WuTaiShan

A World of Coolness 

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Manjusuri Bodhisattva Praise

"Wonderful Auspicious" is replete with great kindness,

Mother of englightened ones throughout the three periods of time, his wisdom is beyond measure,

His left hand brandishes a sharp sword that severs all afflictions,

And his right hand holds the blue lotus which reflects the mark of his virtue,

A peacock and lion-spirit act as his carriage,

Poisonous dragons and fierce beasts are subdued and become pure and cool,

The pure youth with the five topknots - this is a provisional manifestation,

Originally, he is tha happy treasury of the Thus Come One.

Homage to Manjusuri Bodhisattva of Great Wisdom, Who Dwells in The Golden World of Pure Cool Mountain.

 

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Manjusuri Bodhisattva's Precious Pearl

When Manjushri Bodhisattva was practicing the Bodhisattva way, he had never lied. Nor had he committed the offense of killing or stealing. In general, he upheld precepts strictly. How can we prove that he followed rules and never stole things? Once, he told other Bodhisattvas, "Ever since my initial resolve to cultivate, I have held the rule of not stealing. Therefore, my belongings will not be stolen by anyone. Not only no one will steal from me, even if I leave my most valuable things on the ground, no one will pick it up and walk away with it."

Some Bodhisattvas didn't believe him and said, "We like to actually experiment it. Take your most valuable thing and put it in the middle of the city gate, which is the busiest place. Leave it there for three days. If no one picks it up that will prove that your statement is true."

Manjushri Bodhisattva agreed, "Okay! Let's try it out." Thereupon, he put his most precious pearl (all Bodhisattvas possess many precious and valuable things) in the middle of the city gate. Many people passed the gate in the next three days and sure enough, no one had picked it up. Other Bodhisattvas then knew that Manjushri Bodhisattva had truly upheld the precept against stealing.

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Manjushri Bodhisattva

Manjushri is the eldest of the great Bodhisattvas and is foremost in wisdom.

"Manjushri, a Sanskrit word, is interpreted as 'wonderful virtue' or 'wonderfully auspicious.' Of the Bodhisattvas, Manjushri has the greatest wisdom, and so he is known as 'The Greatly Wise Bodhisattva Manjushri.' Among the Bodhisattvas he holds the highest rank, and so he is listed first, before the Bodhisattva Who Observes the Sounds of the World. There are four great Bodhisattvas: Bodhisattva Manjushri, Bodhisattva Who Observes the Sounds of the World, Bodhisattva Universal Worthy, and Bodhisattva Earth Store.

"Bodhisattva Manjushri dwells in China on Wu-tai Mountain, where his bodhimanda is located. His efficacious responses are marvelous beyond all reckoning. He became a Buddha long ago and was called Buddha of the Race of Honored Dragon Kings. After becoming a Buddha, he 'hid away the great and manifested the small', in order to practice the Bodhisattva way, teach and transform living beings, and help the Buddha [Shakyamuni] propagate the Dharma. His spiritual penetrations and miraculous functions are inconceivable." (DFS II 144-145)

"Bodhisattva Manjushri . . . is a very special Bodhisattva. When he was born, ten kinds of extraordinary events occurred, which show that he was different from other Bodhisattvas. Manjushri is known for his great wisdom.

"'But the Venerable Shariputra is also known for his wisdom,' you may ask. 'What is the difference between the two types of wisdom?'

"The wisdom of Shariputra is provisional wisdom, and the wisdom of Manjushri is real wisdom. The wisdom of Shariputra is the Hinayana wisdom; the wisdom of Manjushri is the Mahayana wisdom.

"What were the ten auspicious signs which manifested at Manjushri's birth?

1) The room was filled with bright light, brighter than the light which could be made by any number of light bulbs. The bright light represented the Bodhisattva's great wisdom.

2) The vessels were filled with sweet dew. Sweet dew is miraculous; drinking it will cure all the sicknesses in the world. Then, instead of having to undergo birth, old age, sickness, and death, you'll only have birth, old age, and death to deal with.

3) The seven jewels came forth from the earth. The seven jewels are gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, mother of pearl, red pearls, and carnelian.

"'Why did the jewels appear?'

"Manjushri had cultivated the Six Perfections and the Ten Thousand Conducts to such a high degree of perfection that in response, wherever he goes, precious gems appear.

