Mount Emei In Sichuan Province.
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Mount Emei (an elevation of 3,099 meters), located 165 kilometers from Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, draws the most attention for its 154.-kilometer spread, attracting tourists since ancient times with phenomenal views all the year round. Its highest peak, the Wanfo Summit 万佛顶, starts at 500 meters above sea level and rises to 3,099 meters above sea level, giving it a remarkable variation of temperatures. Therefore as the saying goes, four seasons co-exist on one mountain, where the temperature of one place is different from another only five kilometers away. Indeed, in March when flowers bloom at its base, Mount Emei’s Peak is still thick with snow. In summer, it is scorching hot at the foot but comfortably cool higher up. The seasons each bring its own stunning beauty to Mount Emei. The azaleas of springtime are brilliantly red 春天是山花烂漫，处处锦绣， while summer is lush and verdant because of the trees and grass 夏天是云烟缥缈，蓊郁清凉。In autumn, the mountain is decorated by autumnal leave 秋天是层林尽染，姹紫嫣红，only to be blanketed in Winter by fresh white snowfall 冬天是玉树银花，瑶峰琼壑. Ancient temples, trees and mountain slopes are all covered with snow. The snow can absolutely dazzle tourists. Bitter cold hardens it into ice, turning the trees into “ice flowers.” A local story about how Mount Emei got its present name reflects the legendary stature of the beauty and romance of the mountain. Emei is a poetic term for “beautiful women.” Legend has it that there was a Temple outside the west gate of the town where a monk gave shelter at one time to a painter. The painter repaid his kindness with four pictures, each of which had an elegant, and lovely young girl on it. The painter told the monk the paintings must remain in a trunk for 49 days after his departure. But the monk, too impressed to give attention to the painter, hung them on the wall immediately. When the monk returned that evening, he was shocked to See four girls giggling away in the hall, the pictures now completely blank. As the monk realized that they had leaped from the portrait, the girls ran out of the room. Giving chase, he was only quick enough to hold the skirt of the youngest girl who, in desperation, escaped his clutches by changing into a mountain peak. The other three, hating to abandon her, did likewise, which explains why Mount Emei had three peaks close together and a fourth standing a little distance apart.
Mount Emei is more than a big hill to many people. It can also be a frame of mind, and not just because looking up at its monumental heights forces tourists to recognize their smallness. For centuries, the Chinese people have believed nature has a mysterious influence on man’s character, and mountains supremely exemplify nature. Mixed up with this Tradition was the ancient folk belief that mountains were the magical habitants of immortals.
Like the three ot6her sacred mountains—Wutai Mountain, in Shanxi Province, Jiuhua Mountain in Anhui Province, and Putuo Mountain in Zhejiang Province—Mount Emei’s sacred character has been thoroughly institutionalized by many temples on its mountain slopes. Buddhism arrived on Mount Emei some 2,000 years ago and left behind more than 30 temples, including over 10 that represent a unique Mount Emei style.
Emei is a famous mountain in the southwestern part of Sichuan Province. Here it symbolizes the mountainous areas of Sichuan, the last refuge of the Chiang Kai-shek ruling clique in the War of Resistance Against Japan from 1937 to 1945.
The Baoguo Temple (an elevation of 550 meters) 报国寺
At its foot, was built in the period 1573 to 1620 during the Ming Dynasty and was reconstructed during the reign of Emperor Kangxi (1662-1722). Typical of the temples on Mount Emei, it has a courtyard adorned with a flower nursery, garden and pavilions. The Mount Emei Buddhism Association is located there, and major religious activities are held without its walls. In the Temple grounds is a 7-meter high, 14-storey bronze tower engraved with more than 4,700 Buddhist figures and the Huayan Sutras in full. The most treasured relic of the Temple is a large porcelain statue of Buddha, which sits at 2.4 meters tall. Made in 1415 in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in Jingdezhen of Jiangxi Province—known as the capital of porcelain (chinaware) in the country—the Buddha looks alive, bright, and shining.
