Friday, January 15, 2010

Mount Emei – Sacred Mountain

Emei Shan, (mountain) is one of the most renowned Buddhist and Taoist sanctuaries in China. The beautiful majesty of this mountain has caused it to be named Emei, "The most beautiful mountain under heaven." Visitors of this mountain are treated to several peaks, bubbling springs, cascading waterfalls, tall ancient trees and abundant flowers along the many mountain paths leading to the many scenic spots and temples that dot the mountain side from the base to the summit.

Mount Emei is one of the most holy places of Buddhism. Located in Szechuan province, it is one of the four Buddhist sacred mountains of China. The slopes of Emei Shan have been inhabited since as early as 10,000 years ago. It was originally a Taoist retreat, but became a sacred Buddhist mountain by the 3rd century CE. Extensive rebuilding during the Ming dynasty finally converted most of Emei's Taoist temples to Buddhism. At 10,167 ft, Mt. Emei is the highest of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China. The patron bodhisattva of Emei is Samantabhadra, known in Chinese as Puxian.

Sources from the 16th and 17th century allude to the practice of martial arts (Emei Wushu) in the monasteries of Mount Emei… being the earliest extant reference to the Shaolin Monastery as Chinese boxing's place of origin.

Shrouded in Mystery
”A place of mystery” has traditionally been the perception of many people concerning Mt. Emei and Emei Wushu monasteries. That is because the Emei Wushu has never been readily passed on to "outsiders." There is an old Chinese saying, "Shandong province has highwaymen, Hebei province has Wushu experts, and Sichuan province has the men of Emei chivalry." This means that these three provinces produce top quality Wushu talents. However, the Emei chivalry man is mysterious and is similar to the Chinese legendary Wuxia (Knight Errant) who like Chinese robin hoods performed only good deeds and keep their methods hidden from the eyes of the profane. A few of the rare "hidden" styles are said to still exist in and around this mysterious abode of Taoists and Buddhists.

Mystery upon Mystery
Throughout history, many strange anomalies have been observed on Mt. Emei. Mysterious lights have been reported in the area for centuries. In the dark of night, on the peak of Mt. Emei, you can occasionally see points of fluorescence flowing between the valleys… which are like lamps. This is traditionally known as the famous “saint lamps” in Mt. Emei. Some have attributed these occurrences to “Earthquake Lights,” a phenomenon that until recently had been considered folklore. Others have identified UFOs as the source, caused by the dense neutrino rays coming from the alien spaceships (and hence triggering the earthquakes!).

Recently, a mysterious apparition appeared atop Mt. Emei… an apparition many believe to be the Buddha. This is not the first time such an anomaly has occurred, however. Here is a traditional description of just such an event…

In the afternoon, at the foot of the Sheshen Rock, the surroundings are often full of pure white clouds. Suddenly… an aura with the color of red, orange, yellow, green, black blue, blue and purple extends within a radius of around one to two meters. It looms and shines in the center like a mirror. Back against the sunlight from the west, sometimes observers can find their own shadow in the aura as if they were facing a bright mirror. Even if many people are viewing it, or two individuals are hugging each other while viewing it, they can only see themselves.

This phenomenal spectacle of Mt. Emei is known as “Buddha Rays". These are but a few examples of the mysterious goings-on high atop Mt. Emei, Sacred Mountain. In 1996 Mt. Emei was enlisted in the world natural and cultural heritage by the UNESCO.