4) The gods opened the treasuries. Manjushri Bodhisattva's great spiritual powers caused the earth to open up and expose the many treasuries it contains. This differs from the third, in which the seven jewels well up out of the earth. Here the treasuries were exposed when the earth opened up.

5) Chickens gave birth to phoenixes. Even more unusual than the gods opening the treasuries was the fact that chickens gave birth to phoenixes. Basically, of course, chickens only give birth to chickens. But because Manjushri's birth was such a special occasion, they gave birth to phoenixes.

6) Pigs gave birth to dragons. This is even more unusual than chickens giving birth to phoenixes. . . .

7) Horses gave birth to unicorns. . . .

8) Cows gave birth to white tsai. The white tsai is an extremely rare and auspicious animal. . . . It looks like a horse but it has the hooves of an ox. It is in a special category all of its own.

9) The grain in the granaries turned to gold. Do you think that is strange? Some of you probably think it is so strange that you don't even believe it. If you don't believe it, it's because you don't understand it. If you don't understand it, its no doubt because you've never encountered such a thing before. And so how could you possibly believe it?

"However, the world is a very big place and what we have seen and heard is extremely limited. Therefore, it is not strange that there are unusual phenomena which we have not seen or heard. When the grain turned to gold, it could no longer be used as food, but then just a few grains could be exchanged for a lot of food. . . .

10) Elephants with six tusks appeared. As we know, elephants usually only have two tusks. At the time of Manjushri's birth, however, they appeared with six. Is that strange or not?

"Those ten special signs appeared at the time of Manjushri's birth and represent Manjushri's rare eloquence in speaking all Dharmas. . . .

"When he speaks the Dharma, Manjushri does not discriminate among the dharmas. Although he does not discriminate among the dharmas, he, nevertheless, does not not distinguish all dharmas. The wonder lies right at this point, and that is why he is known as 'wonderful virtue'--Manjushri. . . .

"The six tusks stand for the Six Perfections (see Six Paramitas) and the elephants stand for the Ten Thousand conducts. . . ." (DFS II 144-149)

Source: Buddhism A to Z

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The reason why the Wu Tai Shan became a buddhist holyland has something to do with the preaching of buddhism there by Manjusri (bodhisattva of wisdom) and the fact that the mountain is quiet and beautiful, suitable for the building of temples and monasteries.

The chapter on the residences of Buddhas in the Avatamsaka Sutra (translated during the Jin dynasty) says that in the northeast is the residence of the Boidhisattvas. It is called Pure and Fresh Mountain. According to the sutra, Manjusri once resided and preached Buddhism with ten thousand Bodhisattvas in the mountain.

Budhist followers maintain that the so-called Pure and Fresh Mountain referred to in the sutra is Wu Tai Shan. They add that the faithful come to pray at Wu Tai Shan, where they can meet Manjusri. Ever since the Southern and Northern Dynasties many followers have come to Wu Tai Shan in an endless stream to have audience with Manjusri.

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Wu Tai Shan is also a center for the study of the Avatamsaka Sutra, in the early years of Tai He, northen Wei Dynasty the third prince of the emperor came to pray before Manjusri. He burnt himself alive as an offering to the Buddha.

Liu Qianzhi, a eunuch of the prince, also requested to strive for virtue by culture and asceticism. In Wu Tai Shan he studied diligently by day and night the same sutra. He wrote 600 volumes of commentaries on the sutra, which made the sutra very popular among buddhist followers

The biography contains another account of a certain shamen called Ling Bian of the Later Wei dynasty who entered the Pure and Fresh Monastery with the sutra on his head asking Manjusri for help in the study of the sutra. He Later attained enlightenment. He also wrote 100 volumes of commentaries on the sutra during his stay in the monastery.

A buddhist sect bearing the name of Buddha-avatamsaka-sutra became popular in early Tang dynasty. This sect based its belief on the sutra. The founder, Du Shun, was regarded as Manjusri incarnate who descended to the world from the Wu Tai Shan to preach buddhism.

During mid-Tang dynasty the head of the sect (in the fourth generation) Chengguan became the defender of the sect and completed works on the sutra. He spent long years in the Da Hua Yan Si on the Wu Tai Shan, where he preached the sutra. He wrote commentaries and explanations of the sutra in two separate works, regarded as the most important and influential of its kind. Therefore he earned the name of master commentator of the sutra. Because of his long sojourn in Wu Tai Shan, The Tang emperor De Zong bestowed on him the title of Pure and Fresh Master of the Empire.

