As one of the most important religions, Buddhism has profound impact of the Chinese culture and civilizations. Buddhist figures have also become common subjects for artists in the past. I like the massive paintings and sculptures of five hundred Arhats, it is really a brilliant page in Chinese art history.
The world famous master of Buddhism and art, Master Wan Ko Yee (H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III ) has also painted a few buddhist figure paintings. One of his painting “Venerable Da Li Won”, set the world record in Chinese art history of the highest selling price of paintings by a painter who is still alive. The painting “Venerable Da Li Won”, was sold at US$2,207,912.00 at year 2000.
Venerable Da Li Won, an Arhat, normally is at the one hundred and eight-seventh position of the five hundred Arhat. He is a guardian deity of Buddhism who protects living beings and vanquishes demons. This painting has a noble and sincere expression, an appearance that transcends the mundane. One can easily see that He is not of this mortal world. The depiction of Him in this painting is extremely lifelike. The delicate lines outline the powerful muscles of Venerable Dali, the veins and blood vessels of the whole body are clearly visible. The thin yarns surrounding the waist are as thin as cicada wings. The artist’s meticulous skills are truly extraordinary and superb.
The whole work has a graceful arrangement and conveys a mind-lifting attractiveness. It may seem that the rock and spring branches were casually painted with a small number of brush strokes. Actually, vast experience and profound calligraphic prowess were applied to depict them. Only through skills applied with a completely unfettered hand and mind can one reach this state of mastery in which calligraphy and painting merge. Venerable DaLi is extremely awe-inspiring in both spirit and form. It is absolutely a master piece that combines meticulous brushwork and freehand brushwork.
From Grammar school to Middle school, my sister and I went to a Buddhism institute in Hong Kong. We had karmic affinity to Buddhism. Although at that time we were not familiar with or understood Buddhism, nor did we devote much time to study Buddhism. However, our heart gave rise to joyous feeling every Monday when we entered the main Buddha Hall to chant sutras.
Our karma brought us to Hua Zang Si and we have been studying Buddha dharma under the guidance of La Jian 2nd Long Hui Rinpoche. Hua Zang Si abides by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III and Sakyamuni Buddhas’ teaching without the slightest deviation. The Ones of Holy Virtuous Ones and our Master are our constant role models; they lead by example. Their conduct is guided by Buddhist precepts and teaching. Their conduct has taught us and encouraged us a great deal.
We have witnessed a myriad of holy phenomena. The most inspiring and most gratifying event was that at Hua Zang Si we found ourselves in the presence of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, and had the opportunity to respectfully listen to Him expounding Buddha dharma and also received the Holy Water Sprinkle Initiation Empowerment from H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III personally. All these experiences further our faith in our studying Buddha dharma and firming our resolve to cultivate ourselves to benefit living beings.
Since then we have being coming to Hua Zang Si on a frequent basis to respectfully listen to the Dharma Discourse expounded by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, participate in every Dharma Assembly held at Hua Zang Si, take part in release lives dharma assemblies with jubilant heart and with the most sincere and pure heart we continue to participate in the weekly Meditation and Group Cultivation sessions at Hua Zang Si.
The Mediataion Session of Hua Zang Si is chaired by Gesang Yiqie Qupei Rinpoche. I have received tremendous benefits from attending the Meditation Sessions. It has allowed me to penetrate the truth of Buddha dharma, helped me to understand the philosophy of proper decorum to interact with others, taught me how to maintain a calm mental state by letting go of egotistic clinging. It also elucidated me regarding the corresponding benefit resulted from abiding precepts when we do our Buddha dharma practice. I have less and less scattered and idle thoughts. I am full of joy and I smile all the time. It has had a very positive impact on my daily routine and daily life. And I also discover those who are around me having also being influenced by my state of mind have also become positive and happy.
I remember during the mediation session on September 22, 2013, while paying attention to Gesang Yiqie Qupei Rinpoche’s dharma talk, I suddenly saw a ray of golden light appeared on the Rinpoche’s Certificate of Holy Virtue, right above her photo.
At that moment I did not believe my eyes, I turned around to investigate whether it was generated by the sun. I realized it was impossible for the Sun’s ray to reach that angle. I was stunned. Next moment it disappeared. Later on, however, the ray of light re-appeared. This time, two rays of golden light appeared and what resembled green leaf also accompanied the light. The scene is beautiful beyond words, and extremely auspicious. At that time I was so surprised and excited. I believe this verifies that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas were conferring the Buddha dharma propagated by Hua Zang Si is the authentic Tathagata Buddha dharma.
This phenomenon absolutely took place. The appearance of Buddha light signifies the propagation of correct Buddha dharma. Amitabha!
A group of scientific researchers conducted an interesting psychological experiment called “The Scar Experiment.” They announced to participating volunteers that the purpose of the study was to observe how people responded to a stranger with a marred physical appearance, particularly a facial scar.
