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China – Jiu Hua Shan

Jiu Hua Shan – Anhui Province, China

Mount Jiuhua (simplified Chinese: 九华山; traditional Chinese: 九華山; Pinyin: Jǐuhuá Shān; literally “Nine Glorious Mountains”) is one of the four sacred mountains of Chinese Buddhism. It is located in Qingyang County in Anhui province and is famous for its rich landscape and ancient temples.

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Many of the mountain’s shrines and temples are dedicated to Ksitigarbha (known in Chinese as Dìzàng, traditional Chinese: 地藏), who is a bodhisattva and protector of souls in hell according to Mahayana Buddhist tradition. Pious Buddhists often come to this popular attraction in Anhui to climb to Greater Tiantai peak, which is regarded as Jiuhuashan’s most important peak, although it is not the tallest.

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History

Mount Jiuhua was called Mount Lingyang in Han Dynasty. It was called Mount Jiuzi (九子山) in Liang and Chen Dynasties of South Dynasties. A legend says that the great poet Li Bai of Tang Dynasty travelled here and wrote down “Magic is divided to two branches, sacred mountain generates nine glories.” (妙有分二气,灵山开九华). Thus it was named Mount Jiuhua.

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JiuHuashan is delicately beautiful which is located in the southeastern part of Chizhou City, Anhui Province. The gross area reaches 120 square kilometers, while the protection area reaches 114 square kilometers. Together with WuTai Mountain in Shanxi, Emei Mountain in Sichuan and Putuo Mountain in Zhejiang. Jiuhua Mountain is called one of the four great Buddhist mountains in China. In 719 AD, Kim Qiaoque, prince of the king of XinLuo (today’s Qingzhou city in South Korea) came to Jiuhua Mountain and cultivated himself for 5 years. He died at 99 years of age, his corporeal body stayed intact (image below second from left).

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Because he was very similar in appearance to Dizang Buddhisattva, the monks there believed Dizang Boddhisattva was reincarnated in him, as a result, Jiuhua Mountain became the place to hold rites for Dizang Boddhisatva. During the golden periods of the Ming and Qing dynasties, there were as many as 360 temples and 4,000 to 5,000 monks and nuns.

Mount Jiuhua was originally known as Jiuzi (Nine-Peak) Mountain. But ever since Li Bai, the celebrated poet in the Tang Dynasty wrote of the mountain: “Sailing down the Jiujiang River the other day, I saw the Jiuhua Peaks in the distance. Looking like a heavenly river hanging in heaven, Its green water embroidering cotton rose hibiscuses.”

The mountain was renamed Jiuhua Mountain. As number one place for pilgrimage, it was very famous in the southeastern part of China and became one of the great four Buddhist mountains. Since the opening-up in 1979, Jiuhua Mountain, with its abundant Buddhist culture and uniquely attractive scenery, has been enjoying a high reputation in southeast Asia, South Korea and Japan, which belong to Han-culture centered countries. It is of high influence power in the area of Dizang Buddhisattva and the large number of whole Buddhist relics. There are 99 peaks in the area, among them Shiwang Peak, Lotus Peak and other nine ones are the most beautiful. They enjoyed the laudatory of Lotus Country. Besides, Jiuhua Mountain is famous for its historic interest with more than 2000 historical relics, 500 poems written by famous poets through dynasties and 20 school relics.

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There are thousands of Temples scattered among the great four mountains. Jiuhua Mountain is the most beautiful for its charming, and it has a double crown as the most incense stick and candle and number one mountain in the southeast, being regarded as a sacred place by the pious men and women. The mountains of Jiuhua are all imposing. Ridges and peaks eagerly show their delicate beauty. Vegetation thrives. Waterfalls and springs splash. The climate here is warm and wet with 4 seasons being clearly demarcated. The natural scenes combining with artificial spectacles as well as the atmosphere of Buddhism have long since made Jiuhua Mountain the famous scenic spot from the ancient period in China.

Roushen Temple

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Roushenbaodian (Hall of the Treasured Body) is a very interesting hall dedicated to Dizang. One of Dizang’s purposes is to redeem the dead in hell and thus, he is often shown in the company of the ten judges of hell. This temple was built in the traditional Chinese temple style with an open courtyard in the middle surrounded by halls. The main figure of Dizang was in the back hall, with the judges in the halls to the right and left. At the top of the hill and behind this hall is the main hall proper, with its big courtyard facing south and the drum and bell towers on either side.

Renowned temples located at Mount Jiuhua includes:

Huacheng Temple

Ganlu Temple (Sweet Dew Temple)

Guoqing Temple

Dabeilou Temple

Lower Daxiong Baodian – temple located just below the second highest peak of Jiuhuashan.

Baisuigong Temple

Dabeilou Temple

Qiyuansi Temple

Roushen Temple

Tianchi Temple

Wuxia Monastery

Zhantanlin Temple

Zhiyuan Temple