The Qingyin (Pure Sound) Pavilion (an elevation of 710 meters) 清音阁
About 15 kilometers up from Baoguo Temple stands the Qingyin Pavilion surrounded by green cliffs. It was built in the 4th century and is one of the scenic spots at Mount Emei. The Black Dragon and White Dragon streams flow rapidly on either side, spanned by two parallel arched bridges. The turbulent waters of the two “dragons” streams merge below the pavilion to crash against a huge rock shaped as ox heart—hence the ox heart rock—and roar thunderously, sending spume into the air to form a cloud of mist which. appears as a rainbow in the sun. A narrow plank pathway squeezes its way between two sheer precipices, while beneath it the crystal-clear Black Dragon Stream gurgles down the narrow valley. Overhanging vine-covered cliffs nearly meet above, revealing only what is called “A Strip (Ray of Swath) of Heaven 一线天”
Hongchunping 洪椿坪 (an elevation of 1,120 meters) (千佛庵)
Proceed for another ten kilometers up, tourists will reach Hongchunping (an elevation of 1,120 meters), a mountain glen with deep-forested woods, and bamboo groves. A drizzle is common here in early morning, the air is refreshing, and the place is an ideal retreat from summer heat, Scenery along the path as tourists climb over brooks and along mountain paths will often remind them of a landscape painting.
Fairy Peak Temple 仙峰寺
Fairy Peak Temple (an elevation of 1,752 meters) boasts a rare plant whose white blossom with two slender petals resembling the wings of a dove gives it the name “dove tree.” Beside Fairy Peak Temple is a cave large enough for some ten thousand people if they crowd in. The Temple is located at an elevation of over 1,700 meters.
Elephant’s Bathing Pool 洗象池
Another fourteen kilometers’ ascent brings tourists to Elephant’s Bathing Pool (an elevation of 2,070 meters), so named from the legend. When Puxian or Samntabhabra or the Bodhisattva of Universal Benevolence 普贤 (the protector of the mountain) mounted the Golden Summit on an elephant; He stopped here to wash his mount. Moonlight filtering through the dense foliage here casts a lace-like pattern of light on the mirror-smooth pool and is especially enchanting and magnificent. Standing side by side with Wenshu, Puxian is the right attendant of Sakyamuni, founder of Buddhism. Mount Emei in Sichuan Province has been known as the place where he gained enlightenment. He is often shown riding on an elephant. The mountain slopes around Elephant Bathing Pond are the haunt of monkeys, often-unexpected companions on tourists’ walks around. Little beggars that they have become, they may extend a palm for food. If tourists show their empty hands they usually let the matter go, but sometimes an insistent monkey will seize the tourist by the coat. To ensure their protection the local government supplies food for them each year. It is said that there are 38 Taoist temples still in existence in China, and Zhang (Dao) Ling张(道) 陵 (34-154) is credited as the founder of Taoism in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220).
Golden Summit 金顶
The magnificent view offered by the 3,077-meter-high Golden Summit, pinnacle of Mount Emei, is well worth the climb. From here the visitor can enjoy overlapping mountains far and near, the Minjiang 岷江, Qingyi 青衣江 and Dadu 大渡河 rivers resembling jade belts winding through the valleys, and towering snow-capped mountains whose peaks are indistinguishable from the sky. Dawn and the morning star generally See that clouds gradually gather and redden in the east. Then suddenly fiery bright clouds part and the sun burst forth to begin the day. The mountains are instantly bathed in sunlight and crimson clouds fill the sky. By afternoon the sun’s rays penetrate the clouds and form a circle of violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red lights. On the mountaintop, tourists feel as though caught in the circle, which moves with their shadow. This is the famous Emei “Buddha’s halo佛光” or “precious light祥光”, which is sunlight deflected by the mist. This “precious light” is Mount Emei’s most splendid wonder and chief talking point. Sunrise, Buddha’s halo or precious light and sea of clouds are the three wonders (marvelous spectacles) of Mount Emei. 日出，（祥光）和云海是峨嵋三奇
The Fuhu Temple 伏虎寺
The Fuhu Temple (an elevation of 630 meters) is Mount Emei’s largest Temple for nuns and is surrounded with ancient trees. Yet because falling leaves are never found on its roof, it has been dubbed “the Temple without dirty objects.” The Temple was first built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and rebuilt in 1651 during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
The Wannian Temple 万年寺