Using Hollywood makeup techniques, the scientists drew bloody and gruesome scars on each volunteer’s left cheek, and displayed the new “scar” to each participant using a small handheld mirror. After glancing at their marred image, the mirror was taken away. The researchers’ final step was to inform each volunteer that some finishing powder needed to be placed on his/her scar to prevent it from smearing. In reality, the researchers used a tissue to wipe off the scar. But the volunteers still believed they had the awful scars on their faces. Each individual was sent out into the waiting rooms of different medical offices with instructions to notice how strangers responded to their appearance.
At the appointed time, the ten volunteers returned to the scientific researchers and all shared the same report. In their encounters, they noticed that strangers were ruder to them, less kind and stared at their scars. In reality, their faces were no different compared to usual. They came to such a conclusion because their wrong self-conception influenced their judgement.
This is truly a thought-provoking experiment. Depending on how a person sees himself in his own mind, he will experience the same reaction from the outside world. At the same time, this experiment also testifies to a Western saying, “Others see you according to how you see yourself.” Is it not so?
Enlightenment: The world of one’s inner mind determines the vision one has. Only you can decide how others look at you.”
The United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters Announcement 20170105
A great holy virtuous one wrote the following edifying discourse. It is very precise and wonderful, and right to the point. The arguments are not common, proving Him as a Shangzun of Gold Button Level 3! This Headquarters now publishes the original text in the following.
I will say a few sentences today. Originally all the dharma affairs pertaining to the passing of the Senior Monk Yinhai were supposed to be handled with me in total charge and a few dharma brothers including Mozhi and Tongstan assisting me, but dharma brother Wangzha asked me to let him handle them. As such, dharma brother Wangzha wound up being in full responsibility for arranging the dharma affairs including the one hundred holy dharma assemblies.
A lot of people are making their separate praises about the passing of the holy monk Yinhai but what they say are only mundane arguments about the greatness of the sacred incident and do not mention the fundamentals. Even the World Buddhism Association Headquarters only talked about what transpired in the process of the holy state. Some even uttered absurdly: “How come I had never heard about this venerable holy one? There isn’t such a person, is there?” Well, there are a lot of highly capable persons that you have never heard about where H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III is. For example, you don’t even know who I am! Do you know the names of every high-level person in the British royal family? How many are out there who have royal blood? How could you be qualified to know it if you don’t even have the composition of the royal blood!
Some even denigrated the world’s top-level Holy Monk Yinhai (Shengzun) by calling him a great learned one, a high monk, a great virtuous one, one with great achievements, or dharma master. Some say: “…his body laid open for a month after his passing, without being frozen. It was open for the public to get close to and view and people could chant and prostrate to it. Not only it didn’t give out any fetid odor; it instead emitted light and sweet smell. The body became very hard, proving him to be a high monk of a generation…” That is enough of praise to a high monk of the usual but is not the right thing to say about Senior Monk Yinhai. The holy manifestation by Senior Monk Yinhai is unprecedented in history. Why did they must use the words for regular high monks!
There are even those who are so stupid to say: “If Senior Monk Yinhai is a holy monk, why did he need to rely on people practicing dharma and chanting?” I tell you very clearly. Those people who were chanting could not compare to a single hair of Senior Monk Yinhai’s. Their chanting Buddha’s name and the sutras are to accomplish their provisions on the path by using the blessings on site given by the senior monk. How could it possibly be that the senior monk would need the people of five dirtiness and stinky skins like you! On the days commemorating Shakyamuni Buddha, Amitabha Buddha, or Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva for accomplishing enlightenment or obtaining nirvana, the ordinary people need to attend a grand dharma assembly where they can chant Buddha’s name, chant sutras, chant mantras, make offerings, return merits or pray. Would Buddha or Bodhisattva need those ordinary people to chant for them? Those common people get immense merits returned to them to enrich their provisions by practicing Dharma and returning merits to Buddha and Bodhisattvas on those holy days. In the Dharma Ritual of the Supreme GreatMaternal Buddha (Samu Baiching, 灑母白請), there is one sentence which must be said in the returning-the-merit part at the end: “I would like to return the merit of practicing this dharma to the Supreme Great Maternal Buddha.” Would the holiest Supreme Maternal Buddha with the wonderful enlightenment need the ordinary people to return their merit? So, for the same token, the senior monk is a supreme class holy monk in several thousand years. That is why those people chanting Buddha’s name and mantras could obtain the Initiation of Dharma Affinity by the Yidem (本尊法緣灌頂), which they couldn’t encounter in a hundred lifetimes of learning Buddhism, in such short holy dharma assemblies. That is the merit blessed and given to people by the hugely holy senior monk! Without the blessing by the senior monk on-site, you would not be qualified to receive the Initiation of Dharma Affinity by the Yidem, even if you were to hold several thousand dharma assemblies of the same kind. There are morning and evening chanting sessions at major temples, and there are a lot of people who have been to several thousand sessions of chanting or practicing. Why can they not get an initiation so high as this?
