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Home >> City Guide >> Hubei Province >> Wudangshan >> Mt. Wudang
 
 

Mt. Wudang

Mt. Wudang tour map
Mt. Wudang, Wudang tour China travel Hubei trips
Mt. Wudang, Wudang tour China travel Hubei tours
Mt. Wudang, Wudang travel China tour Hubei tours
Mt. Wudang, Wudang tours China travel Hubei tour
Mt. Wudang, Wudang tour China travel Hubei trip
Mt. Wudang, Wudang travel China tour Hubei trip
Mt. Wudang, Wudang tours China travel Hubei trip
Mt. Wudang, Wudang tour China travel Hubei trips

Mt. Wudang is one of the famous Taoist holy lands in China. Taoism, the traditional Chinese religion, originated from ancient witchcraft, necromancy, philosophies of Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu in the era before the Qin Dynasty .In the times when Emperor Shui in the Eastern Han Dynasty was on the throne, Zhang Daoling respected the Yellow Emperor as First Ancestor, Lao Tzu as Taoist Ancestor, consecrated Beginning God as the highest god. He cured illness with magic figures and incantations, and created Taoism under "helping and educating people with Tao."

The religious activities in Mt. Wudang were always very active in ancient China. Mt. Wudang area was under jurisdiction of the Kingdom of Mi in ancient times and was annexed by the Kingdom of Chu in the Epoch of Spring and Autumn and the Warring States. The area of Mt. Wudang, only 255 km from Jiangling ,the capital of Chu Kingdom, was an important town in the north of the kingdom. There was a custom in this area that people believed in ghosts and took ancestor worship seriously. Until now there are still numbers of tombs built in ancient Chu times left in the reservoir area of Mt. Wudang . The unearthed relics reflect that the ancient people in this area believed in ghosts and worshiped gods. These became the breeding ground f Mt. Wudang Taoism.

In the Eastern Han Dynasty, Mt. Wudang was under jurisdiction of Wu dang County, Nanyang Prefecture. Influenced by the early Taoism in Hanzhong Prefecture west to Nanyang, a religion named Five-dou-rice spread widely in Mt. Wu dang area. According to the history book, there were large sacrificial rites with 4 si and 36 gates in the area. The 24 si was a kind of religious installation with pits under thatched cottages, which was the embryonic form of Taoist terraces.

Pang Zhongpu wrote in his book "Five Thousand Years History of America" that a naked goddess statue with a bronze tablet in her hand was once found in a cave in Peru. Carved on the tablet were there Chinese words "Mt. Wu dang " with the style of calligraphy Lishu. It might be carved in the Epoch of South and North dynasties.

According to "The Annals of Mt. Taihe", in the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, when Yin Xi got Tao Te Ching written by Lao Tze, he resigned his jib and secluded himself in Mt. Wudang .In the Han Dynasty, the General Dai Meng took the advantage of gathering medical herbs for the emperor to seclude himself on Hat-dropping Peak in Mt. Wu dang .Other recluses included Ma Mingshen and Yin Changsheng who tried to make immortality pills in Mt. Wu dang .The residues neither stone nor iron left by Yin Changsheng on Hidden-immortal Crag have been existing up to now..

In the Wei &Jin Dynasties, and the Epoch of South and North, the society was turbulent, so Mt. Wudang became a spirit of heaven of the literati. Tao Hongjing wrote in his book The Jade Cabinet Records "Mt. Taihe was long and narrow extending from north to south. Many people seclude themselves in the prodigious mountains." The word " Taihe" comes from the book of Changes which has two meanings, one referred that there is a saying in Taoist scriptures " where there is Taiji, there will be mountains" Mt Wudang came into being so long ago that it has the vitality of Taihe that can create the world. The other referred that the spirit of Taihe is the interaction Yin and Yang, which has given birth to Heaven and Earth, and has formed humanity. Therefore the mountain where people learning Tao live is called Mt. Taihe.

In the Eastern Jin Dynasty quite a few people including officials like Xu Ziping, Liu Liang, Xiao Qishi and Liu Qiu gave up their family and office, came to Mt. Wudang practicing Taoist practitioners.

