middle, and about 30 meters deep, the whole grotto can hold hundreds of visitors. Inside the grotto are eight natural views. They are the Stone Dragon, the Stone Tiger, the Stone Toad, the Stone Ritual Drum, the Stone Lotus, the Statue of the Longevity Star, the Stone Bed and the Stone Beads. Sometimes, the grotto is also known as Grotto of the Cloud Light of the Eight Precious Things.
In the 3rd Chongzhen year of the Ming dynasty, Guo Shouzhen, a Daoist of The Dragon Gate Sect ( 龍門派 Longmen Pai ) came to Eastern Liaoning. In total seclusion, he lived in the grotto for more than ten years, exercising cultivation and teaching to his disciples. Since then, he has been regarded as the founder of Northeastern Daoism. Thanks to his effort, three stone temples were constructed inside the grotto in honor of The Jade Emperor, The Perfect Warrior ( 真武 Zhenwu ), and The Three Heavenly Officials ( 三官大帝 Sanguan Dadi). In the following years, he had three more halls constructed in the Cave of Qian and Kun just beside the Cloud Light Grotto. In the early years of the Qing dynasty, another Daoist named Li Yigang had another temple constructed inside the Cave of Fish Scales. Then, in the 9th Qianlong year of the Qing dynasty, a Daoist named Ren Yangyue sponsored the construction of the Temple of the Three Pristine Ones ( 三清觀 Sanqing Guan ), serving as an auxiliary facility of the Cloud Light Grotto. In memory of Guo Shouzhen, the local people had a tower, namely Patriarch Guo's Tower, constructed. Beside the bottom of the tower ran a spring called the Nature Well, which provides locals with sweet water the year around.
There are many natural caves in Iron Peak Mountain. Besides the above-mentioned caves and grottoes, others such as the Cave of the Heavenly Bridge, the Cave of Wind and Moon and Patriarch Guo's Cave ought to be mentioned as well. The Cave of the Heavenly Bridge was said to be the spot of Immortal Long Eyebrow Li's ascension to heaven. Patriarch Guo's Cave was the location of Guo Shouzhen's flight to Immortality. The Cave of Wind and Moon was the best place for food storage. It is said that even in the hottest summer days, food stored there remains fresh for a long time.