Those of you who practice Dharma, chant sutras, mantras, and Buddha names have less than one ten-thousandth of the merit compared to the senior monk. But because they practiced Dharma and made offerings on the holy day of the senior monk’s passing, they have received merits returned to them by the senior monk. What they received is tens of thousand times more than what they could get by chanting sutras and mantras, praising Buddha, or practicing Dharma in daily life. Only as such can you obtain the Initiation of Dharma Affinity by the Yidem, which you couldn’t encounter in hundreds of lifetimes.
Many said it correctly that the holy incidents by Senior Monk Yinhai cannot be completely described. But people do not know that Senior Monk Yinhai has only done one thing. That is, He told Buddhist disciples that, although Buddhism and Buddha Dharma have come to the very chaotic Dharma-ending Era and correct Buddha Dharmas have been lost, they still exist in the world as they always have. They were in the hands of the senior monk. But where did the senior monk’s Buddha Dharmas come from?
We offer the following three points for you to ponder deeply why Senior Monk Yinhai has only done one thing:
Senior Monk Yinhai proved to be a top-notch holy monk in the history of Buddhism;
Senior Monk Yinhai told us the pith of learning from Buddha and cultivating our deeds; and
Senior Monk Yinhai pointed out the source of the Dharmas for attaining his accomplishment.
Let’s talk about the first point. Over ten years ago, after the senior monk was persecuted to death but revived five days later by manifesting a holy miracle, the first sentence he said was: “You cannot have a slight bit of hurting behavior towards those who hurt me.” The senior monk only had the mind and deeds of great compassion and the Bodhi mind without any bit of hatred. When He passed away, He created a great miraculous transformation in his body, the first in the Buddhist history, ten days after his passing, changing from what used to be a bony, skinny and old face completely into one that was full, plump and majestic. Even the fingernails kept growing. The professional staff at the mortuary serving Senior Monk Yinhai witnessed it in person and testified to this unprecedented holy incident by the senior monk. With just this accomplishment, the senior monk is an unprecedented top-class number-one holy monk in the world.
Pitifully, his body had to be interred on the 32nd day, per the U.S. laws, with offerings made to.
Next, let’s talk about the second point. The verses which the senior monk gave Wangzha Shangzun says:
The holy and the sage have always been lonely since ancient times. Only the recluses could be known to the later generations. Do all good deeds, don’t do anything bad. Have great compassion, never become evil, never cheat I don’t belong to a sect. All my merits and good deeds converge into true Buddha Dharma. If you want to reach the apex of true Buddha Dharma Then take refuge in the Buddha’s School with me.
(The Buddha’s School is the religion of Buddhas in the ten directions and the true Buddhism transmitted by Shakyamuni Buddha. It is not the Buddhism that was altered by the different denominations in the later generations. The Buddha’s School directly comes from Buddha and is without any worldly lineage or divisional system.)
The senior monk tells us that cultivating deeds and learning from Buddha requires us to bury our fame and fortune, to abstain from doing bad deeds, and to do all good deeds. The best Buddha Dharma for cultivating deeds is the Supreme andUnsurpassed Mahamudra of Liberation. He led Wangzha Shangzun to pay homage to H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III as the master and to learn Buddha Dharma from His Holiness. The meaning of that is very profound.
Now the third point. The senior monk is the great achiever of the combined practices of the Supreme andUnsurpassed Mahamudra of Liberation and the Great Compassionate and Wonderful Sea of the Red Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva Dharma (大悲勝海紅觀音). The holy incidents before and after his passing proved to have broken the existing records of passing in the Buddhist history entirely. All the unprecedented, unthinkable, and world-shocking holy incidents by the senior monk came from the universal Dharma of Buddhas in the ten directions, which He had learned from H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. He realized these achievements by receiving the State Practice Initiation and the supreme Buddha Bestowing Holy Amrit Initiation from H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. He told Wangzha Shangzun: “If you want to reach the apex of true Buddha Dharma, then take refuge in the Buddha’s School with me.” That indicated that the source of his Dharma came from H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III.
A lot of the disciples of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III are famous high monks or Great Virtuous Ones, who have attained significant achievements. Some passed in rainbow light; some obtained freedom from death and rebirth; some left shariras after cremation; some people’s flesh never decayed; and some went to look around in the World of Ultimate Bliss first, returned to this word before raising in passing. Except for Shakyamuni Buddha, there was not another past holy one in Buddhist history who had established so many precedences. Cases in point include: High Monk Tonghui, Great Master Qingding, Senior Monk Puguan, Senior Monk Guozhang, Senior Monk Wuming, Senior Monk Yizhao, Dharma King Daxila, the Laymen Wang Lingze, Cheng E-Fen, Hou Yushan, Tangxie Lehui, and Linliu Huixiu. Still, their achievements can not compare with the unparalleled worldly accomplishments by the Senior Monk Yinhai.