During the Sui & Tang Dynasties, Mt. Wudang had gradually developed into a holy land of Taoism. When emperor Tai Zong of the Tang Dynasty was on the throne, Yao Jian ,the governor in charge of military affairs in Wudang, prayed for rain in Mt. Wudang and really got it, so Emperor Tai Zong had Five-dragon Temple built. Converted from the former religion of Five-dou-rice, Taism in Mt. Wudang developed into a complete and sophisticated religion. Furthermore, from a folk religion it changed into an official one. In the end of the Tang Dynasty, Mt. Wudang was listed as the Ninth Fairyland on the 72 Fairylands of Taoism.

Paradises& and Fairylands are the places inhabited by immortals. It's said that there are 10 Grand Paradises, 36 Small Paradises and 72 Fairylands. The 72 Fairylands are famous mountains ruled by immortals by order of God, so many people attained perfection in Taoism over there, Mt. Wudang is located in the middle of China. Fair mountains, warm climate and plenty of plants and animals make Mt. Wudang suitable for traveling, living and cultivating one's mind. Therefore, it is an ideal secluded paradise of traditional Chinese. Mt. Wudang also attracts religious people by its unique geographic surroundings, mysterious natural landscape and long-standing cultural history. In China the period synchronized with the feudal society when religious changed from polytheism to supreme god worship, from tribe religion to national religion.

In the early and middle times of the feudal society, the political centers of China were in Chang' an, Luoyang and Kaifeng in North China Plain along the middle and lower reached of the Yellow River .The location of Mt. Wudang is just between North China Plain and the Plain of the Middle and Lower Reaches of the Yangtze River ,All these factors impelled Mt. Wudang to the Fairyland soon.

As the Ninth Fairyland, Mt. Wudang was the place were Zhen Wu attained the perfection in Taoism. Zhen Wu, also named Xuan Wu, originated from ancient myth and star worship. In the ancient myth, Xuan Wu is the Godin the North, that is, the seven clusters of stars in the North among the total twenty-eight clusters in heaven. The symbol of Xuan Wu is a snake winding round a tortoise. It's named xuan because of being in the north. It's named Wu because of having hard scales. The north represents water in the Five Elements, so Xuan Wu is also the God of Water. Mt. Wudang is in the south that represents fire in the Five Elements that Xuan Wu attained the perfection of Taoism in Mt. Wudang.

In the Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Zhao claimed that he united China under an auspicious omen of fire. According to an old saying that the opposite of fire in the Fire Elements, that is water, could bless the Song Dynasty. Xuan Wu, the God of Water, gained high esteem from the royalty. It's changed to the name of Zhen Wu under taboonand was conferred "Blessing Immortal" to bless the Song Dynasty lasting forever. From the former winding-snake-tortoise, Zhen Wu was also changed to a humanized deity---an awe-inspiring general. To support the change, the pedigree of Zhen Wu was compiled. It' said that in the period of the Yellow Emperor, Zhen Wu was born from the left upper part of Empress Shansheng in the Jingle Palace. When he grew up, he refused to succeed to the throne but got directions from the Ancestor Ziqi and came to Mt. Taihe. After 42 years of cultivation, he attained the perfection of Taoism, ascended to the heaven and was conferred Zhen Wu by the Jade Emperor. Then Mt. Taihe was changed to the name of Mt. Wudang because "Nobody deserves it except Zhen Wu." Taoism in Mr. Wudang had esteem by imperial family. The well-known Taoist priests such as Chen Tuan, Deng Ruozhuo, Xie Tiandi, Sun Yuanzheng, Deng Anzao anf Cao Miaoguan came here to build Taoist temples, put Taoist affairs in order, compile Taoist priests by imperial decrees, making Taoism in Mt. Wudang a new development.