The Wannian (Ten-Thousand-Year) Temple (an elevation of 1,020 meters) was built during the Jin Dynasty (265-420), and is believed to be the oldest monastery on the mountain. The mountain’s patron saint, Puxian (Samantabhadra) standing side by side with Wenshu (the Bodhisattva of Wisdom), Puxian, or the Bodhisattva of Universal Benevolence is the right attendant of Sakyamuni. Mount Emei in Sichuan Province has been known as the place where he gained enlightenment. He is often shown riding on an elephant, is honoured here in the most religious building at Mount Emei, a square brick hall surmounted by a stupa-decorated dome. The hall is composed of brick and stone only, enclosing a magnificent bronze statue of Puxian and his mount, a six-tusked elephant with its feet planted in lotuses. At least three disastrous fires have demolished the Wannian Temple since the statue, one of Mount Emei’s best-known Buddhist statues, was wrought in the 10th century during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Each time, though the 62-ton statue has escaped unscathed. Tourists love Mount Emei for its four celebrated visas on its Golden Summit: Sunrise, Sunset, the Sea of Clouds and Buddha’s Aureole (halo)佛光(a luminous radiance surrounding the whole figure in paintings of the saviour and sometimes of the Saints).On rare afternoons, a phenomenon known as Buddha’s Aureole rainbow rings, produced by refraction of water particles, attach themselves to a person’s shadow in a cloudbank below the summit. Devout Buddhists, believing it to be a call from yonder, often jumped off the Cliff of Self-Sacrifice, so during the Ming and Qing dynasties, officials set up iron poles and chain railings to prevent suicides. Today, with hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting, Mount Emei is hardly a scene of solitude. But for all that, the hike, which takes tourists to two days, offers its share of beautiful views. Fir trees, pines and cedars clothe the slopes, and lofty crags, cloud-kissing precipices, butterflies and azaleas together form a nature reserve of sorts. Mount Emei is home to over 3,200 kinds of plants, 1,600 of which have medicinal value. Many of the plants are endangered, including the dove tree and the ginkgo trees. The rich variety of trees creates an ideal habitat for animals. Mount Emei boasts over 2,300 species of animals, 29 of which enjoy state-level protection, including the giant panda, lesser panda, and monkey. The state and tourists protect the monkeys of Mount Emei, famed for their intelligence. To create a venue where people can interact with them, Mount Emei Management Committee invested more than one million yuan (US $ 120,000) to build a 10-hectare special monkey preserve, with pavilions, sightseeing platforms and a 400-meter plant walkway. Only 750 meters above sea level, the preserve is easily accessible by normal public transport facilities. Locals advise tourists to show their empty palms to monkeys to avoid their extortion for food, but most tourists want to feed the adorable beggars.
Wannian Temple boasts a rare species of frog that can make sounds similar to that of a zither. A local legend continues that the frogs were transformed from four beautiful fairy maidens who were drawn to the Temple by the enlightening preaching of an eminent monk there. If tourists are lucky enough they will hear the frogs’ melodious singing in a pond with blossoming lotuses in the temple, which is considered a rare treat for tourists.
UNESCO inscribed Mount Emei with the Giant Buddha of Leshan on the World Heritage List in 1996.
Tourists usually reach Mount Emei via Chengdu, which is an hour and a half bus ride at the foot of the mountain for 90 minutes to reach the Jieyin Temple (an elevation of 2,640 meters) 接引殿. There, they ride a chair lift to the Golden Summit金顶, 3,099 meters above sea level. That chairlift, at 1,168 meters long, is the longest and highest in China.
Training Assistant Priests for Monkhood in Mount Emei - 峨眉山首届传戒大法会
Mount Emei held more than 10 grand summons ceremonies during the 34 days from March 18 to April 20, 2001 to train assistant priests for monkhood. The first of their kind since the Qing Dynasty the ceremonies were approved by the China Buddhist Association and met the requirements of external Buddhist exchanges. According to the Mount Emei Management Committee, 700 monks from different parts of the country, including Taiwan, as well as more than 1,000 lay Buddhists; attend the ceremonies, which are considered to be the most solemn in Buddhism. One of the country’s four sacred Buddhist Mountains, Mount Emei has been included on the World’s Natural and Cultural Heritage List of UNESCO. Encompassing 154 square kilometers, Mount Emei, where Buddhism had its debut about 2,000 years ago, has 28 temples and more than 300 monks and nuns. As well as its Buddhist legacy, Mount Emei has wooed a multitude of tourists since ancient times with its phenomenal views in every season.