The Senior Monk Yinhai has proven that H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III is the very source of the real, true Buddha Dharma in today’s world. There is not a second person who can stand close to His Holiness! The Buddhist Endeavors that H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III has accomplished tell of a practical doer who openly and singly destroyed evil arguments and established correct Buddhism doctrines and one who benefited all living beings altruistically. That is why we say that the Senior Monk Yinhai proved the highest and supreme Buddha State of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III by manifesting his great achievements obtained from his practice and realization. We can know from it that the Senior Monk has made accomplishments no others can compare to in the Buddhist history by destroying evil masters and cheaters and establishing true Buddha Dharma. That is because he demonstrated the supremacy of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III with His tremendous achievements through learning the Buddha Dharma from H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. That is the one thing the Senior Monk has done!
A humbled practitioner of self-cultivation
The United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters March 1, 2017
In this world, there are many sacred places that Guanyin Bodhisattva saves sentient beings. Some people believe it, others do not. What I want to say is that whether you believe it or not, these sacred sites have really existed.
Every time I participate in the “Pumen Ping dharma convention”(the Universal Gate chapter of the Lotus Sutra), I read these two paragraphs, I would sob. Because my family of 38 people have personally experienced the salvation of Guanyin Bodhisattva.
Forty years ago, due to war turmoil and devastation, my brothers, cousins and 38 relatives escaped from the embankment of Vietnam. The evacuation team included babbling babies, silver-haired old men, and handsome young men.
My family and I were arranged on three small fishing boats, and the big boat that picked us up stopped at the bay. The boat had a small space, and two rows of people sat on their knees.
The waves were very big that day, the boat was swaying, and the people’s hearts were also upset. Suddenly, a big wave came and a row of people stood up in fright. The ship lost its balance instantly and it was about to be destroyed. At this very moment, some people shouted: “Quickly call on Guanyin Bodhisattva”!
And he took the lead in calling on: “Namo Guanyin Bodhisattva, Namo Guanyin Bodhisattva …”
I also called on” Namo Guanyin Bodhisattva “. Just one phrase, I choked into the sea water, sank into the water, and then I was about to drown, and called out loudly again. I could not swim. The water was suffocating me and my body floated. After so many ups and downs, a rope suddenly appeared in front of me, I grabbed the rope and I was rescued on to the ship.
Later, I learned that some people were covered with gold bars on their legs, and they were sinking before they could recite the “Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva”, and 38 of our relatives and friends relied on the sacred name, the power of great compassion of “Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva”, so we survived.
Avalokitasvara, Guan Shi Yin in Chinese, means the Perceiver of World’s Sounds. The Lotus Sutra says: “Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, heavenly voice, the voice of the sea’s tide—magnificent, rich and harmonious surpassing all worldly sounds.” The bodhisattva always help all beings in danger and distress and is willing to bear the pain of all beings. If we hold the bodhisattva in our hearts and call on her sincerely, she will always respond.
A mighty eagle with sharp claws, and cold eyes suddenly descended from the sky. A white-flowered snake wandering on an ancient tree, before it had time to react, the eagle’s deadly claws had already penetrated deep into its abdomen, the snake instinctively struggled and twisted. The eagle and the snake looked at each other, their eyes full of unprovoked anger and the horror of death. The eagle roared ferociously with its mouth open; the snake also spit out his venomous tongue… The atmosphere of the picture is terrifying, tense, bloody, it makes people shudder and thrill.
This is a real scene shown in the Chinese painting “Ying She Dou”. The shape of the picture is thick and powerful, the composition is full and atmospheric, the coloring is extremely simple but vivid. The eagle and the snake were painted with fine, meticulous brushwork. Looking at the eagle: the towering wings are like mountains painted with thick ink, with an overwhelming momentum, and the pure scorched royal black is full of mysterious power. The accompanying withered tree trunk was painted with bold, vigorous strokes in the freehand style. It has the charm of a casual style together with the scholarly air and graceful ancient look typical of engraved stone seals. Unaffected, seasoned, extraordinary artistic skills are embodied in an image that simple lacks any sign of mediocrity.
After viewing the painting, in addition to being shocked, one cannot help but ponder the inner meaning of the painting. From the perspective of aesthetics and art: this is a masterpiece of Chinese painting with the spirit of symbolism. In most of the cultures, eagle is often a symbol of justice and righteousness, snake usually represents greedy, evil and malignity. The two parts are constantly fighting in world, and also in our mind kingdom.
The western philosopher Nietzsche once put the eagle and the snake as specific artistic images in literary works. He designated the eagle as the exemplification of wisdom and spirit. The snake, a creature living in the dark, acts as a symbol of desire. In his view, spirit and desire cannot be separated from each other, and although they are opposite to each other, they also depend on each other. Spirit connects with reality through body, and body enhances its own value through spirit. The high-end spiritual pursuit cannot be accomplished without the practical materialistic aspects of life embodied by the snake. On the other hand, a purely materialistic life, a rejection of the eagle’s virtue and insight, will only result in spiritual stagnation. Only through the combination of the two can human civilization continue to develop.
