Mt. Kongtong Daoist Temple (Pingliang, Gansu)

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Mt. Kongtong, a famous Taoist site, is about 30 kilometers away from Pingliang city, Gansu province. It is famous for its historical records about The Yellow Emperor’s consultation with Guangchengzi, who was living in this place.

In the mountain, there were many Daoist temples, among which were the Temple of Consulting Dao ( 問道宮 Wendao Gong ), which was constructed before the Tang dynasty, and the Yellow Emperor’s Temple, which was built in the Tang dynasty at the top of the mountain, but moved to the court of the Heavenly Immortals Temple ( 天仙宮 Tianxian Gong ) in the Qing dynasty. During the Qiande years of the Northern Song dynasty, on the top of Mt. Mazong, the Perfect Warrior Hall ( 真武殿 Zhenwu Dian ) was constructed, and in the following Zhenhe years, the Consulting Dao Temple was reconstructed under instructions from Emperor Huizong himself. In the 20th Jiajing year, king Han of the vassal state of Pingliang decided to construct a temple city on the top of the Mt. Mazong. He allocated money for the reconstruction of the Hall of the Perfect Warrior, the roofs of which were covered with metal sheets. After its completion, the hall embraced such incredible subtlety, reminding people of an immortals’ residence. Other buildings, such as the Medicine King Hall ( 藥王殿 Yaowang Dian ), the Venerable Sovereign’s Chamber ( 老君樓 Laojun Lou ), the Great Harmony Chamber ( 太和樓 Taihe Lou ), the Jade Emperor Pavilion, and the Numinous Official Grotto, were also constructed inside the temple complex. In the meantime, along the road from the bottom up to its top were scattered new constructions such as the Immortals Assembly Bridge ( 聚仙橋 Juxian Qiao ), the Queen Mother Temple ( 王母宮 Wangmu Gong ), the Purple Heaven Temple ( 紫霄宮 Zixiao Gong ), the Temple for Encountering the Perfected Ones ( 遇真宮 Yuzhen Gong ), the Southern Cliff Temple ( 南崕宮 Nianya Gong ), the Heavenly Immortals Temple, the Big Dipper Temple, the Tranquil Pleasure Temple ( 靜樂宮 Jingle Gong ), the Mysterious Saint Temple ( 玄聖宮 Xuansheng Gong ), the Pavilion of Flying Immortals ( 飛仙閣 Feixian Ge ), the Needle-rubbing Temple ( 磨針觀 Mozhen Guan ), the Twelve Marshals Hall ( 十二帥殿 Shiershuai Dian ), the White Tiger Hall ( 白虎殿 Baihu Dian ), the Shrine for Imperial Sovereign Donghua ( 東華庵 Donghua An ), and the Chaotic Origin Chamber ( 混元樓 Hunyuan Lou ). On the top of Mt. Leishen stood the Thunder Patriarch Hall, the Jade Emperor Chamber, the Holy Parents Chamber ( 聖父聖母樓 Shengfu Shengmu Lou ) and the Three Officials Hall. On the way from Zhongtai up to the temple complex were three heavenly gates. Inside the second heavenly gate, the Gate of the Three Teachings was constructed. In the same period, projects for renovating the Consulting Tao Temple and for constructing the Complete Perfection Pavilion were undertaken. In emperor Kangxi’s reign during the Qing dynasty, Miao Qingyang, the famous Daoist of the Dragon Gate Tradition ( 龍門派 Longmen Pai ) was invited to the temple. Since then, Mt. Kongtong was converetd into a Daoist site. In the following years, more buildings were built at the place. In front of the temple complex, the bell and drum arches were built. On the top of Mt. Leishen, new buildings such as the Three Stars Hall ( 三星殿 Sanxing Dian ), the Dragon Sovereign Hall ( 龍君殿 Longjun Dian ) and the Eye Light Hall ( 眼光殿 Yanguang Dian ) were constructed; on the top of Mt. Xiangshan, the Hall of the Three Pristine Ones was constructed; at the Gate of Worshiping Heaven, the Medicine King Grotto was built; at Dongtai, the Emperor Guan Hall, at Zhongtai, the Ascension Temple ( 飛升宮 Feishen Gong ) and the Three Emperors Chamber, and at the Hall for Inviting Cranes ( 招鶴堂 Zhaohe Tang ), the Hall of the Three Pristine Ones and the Temple of Imperial Sovereign Wenchang ( 文昌宮 Wenchang Gong ). In the Republican period, at Nantai, Patriarch Qiu Hall, at Mt. Fenghua, the Supreme Clarity Temple, and at Mt. Lazhu, the Eight Immortals Hall, and at Mt. Qipan, the Three Saints Hall were respectively erected.

       Since 1958, most Daoists were forced to leave the temple, which underwent serious damages. Up to the 1980’s, only some buildings in the temple complex -- the Purple Heaven Temple and the Thunder Patriarch Hall survived, while other buildings, unfortunately, totally disappeared in the ruins and debris. In 1982, funds were raised for the reconstruction of buildings on the top of Mt. Leishen, the renovation of buildings in the temple complex and the transmission of the Jade Emperor Pavilion into five great halls. Up to 1989, the Consulting Dao Temple and the Queen Mother Temple were renovated, and the Heavenly Immortals Temple, the Supreme Clarity Temple, the Three Emperors Chamber, the Three Saints Chamber, the Descendants Temple and the Yellow Emperor Chamber were reconstructed.