Influenced by Han nation's culture, the emperors in the Yuan Dynasty also paid much attention to the belief of Zhen Wu. According to the legend ,in Kublai ( the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty) 6 th, tortoise-and-snake was found in the Gaoliang River in Dadu(the capital of China at that time). Xu Shilong, a government official in charge of history records affairs, wrote to the emperor to say that this phenomenon represented Zhen Wu, the God of Water, made its power felt.He also wrote that according to the production and water, they would surely be able to annex the Song Dynasty and unite China. So Kublai ordered to offer sacrifices to Zhen Wu. In 1304, Emperor Chengzong conferred "Xuantian God" on Zhen Wu. From "Immortal" in the SongDynasty to "God" in the Yuan Dynasty, Zhen Wu made a great leap forward in the deity order. Meanwhile the emperors in the Yuan Dynasty attached much importance to Mt. Wudang, the ascension place of Zhen Wu. Emperor Renzong was born on March 3 rd (lunar calender), the same birthday as Zhen Wu by chance .On every birthday, he would send envoys to Mt Wudang offering sacrifices and showing worship. From then on Taoism in Mt. Wudang had developed quickly and widened its influences to all around. History book told us that on each March 3 rd there were tens of thousands of pilgrims offering numerous sacrifices. The famous Taoists as Wang Zhenchang, Zhang Daogui, Ye Yunlai, Lu Dayou and Zhang Shouqing took the advantage to found religious organizations. They opened up hundreds of square miles land for farming and organized tens of thousands of Taoism followers. With its great influences, Mt. Wudang turned into a place where immortals cultivating their minds and royalty praying for nation's happiness .It shared the same fame with Mt. Dragon &Tigers, the holy land of Taoism's Zhengyi Sect.

In the early period of the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Di, the monarch of the Yan Kingdom seized the throne by force in the name of quelling so-called rebellions .He became Emperor Chengzu. In order to give a good name to his usurpation of the throne, Zhu Di claimed that what he had done was under Zhen Wu's tacit permission, that he upheld justice on behalf of Zhen Wu .In Yongle 10 th (1412), Zhu Di sent 200,000 soldiors and craftsmen to Mt. Wudang building Taoist temples, choses famous Taoists from Taoist temples throughout country to Mt Wangdang as chief Taoists. With both political and economic support, the biggest Taoist rite and organization in China were founded in Mt. Wudang. To protect Mt. Wudang, the emperor allotted several hundred square km mountains and forests in Mt. Wudang area as government mountains where felling trees was forbidden .500 soldiers were sent to protect temples, and officials were sent to manage religious affairs by the emperor. Mt. Wudang was conferred "Grand Mountain Taihe". The temples became imperial temples and Wudang Taoism became imperical religious. In Jiajing 31 st (1552). Emperor Shizong had Wudang Taoist buildings rebuilt and claimed to govern the nation with the spirit of Wudang Taoism. The royalties and other social power had so great esteem for Wudang Taoism that a lot of intellectuals came here cultivating themselves depending on Taoist rules. Among them were Zhang Sanfeng, Qiu Xuanqing, Sun Biyun and Ren Ziyuan who had profound knowledge and high attainment in Taoism, who worshiped Zhen Wu, took interal cultivation seriously, who was good at magic figures and incantations, and who emphasized loyalty and filial piety. Therefore, with the fusion of three religions, Wudang Taoism developed to its great prosperity. Mt. Wudang became the first immortal mountain in the world.

In the Qing Dynasty, because the upper class in the royal government took Religions Saman as their belief, also because of the special relationship between Taoism and Ming Royalty, Taoism got less attention. The worship of Zhen Wu avert deep into the folk people. Zhen Wu became one of the most popular deities among the folk for his lengegary capabilities satisfying people's desires such as bringing timely sunshine or rain, curing illness, dispelling personal misfortune and helping people make succeed in fame or fortune.

At that time, as the original place of Zhen Wu, Mt. Wudang was still famous among people in middle or lower class. The pilgrims increased steadily. Taoists in Wudang like Bai Xuanfu, Yang Changxuan, Zhang Jingming, Yang Laiwang, Wang Fumiao and Xu Benshan repaired temples with donations from the folk, and preached Taoism.

After the foundation of the People's Republic of China, the government persues freedom of religious belief policy. Regular religious activities continue in Mt. wudang. The government has also taken measures to protect the Taoist relics and Taoist buildings. Especially since the reform and opening of China, the new religious people in Mt. Wudang Taoism Associattion led by Chairman Wang Guangde have founded and consummated a lot of management systems which keep religious activities in order. The Taoism Association in Mt. Wudang has raised in mang ways more than 30,000,000 RMB repairing Taoist buildings overalland improving living conditions of the Taoists to a large degree. The Wudang Taoist Culture Centre(WTCC) under the administration of Wudangshan Taoism Association has developed and researched into Taoist cultural resources so that Taoist music, Internal Boxing, Taoist medicines can be inherited.

Wudangshan Attractions
Mt. Wudang
 
 
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