“Ying She Dou” is a Chinese painting that uses objects to describe people. The artist is H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. As a Buddha, he knows all the concepts of Eastern and Western cultures as well as the living conditions of all living beings. And his concerns and compassions for the fate of all living beings are incomparable. The painting represents the truth that justice will eventually triumph over evil. We should use the spiritual wisdom to watch our thoughts, and guide our words and conducts. In this way, we can bring out our best to each other, and together we could make the world more brighter kinder and happier.
Lifting the Pestle onto the Platform is the most direct and explicit testing mechanism to verify the difference between true and false Buddha Dharma, or true and false holy ones.
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III‘s physique and physical strength are unparalleled in the world. On December 23, 2021, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III in Holy Miracle Temple lifted the 437.2-pound Hall Guarding Vajra Pestle with only four fingers and held it for more than 13 seconds. PoShan WanXiang TaiZun (TaiZun is the highest stage of Bodhisattva) asserted:”Before Maitreya Bodhisattva enters Buddhahood, no one could lift the Buddha’s pestle in this Saha world.”
The video below shows H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III lifting the 437.2-pound Vajra Pestle, which even other strong men could not move.
Statement on a Pledge to Give an Award
Back to February 9, 2020, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III lifted 420 pound Supreme Holy Vajra Pestle. Tow disciples had made a ‘Statement on a Pledge to Give an Award’ on USA Today at March 27, 2020.
A Dharma Assembly for the “Lifting the Pestle onto the Platform” to assess realization power of Buddhist practitioners was held in the Grand Hall of Shakyamuni Buddha at the Holy Miracles Temples on February 9, 2020. We have personally attended the Dharma Assembly held for the exam, and also tried to lift the Supreme Holy Vajra Pestle. All the people there, including strongmen, took turn to show their physical power. Yet no one was able to lift the Supreme Holy Vajra Pestle at all.
To fulfill the criteria for “Lifting the Pestle onto the Platform,” one has to meet the standard of lifting his base weight, and then surpass that standard. One who surpasses his base weight standard by 10 levels, is a Grand Master of strength, World’s Strongest Man for Lifting the Pestle onto the Platform. Throughout world history, the highest level that any national-level or world-class strongmen, Great Bodhisattvas, or Tremendously Great Holy Gurus in any countries have bene able to attain was 30 levels above their own base weight standard On that day, the Holy Gurus set up a difficult situation that unexpectedly involved His Holiness Dorje Chang Buddha III in the resolving of the conundrum. Due to such a karmic condition, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III has set a world record after having lifted a 420-pound Vajra Pestle with one hand and held it for 13 seconds, surpassing His own base weight standard by 56 levels. It is simply impossible for any human beings or Holy Gurus to achieve that. That was a feat unprecedented in history. It clearly pointed to the fact that the intrinsic quality of His Holiness the Buddha is that of a true Buddha.
Yet H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III said: “I am truly humbled. How could t be said that I have the power of the greatest enlightened Buddha? I am just an ordinary person. Although I did what I could to lift the Vajra Pestle, afterwards, my hand was sore, and my back was sore. This morning when I got up, I could hardly lift 100 catties (approximately 110 pounds). What does this say? I am simply an ordinary person just like everyone else. Many people can surpass their own standards by 56 levels.”
However, all of us are of the opinion that except for a true Buddha, no body else has such holy corporeity and holy physical power. No persons or Holy Gurus are able to surpass their base weight standards by 56 levels. We pledge that if anyone can lift a weight at the base standard correlating to his own age and body weight, and further surpass their own base standard by 56 levels to break the world record set by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, we will award US$20 million to such as person who can break such a record. People from all over the world, regardless of their gender, race, or religious faith, are welcome to participate, and all will be treated equally. Show your power to get this award. We will fulfill what we pledge and we are willing to undertake the legal liability!
All are welcome to come to the Holy Miracles Temple in California in the United States and, with sincere respect and piety, lift the Supreme Holy Vajra Pestle that H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III lifted and held for 13 seconds. We wish that this will bring you magnificent blessings and auspiciousness.
Attention: WE have officially entrusted Dharma Master Zhengrui Shi of the Holy Miracles Temple in California, United States, as our entrusted representative in this matter to handle all the procedures regarding “Lifting the Pestle onto the Platform” If anyone can lift the Pestle at a weight surpassing the base weight standard correlating to his own age and body weight by 57 levels and hold it for 13 seconds to break the world record set by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, then we will execute our pledge and give out the award as per our statement above.
