Mt. Lao, named Mt. Lao, Mt. Futang and Mt. Ao in ancient times, lies in the southwest of the Shan Dong peninsula and the east of Qing Dao municipality. The main peak, named Large Peak or Peak Lao, is over 1100 meters high above sea level. Mt. Lao, with the plain behind and the sea in front, with lofty stones and precipitous peaks, is both majestic and elegant. So the ancients said that the cloud over Mt. Tai was high but inferior to that of Mt. Lao of the eastern sea.
Mt. Lao has alwaysbeen honored as the home of Immortals and the mansion of fairy spirits. In the Qin Dynasty, the Magician Xu Fu, with 3000 boys and girls, went to three islands such as Yingzhou to seek for long-life medicine for the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty. That is to say, they started from Xu Fu Island not far form Mt. Lao towards the sea. In the fourth year of the reign of Taichu of the Han Dynasty (101B.C), Emperor Wudi went to Mt. Lao to offer a sacrifice to Immortals at the Palace Jiaomen. Since the Han and Tang Dynasties, some Daoists and perfected men often came to inhabit Lao Shan for cultivation. In the Song Dynasty, the Daoists such as Lezheng Zichang, Liu Ruozuo and Zhen Qizhen lived in seclusion on Mt. Lao. At that time, large quantities of palaces and temples had been built. The famous ones were Supreme Clarity Temple, Temple of the Highest Clarity and Temple of Supreme peace. The Yuan Dynasty was the flourishing period of Mt. Lao's Daoism, when many Daoists came here for cultivation successively. The famous one was Qiu Chuji who was one of the Seven Perfect Ones of the Northern Complete Perfection ( 全真道北七真 Quanzhen Dao Beiqizhen ). At the same time, the temples such as Welcoming Perfection Temple and Hualou Temple were built. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Daoism of Mt. Lao continued to develope. The Daoists such as Zhang Shanfeng, Xu Fuyang and Li Shouzhen all came here for cultivation. The Daoist Sun Xuanqing of Ming Dynasty, becoming a Daoist on Mt. Lao as a child, founded the Jinshan Sect or Mt. Lao Sect.
During the flourishing time of Mt. Lao Daoism, there had been 9 palaces, 8 temples and 72 nunneries. The ones preserved well today were mainly Supreme Clarity Temple, Temple of the Highest Clarity, Temple of Supreme Peace, Hualou Temple and Mingxia Grotto, etc.
Supreme Clarity Temple
Another name is Lower Temple, which lies beside Lower Temple Bay in the southeast of Mt. Lao. It is divided into three independent yards: the southeast one is Three-Official Hall, in front of which there are two camellias whose trunks embrace each other. It is said that in the Yongle year of the Ming Dynasty, the Daoist Zhang Sanfeng carried them here from an island. Xiang Yu and Jiang Xue, who were portrayed in the tale Xiang Yu of Strange Tales of Liao Zhai written by Pu Songling, were incarnations of a red peony and a white camellia. The central yard is Hall of the Highest Clarity and the west one Three-Emperor Hall. Temple of the Highest Clarity is located to the northwest of Supreme Clarity Temple. It has front and back yards and leaning yards. The front one is used for offering a sacrifice to the Three Purities, the back one to Jade Emperor, the left and right leaning ones to Three Heavenly Officials ( 三官 Sanguan ) and the Seven Perfect Ones. Temple of Supreme Peace lies at the foot of Mt. Shangyuan beside Yangkou Bay. The main hall used to offer a sacrifice to the Three Purities and Jade Emperor, the east leaning one to the Three Heavenly Officials and the west leaning one to the Perfect Warrior. In the past few years of reparation, some statues of gods have been remodeled. Hualou Temple, with three halls named Hall of the Venerable Sovereign, Hall of Jade Emperor and Hall of Emperor Guan, lies in the northwest of the peak of Mt. Lao. Near the top of Xuanwu Peak about three li from the north of Temple of the Highest Clarity is Mingxia Grotto, whose main building is Temple of the Big Dipper.
Mt. Lao is a wonderful summer resort, with good flora, various kinds of flowers and trees, adequate rainfall, and pleasant weather. It must be a rewarding visit to Mt. Lao because of the possibility of listening to the sound of the billowy sea, enjoying the sight of sunrise, strolling about palaces and halls and visiting the greatest men.
Address: Qingdao Municipality, Shandong Province, China Touring Route: to Qingdao by train or plane, then to Mt. Lao by bus Tel.: 86-532-7948099