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Mystery Metropolis Temple on the Southern Sacred Mountain (Hengyang, Hunan)

The Mystery Metropolis Temple ( 玄都觀 Xuandu Guan ) is situated between the Zhu Rong Peak on Mt. Hengshan and Nanyue Town. It was formerly a pavilion halfway up the mountain, which was also known as the Absorbing Clouds Temple. Originally built in the period of the Qi and Liang of the Southern Dynasties, it was extended into a temple in the fourth year in the Guangxu era of the Qing dynasty (1878), and established as one of the Temples of the Ten Directions ( 十方叢林 Shifang Conglin ) of The Complete Perfection Tradition ( 全真派 Quanzhen Pai ) of Daoism. Its full title was the Mystery Metropolis Temple of the Ten Directions. Afterwards, it was repeatedly destroyed and restored. The present buildings were reconstructed in recent years, including the gate, the Hall of The Numinous Official ( 靈官殿 Lingguan Dian ), The Jade Emperor Hall ( 玉皇殿 Yuhuang Dian ), and the Hall of the Three Pristine Ones ( 三清殿 Sanqing Dian ), etc. The antithetical couplet at the entrance says, "Advancing along the Way, you still have to work hard halfway up the mountain; though a short distance in visualization, reaching the summit still requires effort." This couplet both shows the position of the pavilion, and explains the philosophy of practicing the Dao. Outside the temple there is a huge stone, which is divided in the middle, as if cut by a knife. It is said that it was the stone for trying swords used by Huang Chao, the leader of a peasant uprising of the Tang dynasty.