Mount Jiuhua (‘Nine Glorious Mountains’) is an important Buddhist site and natural scenic spot. It is one of the four famous Buddhist mountains, one of the first batch of 5A level scenic spots and one of the first batch of natural and cultural heritage sites in China. Mount Jiuhua is dedicated to Ksitigarbha (Chinese Pinyin: Dizang), a bodhisattva and protector of beings in hell realms according to Mahayana Buddhist tradition. At Mount Jiuhua you will emerge in the breathtaking nature scenery and profound Buddhist culture.
Mount Jiuhua was originally known as Jiuzi (Nine-Peak) Mountain. A legend says that 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.“ After that the name changed from Jiuzi to Jiuhua.
Mount Jiuhua has been a Buddhist Holy Land with over 1600 In 401 AD in Eastern Jin Dynasty, the monk “Beidu” from old India came to Mount Jiuhua to build temples and preach Buddhism. In 719 AD, Kim Qiaoque, a Silla (today’s South Korea) prince came to Jiuhua Mountain and cultivated himself for 75 years. He died at 99 years old and his corporeal body stayed intact. Because he was very similar in appearance to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, the monks here believed Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva was reincarnated in him. Hence, Mount Jiuhua became the place to hold rites for Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva.
Jiuhua Mountain is reputed as “the First Mountain in Southeast China” with magnificent peaks, murdering streams, bizarre rocks, beautiful waterfalls, seclude caves, etc. Here are some most popular attractions where you can have a better understanding of Buddhism or feast your eyes on the spectacular natural landscape.
The Incarnation Grand Hall (肉身宝殿)
With about 1300 years’ history, the Incarnation Grand Hall is the burying place for Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva – Kim Qiaojue. Hence, the Incarnation Hall is also called Ksitigarbha Pagoda. The hall is built on a high terrace with stone pillars, red wall, iron tile, white marble and “The First Mountain in Southeast China” (东南第一山) inscribed on the front door. In the Hall, travelers can view the seven-story wooden Ksitigarbha Pagoda with white marble base. Inside the pagoda, you can worship the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva with over 100 statues which is magnificent and solemn.
Unlike other Buddhist temples, there is a Taoist guardian as a Dharma protector in Mount Jiuhua. Skanda Bodhisattva is the chief protector of Shakyamuni Buddha, because Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva made a great vow :”If the hell is not empty, I swear not to become a Buddha”, that inspired Skanda Bodhisattva to come to protect the Dharma. But now in this Incarnation Grand Hall the Dharma guardian is the Taoist Wang Lingguan. There is a legendary story to explain why.
In ancient times, there was a great scholar who visited Jiuhua Mountain. He heard that the body of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva was enshrined there. Because he did not believe in Buddhism, he wanted to see if that was true, so he used a needle to pinch Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva’s corporeal body. As soon as the needle went down, the blood flowed out, he was extremely shocked, and hurriedly fled away…
When Skanda Bodhisattva saw someone disrespectful to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, he wanted to punish him. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva did not allow it, and said “Everything has cause and effect, so don’t harm him.” However Skanda Bodhisattva still used his vajra pestle to punish that scholar.
Ksitigarbha King Bodhisattva couldn’t bear it, so he drove Skanda Bodhisattva out of Jiuhua Mountain. Then the Taoist Wang Lingguan was called in as a Dharma protector temporarily.
Zhiyuan Temple (祗园禅寺)
Located at the entrance of Jiuhua Street, Zhiyuan Temple, first built in Ming Dynasty, is listed as one of the Four Buddhist Temples of Mount Jiuhua. This temple is composed of nine separate buildings – Linggong Palace, Maitreya Palace, the Great Buddha’s Hall, Bright Lecture Hall, etc. All the structures are exquisite. Inside the Great Buddha’s Hall, travelers can see the 12-meter-high Buddhas – Sakyamuni Buddha, Amitabha Buddha and Bhaisajyaguru Buddha, moreover, you can see Manjusri Bodhisattva, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, the Eighteen Arhats’ sitting statues. In the Depository of Buddhist Sutras, there is the precious “Tripitaka” (Qianlong Version), the only tripitaka in Chinese engraved by the official in Qing Dynasty. Walking around the temple, you can view a huge bronze cooking pot which can be used as cook for 1000 monks. If time permits, you can get up early to Zhiyuan Temple to catch the beautiful and misty morning glow.
Heavenly Terrace Scenic Area (Tiantai Scenic Area, 天台景区)
Heavenly Terrace Scenic Area is another must-be-visited area of Mount Jiuhua. Both natural and cultural sights can be appreciated in this scenic area. Tiantai Temple (alt: 1306m ), located in the Tiantai Peak (also translated as Heavenly Terrace Temple), is the highest temple of Mount Jiuhua. It is believed that Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva once accommodated in the temple. Besides, there are many other worth-visiting attractions scattered from the foot to the summit of Tiantai Peak, such as Ancient Lecture Temple, Huiju Temple and various kinds of Buddhist Nun Communities… Shiwang Peak, the highest peak of the whole mountain, is also located in Heavenly Terrace Scenic Area.
