Mt. Qingcheng

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Mt. Heng (Northern Shanxi Province and Northwest Hebei province)
Mt. Qian Mt. Wuyi Mt. Wudang Mt. Qingcheng Mt. Song
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Located about 15 kilometers from the southeast of Dujiangyan City, Sichuan Province, Mt. Qingcheng lies amidst the Western Mountains covered with pure white snow, and dominates the fertile land of Chengdu. The mountain, with its luxuriant trees, is green all year round, and surrounded by peaks, it is shaped like a city, so it enjoys the laudatory title "the green city". Known in Daoism as the fifth of The Ten Great Grotto Heavens ( 十大洞天 Shida Dongtian ), it is called the Nine-Room Grotto Heaven of Precious Immortality ( 寶仙九室洞天 Baoxian Jiushi Dongtian ).

Mt. Qingcheng is one of the birthplaces of Daoism. During the Eastern Han dynasty, the Celestial Master ( 天師 Tianshi ) Zhang Daoling founded Daoism on Mt. Heming in Shu, and the nearby Mt. Qingcheng was a major place where he spread his teachings. From its hazy beginnings in the Han dynasty, the Daoist movement of Mt. Qingcheng has developed for more than a thousand years, during which time Daoist adepts came forth in large numbers. Those who made pilgrimage to the mountain included Fan Changsheng of the Jin dynasty, who was held in high esteem by citizens of the state of Shu, and appointed as Prime Minister by Li Xiong, the founder of an independent regime in Chengdu; Zhao Yu of the Sui dynasty, prefect of Suizhou, who once entered a river to kill a flood dragon at his post and thus was worshiped by local people; Du Guangting of the late Tang dynasty, who wrote quite a few books on Daoism and contributed a great deal to the formulation of Daoist rituals of Fasts and Offerings ( 齋醮 Zhaijiao ); Chen Qingjue of the Qing dynasty, who founded a branch of The Dragon Gate Sect ( 龍門派 Longmen Pai ), the Elixir Platform of the Azure Grotto Lineage ( 碧洞宗 Bidong Zong ); and Yi Xinying of modern times, who was of great attainments in Daoist theories. Restored in the Qing dynasty, temples on Mt. Qingcheng are basically intact today. The main temples include the Jianfu Temple, the Temple of Eternal Dao ( 常道觀 Changdao Guan ), the Hall of Patriarchs ( 祖師殿 Zushi Dian ), the Temple of the Highest Clarity ( 上清宮 Shangqing Gong ), and the Pavilion of the Venerable Sovereign ( 老君閣 Laojun Ge ), etc.

Main Temples

The Jianfu Temple

It lies below the Zhangren Peak, Mt. Qingcheng. The temple was first built in the 18th Kaiyuan year of the Tang dynasty (730) and rebuilt in the 14th Guangxu year of the Qing dynasty (1888). Today there are three lines of temples. The front temple worships Fan Changsheng, the Heavenly and Terrestrial Elder Master of the Four Seasons and Eight Solar Terms ( 四時八節天地太師 Sishi Bajie Tiandi Taishi ); the main temple worships the Elder of the Five Sacred Mountains Perfect Sovereign Ningfeng ( 五岳丈人甯封真君 Wuyue Zhangren Ningfeng Zhenjun ), and Du Guangting; the back temple worships The Supreme Venerable Sovereign ( 太上老君 Taishang Laojun ), the Imperial Sovereign Donghua ( 東華帝君 Donghua Dijun ), and the founder Wang Chongyang. Hung on the pillars of the back temple is a 394-word couplet poem, a superb scene of Mt. Qingcheng.

The Temple of Eternal Dao

Mount up from the Jianfu Temple and go through the Workshop of Natural Pictures, and you will come to the Temple of Eternal Dao. Behind the temple is the grotto in which the Celestial Master Zhang Daoling once dwelt; commonly called the Celestial Masters' Grotto ( 天師洞 Tianshi Dong ). The main buildings include the Hall of the Three Pristine Ones ( 三清殿 Sanqing Dian ), the Shrine of The Yellow Emperor ( 黃帝 Huangdi ), and the Hall of the Three August Ones ( 三皇 Sanhuang ), etc. The Hall of the Three Pristine Ones, the main hall of the Temple of Eternal Dao, was rebuilt in 1923. Hung high in the middle of the hall is the horizontal tablet with the inscription "Elixir Platform and Azure Grotto," written by Emperor Kangxi of the Qing dynasty. Worshiped in the hall are the supreme deities in Daoism, i.e., the Daoist Patriarchs----the Three Pristine Ones. Adjacent to the Pavilion of Ginkgo in front of the hall, there is an ancient tree that was said to have been planted in person by Celestial Master Zhang of the Eastern Han dynasty. The Shrine of the Yellow Emperor, the earliest building of the Temple of Eternal Dao, was originally founded in the Sui dynasty. Worshiped in the Hall of the Three August Ones are one stone statue of Fuxi, one of Shennong, and one of the Yellow Emperor. The stone tablet with inscriptions by Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang dynasty in front of the seat of the Yellow Emperor is a rare cultural relic of the Tang dynasty. Tradition has it that a natural grotto on the Hunyuan Peak behind the temple is the actual site where the Celestial Master Zhang Daoling cultivated and refined himself. It is just the so-called Celestial Masters' Grotto. There is a stone niche on the topmost level of the grotto, where a stone statue of the Celestial Master Zhang carved in the Sui dynasty is worshipped. The Celestial Master has three eyes on his face and looks dignified. His left palm stretches outward, holding the "Seal of the Chief Official of Yangping Diocese" ( 陽平治都功印 Yangpingzhi Dugong Yin ).

The Peak of Patriarch Peng

Mounting up the stone stairs, you reach the first peak of Mt. Qingcheng, the Peak of Patriarch Peng. The famous Temple of the Highest Clarity stands on the eastern hillside of the peak. The temple was first built in the Jin dynasty, and the existent building was reconstructed during the last years of the Qing dynasty and the first years of the Republic of China. Mounting up, you enter the Hall of the Three Pristine Ones; bypassing the ambulatory, you reach the Hall of the Jade Emperor ( 玉皇 Yuhuang ). To the left of the hall is the Hall of Civil and Martial Spirits, where Confucius and Guan Yu are worshiped. There is a Maiden Ma's Pond to its lower right side. It is said that Maiden Ma washed elixirs here. Walking to the summit, you will find the Pavilion of the Venerable Sovereign, where there is a huge newly sculpted stone statue of the Venerable Sovereign on a black ox. On Mt. Qingcheng, tall ancient trees reach to the sky; emerald vines blot out the sun; ravines are scattered lengthwise and sidewise; marvelous peaks stand mysteriously. The mountain appears extremely deep and serene; therefore, it enjoys the great fame as "the most peaceful and secluded mountain under heaven".


Address: Dujiangyan City, Sichuan Province

Traveling route: Go to Chengdu by air or by train, and then to Mt. Qingcheng by bus

Tel: 86-28-7288114