The Shortcut of Zhongnan Mountain

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According to the Comprehensive Mirror of the Perfect Immortals Who Embodied the Dao ( 《歷世真仙體道通鑒》 Lishi Zhenxian Tidao Tongjian ), Sima Chengzhen, a Daoist of the Tang dynasty, was so famous that he was repeatedly summoned by the emperor, although he had no intention to start a career in the administration. So he asked repeatedly to be sent back to Mt. Tiantai. One day, when he offered his request again, Lu Changyong, an imperial official, who had been a hermit on Mt. Zhongnan, said: 'in my opinion, you should go to Mt. Zhongnan for hermitage instead of Mt. Tiantai which is too far away.' Sima Chengzhen replied: 'in my opinion, Mt. Zhongnan is merely a shortcut to officialdom rather than a hermitage.' Official Lu smelt the taste of mockery. He felt very embarrassed.

In this story, Mt. Zhongnan was referred to as the Shortcut to officialdom because, geographically, it's near to Chang An, capital of the Tang dynasty. Because of this, it was frequently visited by emperors and ministers going on pilgrimage. Naturally, a hermit in this mountain tended to be summoned, becoming an imperial official. Since then, Mt. Zhongnan was referred to as the Shortcut to fame and power.