The best season is after the snow in winter, when the sky is blue and the light clouds surround the Tiantai Temple, like a flash of Buddha’s light.
Flower Terrace Scenic Area (Huatai Terrace Scenic Area, 花台景区)
Having typical features of granite terrain, Flower Terrace Scenic Area has the most magnificent and beautiful natural landscape and is regarded as the most beautiful place in Jiuhua Mountain. If you are a nature lover or shutterbug, don’t miss Flower Terrace Scenic Area. There is no temple in Flower Terrace, but it has peaks with different posture everywhere. Since the road is quite dangerous and it needs 5-6 hours to hike the mountain, taking caber way is a great choice to save your energy and time. Recommended sights of Flower Terrace Scenic Area are Tianzhu Peak, Luohan Peak, Ksitigarbha Well, ksitigarbha Boots, Manjusri Cave, etc.
Mt. Jiuhuashan owns the feature of subtropical monsoon climate and alpine climate. It is moist and rains a lot on the mountain with an average rainfall of 2400 mm and an average temperature of 13.4℃. The weather changes very distinctly at a high elevation – spring comes late, summer is short, autumn comes early and winter is long.
In spring season, it is cloudy and foggy and travelers who reach the top of the mountain can enjoy the spectacular sea of clouds. Moreover, it is windy in May which lasts for about 20 days. During April to June, travelers can enjoy azalea, peach, Chinese rose, camellia, peony, Chinese herbaceous peony, like beautiful painting unfolding before your eyes. Summer is the best time to escape heat from bustling city and enjoy the cool of Mount Jiuhua which has an average temperature of 23.8℃. The autumn season in Mount Jiuhua has about only two months at Jiuhua Street and only one month at Tiantai Peak. In the middle of September, the whole mountain is turning into golden and red which makes it the best time to appreciate colorful leaves and flowers. From the middle of November to late March is the winter season with 36 days snow-capped days which could be the crystal palace over the mountain. Each season has its own features and the most recommended seasons are from the middle March to Middle November.
Mount Wutai or Wutaishan is one of the five Buddhist holy lands in the world and the four famous Buddhist Mountains in China. For super charming view and rich culture of Buddhism, Mount Wutai was listed as the World Heritage Site in 2009 and becomes the National AAAAA Tourist Attraction. With an altitude of 3061.1 m, Mount Wutai is called the “ridge of Shanxi”.
Mount Wutai is located in the northeast of Wutai County in Shanxi Province. Since the mountain has five terraces or said peaks, so it got the name of Wutai Shan, literally meaning Five Terraces Mountain. Visitors can admire this world only Bodhimanda of both Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism to feel the rich harmoniously mixed religious atmosphere. Moreover, the amazingly gorgeous scenery in Mount Wutai will completely satisfied the tourists.
As host to over 53 sacred monasteries, Mount Wutai is home to many of China’s most important monasteries and temples. Mount Wutai is one of the Four Sacred Mountains in Chinese Buddhism. Each of the mountains is viewed as the bodhimaṇḍa of one of the four great bodhisattvas. Wǔtái is the home of the Bodhisattva of wisdom, Mañjuśrī. Manjushri has been associated with Mount Wutai since ancient times.
Wutai was the first of the mountains to be identified and is often referred to as “first among the four great mountains”. Therefore, it is also known as “Golden WuTai “. It was identified on the basis of a passage in the Avataṃsaka Sūtra, which describes the abodes of many bodhisattvas. In this chapter, Manjushri is said to reside on a “clear cold mountain” in the northeast. This served as charter for the mountain’s identity and the inspiration for its nickname “Clear Cool Mountain”. Its annual average temperature is around -4℃ with high-moisture air.
The bodhisattva is believed to frequently appear on the mountain, taking the form of ordinary pilgrims, monks, or most often unusual five-colored clouds. It is recorded that Zen Buddhist Master Xu Yun encountered Manjushri Bodhisattvas near Mount Wutai. Master Xu Yun, one of the most influential Buddhist Masters of the late 19th and 20th centuries, embarked on a long spiritual journey to Mount Wutai. He is said to have bowed every three steps of the voyage. In total, it took him three years to reach the mountain, the distance was about three thousand kilometer. He encountered several disasters on his path, one time he drowned to death, and was saved by the Manjushri Boddhisttv, who disguised himself as a beggar. The Boddhisttva empowered him with the great Buddha Dharma.
Mount Wutai is home to some of the oldest wooden buildings in China that have survived since the era of the Tang Dynasty (618–907). This includes the main hall of Nanchan Temple and the East Hall of Foguang Temple, built in 782 and 857, respectively. They were discovered in 1937 and 1938 by a team of architectural historians including the prominent early 20th-century historian Liang Sicheng. The architectural designs of these buildings have since been studied by leading sinologists and experts in traditional Chinese architecture, such as Nancy Steinhardt. Steinhardt classified these buildings according to the hall types featured in the Yingzao Fashi Chinese building manual written in the 12th century.