Another version says that Chengguan lectured on the sutra of the Adornment of Buddha to the emperor De Zong, who bestowed on him the title since the holy canons could purify and bring freshness to his heart.
Chengguan took a compromising attitude towards problems of various buddhist sects \vhich prevailed during his time. This had a strong effect on the buddhist religion after mid-Tang dynasty.

By and large buddhism thrived in Wu Tai Shan, with Buddha-avatamsaka-sutra Sect enjoying most popularity. Chan Zong (sect) and other buddhist sects had certain influence in the meantime.
After the Song dynasty Chan Zong (sect) became more prosperous. The Linji Zong School among this sect thrived best, followed by the Caodong Zong school. Over a period of 1,000 years since the Southern and Northern Dynasties a great many temples were built in Wu Tai Shan, which became famous on account of the ancient architectures concentrated in the mountain.

Located in Wutai county, Shanxi province, Mt. Wutai is a famous scenic spot under state protection and is one of the country's four well-known Buddhist shrines and the only Chinese mountain mentioned in Buddhist scriptures.

In the mountain area, spring arrives in April, and snow falls in September, and even in mid-summer, it is cool and pleasant. Therefore, the mountain is called a "cool platform" and has been regarded as an ideal place for escaping summer heat since ancient times.

During the reign of the Emperor Mingdi of the Eastern Han dynasty (25-220), people started to cut into the mountain and build temples there. Construction lasted 1,900 years, sometimes busy and sometimes not. Today, there remain a total of 76 temples on the mountain, ranking first in China.

With a history of 1,200 years, the main hall of the Nanchan Temple on the mountain, which houses 17 painted figurines, is the pearliest wooden structure preserved today. Its eaves stretch out, and the hall has not a single column. Its outer appearance looks simple and its structure concise.

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Dscn1773(1).jpg (138981 bytes) Fogang Temple is famed as the light of Asian Buddhism. The temple's existing eastern main hall covering 677 square meters was built in the Tang dynasty (618-907). The painted clay figurines, 12 frescos, the writings on roof beams and the style of the structure are considered by authorities of ancient Chinese architecture as "four uniquenesses in one hall".

 

The Big White Pagoda for Buddha's Sarira, the symbol of the Mt. Wutai, is said to have been built there before the Emperor Mingdi of the Eastern Han dynasty. The pagoda, in Nepalese style in shape, has a base circumference of 83.3 meters and is 75.3 meters high. Inside the pagoda, there is small India-made iron stupa, where some remains of Sakyamuni are kept.

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The Xiantong Temple is the first temple built on Mt. Wutai. But the temple built in the Eastern Han dynasty had been destroyed, and the existing one was built between the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing dynasties (1644-1911).

Covering eight hectares, the temple has 400 halls, the biggest on Mt. Wutai. Inside, there is a pure copper hall cast in the Ming dynasty, engraved with fine patterns and bronze Buddhist figurines. On the sides, two 13-storied bronze towers, each with a height of eight meters, are covered with cast Buddhist figurines, carved patterns and various inscriptions. The two towers and the engraved decorations are also made in the Ming dynasty. The hall of Buddhist Scriptures in the temple keeps more than 200 pieces of Buddhist works. The temple also boasts other famous ancient architectures such as the Hall of Measureless.

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The Lingjiu Peak has the most luxurious temple - Pusading Temple, where Emperors Kangxi and Qianlong of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) stayed the night as recorded on imperial steles there.

Numerous temples on Mt. Wutai boast a lot of relics and have different features. In Luohou Temple, one can see the wonder of "Buddha appears amid flowers". Shuxing Temple has the largest halls and statues. Jinge Temple has gilded copper tiles. Bishan Temple is famous for its Burmese-made jade Buddha's. The picture of "Bodhisattva Sending Offsprings" at Nanshan Temple is done with fine skills, and the temple also has 84 frescoes engraved in the Ming dynasty. Youguo Temple is full of engravings, and has more than 1,160 pieces of carvings. Zhenhai Temple, which had Zhang Jia Living Buddha from Tibet as its abbot, has the finest Lamaist pagoda. Longquan Temple is famous for its three white marble structures: screen wall, gate way and pagoda.