Great White Pagoda
Situated in Tayuan Temple, the iconic building of Mount Wutai is the Great White Pagoda, with a height of 56.4 meters and a pure white body. It was first built in 1301 AD. There are more than 200 copper bells hanging on the top of the tower, and the sound is crisp when the wind blows. Inside the Great White Pagoda, there are many Buddha statues, and the most sacred thing is the carving footprint of Sakyamuni Buddha. Many monks and ordinary people come to bow in worship of them. There is a small white pagoda to the east of the white pagoda. According to legend, this pagoda contains the blond hair left by Manjushri Bodhisattva when he appeared, so it is also called the Manjusri hair tower. The Book Collection Pavilion is located on the north side of the Great White Pagoda.
Xiantong Temple is the largest and oldest temple in Mount Wutai. It is also the earliest temple in China along with White Horse Temple in Luoyang. The temple is located in the central area of Mount Wutai. The Mahavira Hall of Xiantong Temple is the main place for Buddhist activities. The statues of Sakyamuni, Amitabha and Medicine Buddha are enshrined in the hall. The Infinite Hall is a brick structure, and there is a bronze-cast Pilu Buddha enshrined in the hall. There are no beams in the hall, and the shape is very unique and has high artistic value. The Bronze Hall is a bronze building with tens of thousands of small Buddha statues, which are rare copper cultural relics. In the bell tower in front of Xiantong Temple, there is the largest bronze bell on Mount Wutai, the Changming Bell. The surface of the bell is engraved with a Buddhist scripture in regular script with more than 10,000 characters.
Bodhisattva Peak Monastery
Bodhisattva Peak Monastery is the largest and most complete Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Mount Wutai. It is the main site of the Gelug Sect Religion Dharma Festival from the fourth to the fifteenth day of the sixth lunar month every year. During this time, you can see the grand occasion of the “suppressing demons” by the lamas. . There are Tianwang Hall, Sakyamuni Hall, and Bodhisattva Hall in the temple. Because the emperors of all dynasties have climbed the top of the Bodhisattva Peak, there are many steles and plaques inscribed by the kings in the temple. In the passage hall and the backyard of the east courtyard, there are two white marble steles with four prisms. The four sides of the stele are engraved with inscriptions written in four languages: Chinese, Mongolian, Manchu and Tibetan, all of which were handwritten by Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty.
From a legend, a son of Emperor Kangxi became a monk in Bodhisattva Peak Monastery and the emperor specially permitted the design with glazed tiles. All the buildings are designed with three colored glazed tiles.
East Terrace with 2795 m above the sea looks like a standing elephant in a distance. And this peak is the best place for viewing the sunrise and sea clouds. The best time for this extraordinary scenic observation is summer. On a warm sunny morning, the eastern sky appears like a sea, and at the end of the cloud sea, the flaming red rising sun spurts out and lights the sky into orange. That is really vigorous and beautiful!
Last weekend I visit my friends in Los Angeles. For lunch, we decided to go to a vegetarian buffet, the aptly named Sweet Veggie. It wasn’t fancy, but it was very clean and neat, with a warm and soft feeling. The food was absolutely delicious. I’d never seen so many vegetarian dishes! Turns out, the owner had a garden growing all the vegetables served in the restaurant. The best food comes from the freshest ingredients, after all.
Besides the welcoming mood and quality food, this charming little place had one more thing up its sleeves – or rather, on its tables. Under each glass table cover, there is a short story in both Chinese and English. They are all quite touching, and I think they are worth sharing.
The True Story of a Grateful Whale
If you read the front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday, Dec 15, 2005, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines.
The fifty-foot whale was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her tail, her torso and a line tugging in her mouth.
A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallone Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her – a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.
They worked for hours with curved knifes and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. she then came back to each every diver, one at a time and nudged them, pushed them gently around – she thanked them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says that her eye following him the whole time, and he will never be, and he will never be the same.
May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate and be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.
Once there were two brothers working and living together on their farm. The oldest one of them was married with a large family and the younger one was single. At the end of every day, the two brothers share everything equally, produce and profit and anything they get from the farm.
Then one day the younger brother said to himself, “it’s not fair that we should share equally the produce and the profit. I’m alone and my needs are simple.” So, each night he took a sack of grain from his bin and crept across the field between their houses, dumping it into his brother’s bin.
Meanwhile, the married brother said to himself, “it’s not fair that we should share the produce and the profit equally. After all, I’m married, and I have my wife and my children to look after me for years to come. And my brother has no one, and no one to take care of his future.” So each night he took a sack of grain and dumped into his single brother’s bin.
This continued for years and both of them were puzzled in light of the fact that their supply of grain never dwindled. Then at one very dark night the two brothers bumped into each other. Gradually it occurred to them what was going on. They dropped their sacks and hugged each other.