Located at around 8 kilometers north-west of Xikou Town, Fenghua City of Zhejiang Province, Xuedou Mountain is 800 meters above sea level, featuring graceful mountain ridges, unique cliffs, tempting waterfalls, and deep streams. The mountain has a milky peak, while on the peak there is a dou (meaning hollow or hole). Water flows out of the dou, and it is as white as milk, thus getting the name of the Milk Spring. It is well-known for its serenity, magnificent landscape, and an abundance of greenery. Mount Xuedou Scenic Area was known as “a fairyland on the sea” early in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD. However it was not popular until the previous president of National Party Jiang, Jieshi promoted it heartly. Xikou is the hometown for this important historical figure Jiang, Jieshi. His family had Buddhism tradition. So when he was young he often went to Xuedou Temple with his mother. He loved its picturesque sceneries, and believed it was the most beautiful place in the country. Later on he built a mansion in Mount Xuedou, he and his family lived there once a while. He even had a plan to promote Mount Xuedou as second Mount Lu, but the plan did not come true, since he left mainland China to Taiwan after the civil war. Therefore, this place becomes more mysterious and interesting for tourists from China and abroad to explore.
The charm of Mount Xuedou lies not only in its picturesque sceneries, it also has held a high status in Chinese Buddhism since ancient times. Located in a scenic site, the Xuedou Temple has a history of over 1600 years and has cultivated numerous eminent monks. It is also the place where Monk Maitreya practiced his Buddhism, thus a large number of eminent monks and pilgrims have been attracted to Mount Xuedou.
Maitreya Bodhisattva is a very popular Buddhist figure in China. Maitreya is a transcendent bodhisattva，he will be the next Buddha in the Saha world. Maitreya means “loving kindness.” In Mahayana Buddhism, Maitreya is the embodiment of all-encompassing love. Maitreya, in Buddhist tradition, presently resides in Tushita heaven.
With big belly and jolly smell, he is a symbol of enduring humiliation, optimism and compassion. In Buddhism teaching, disciples should be like the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. All should have a broad mind, open heart, and great tolerance. The first priority for one who learns Buddhism and cultivates himself is to be patient and forbearing under insult.
In the historical record, there is an eminent Monk named Qichi (契此), who was the incarnation of Maitreya Bodhisattva. This monk lived at the end of WuDai period (right after the Tang Dynasty), and is most well known for his rather fat belly. Since he always carried a cloth bag, people began to call him the cloth bag monk. Unlike the stereotypical image of the strict and severe ascetic, Qichi was a jovial, good-humored man, but no less intelligent and thoughtful. He was loved and respected by all for these qualities. Often, others would ask him, “what is the true meaning of Buddhism?”, and in response, he would drop his bag to the ground. The deepest meaning of Buddhism is to lay down your burdens. Qichi took residence in Xuedou Temple, where he would spread the Buddhist Dharma to all those who came to him. To this day, Xuedou Mountain is regarded as the Holy Land of Maitreya. In honor of the cloth bag monk, statues of the Maitreya Bodhisattva are always depicted carrying a cloth bag.
Xuedou Temple was originally founded in the Jin Dynasty. For thousands of years, it has been visited by many people, and has produced numerous eminent monks. It has a high status and is regarded by the Buddhist circle in China as one of the ten most famous Buddhist temples together with the other nine temples, such as Zhongtian, Zhutianning, Wanshou, the Yongzuo Temple of Hangzhou, and the Jiangshan Taiping Xingguo Temple of Nanjing.
During the Tang and Song dynasties, Xuedou Temple had received 41 imperial edicts from emperors of several generations. So far, the temple has stored 5,760 Confucian classics granted by emperors, jade seals, dragon robes, dragon pots and jade Buddhas.
In the temple, the constructions are magnificent and attractive. Outside the temple, ancient trees are towering up into the sky. Among them, two ginkgo trees from the Han Dynasty can be surrounded by about five people. With exuberant leaves, the ginkgoes rise above the clouds.
At the back peak of Xuedou Mount, the statue of Maitreya Buddha is the highest copper statue of its kind in the world. The Buddha body is 33 meters high, the lotus seat is 9 meters high, and the base is 14.74 meters high. It completed at 2008, with exquisite workmanship. Having this remarkable structure, Mount Xuedou was officially named as the fifth sacred Buddhist Site, dedicated to Maitreya Bodhisattva. Now, the temple covers a landscape area of over 20,000 sq meters and has perfectly combined natural landscapes and Buddhist culture.
Since Mount Xuedou is dedicated for Maitreya Bodhisattva, there is a Grand Maitreya Hall in the Temple. It is really magnificent and dignified.
Qianzhang Rock Waterfall
In front of Xuedou Temple, there is a waterfall called Xuedou Waterfall, also known as Qianzhang Rock Waterfall. The water head is in the valleys at the south and the north of Xuedou Temple. The water of the Milk Spring flows into Jinjing Pool (which is an ancient pool developed in the Southern Song Dynasty), crossing Guanshan Bridge and pouring out of the cliff mouth.
The waterfall pours down from Qianzhang Rock. From the top of the rock to the pool, it is as high as 186 meters. At the half-way point, there is a huge rock. In spring and autumn, the rain falls down in a deluge but it runs into the rock at the half-way point and splashes in all directions right away. It falls like pearls and jades, and also dances like snow. Under the sunlight, it forms a rainbow, which is quite splendid. Xuedou Waterfall was well known by the whole nation as early as in the Northern Song Dynasty.
Sanyin Pond Waterfall
Sanyin Pond Waterfall is situated at 5 li north-west of Xuedou Temple. The water flows from Dongao Village (on Xuedou Mountain, there is a village of alpine flowers. With a beautiful and clean environment, the village is an ocean of flowers and seedlings) to the cliff mouth, forming one waterfall; it continues running down the mountainside to the foot, forming three waterfalls. As a result, it is called Sanyin Pond.
With a length of more than 1,600 meters, the pond can be divided into Shangyin Pond, Zhongyin Pond and Xiayin Pond respectively from the highest to the lowest. Shangyin Pond is highlighted by its quietness and danger; Zhongyin Pond stands out for its delicacy and cleanness; Xiayin Pond is well known for its superb beauty. Despite the positions of the three ponds in remote mountains and deep valleys and the difficulty of visiting them, tourists still visit in great numbers.
Miaogao Platform is also known as Miaogao Peak or Tianzhu Peak. It is the main scenic spot of the Xuedou landscapes. Although it is only 396 meters above sea level, it stands out against the mountain behind it. With the middle part bulging, three steep cliffs, and a gaping abyss down its side, the platform has a precipitous terrain.
In a narrow sense, Miaogao Platform refers to a platform of about 350 square meters. Standing at the front edge, you can look out on the natural sceneries of Tingxia Lake. On the periphery of Miaogao Platform, ancient trees and green bamboos are thriving so much that they keep the sunlight away. In addition, the clear breeze blows gently. It is an ideal summer resort.
Located at the south of Xuedou, Tingxia Lake is 6 kilometers away from Xikou Town. It is a large artificial lake, with a surface area of 5.9 square kilometers, an equivalent of West Lake in Hangzhou. The water storage capacity is as much as 153 million cubic meters.
Tingxia Lake is a good place to enjoy the landscapes of lakes, mountains, steep peaks and deep valleys. Tingxia Lake is a huge reservoir famous for its position under Yushu Pavilion of Xuedou Mountain and its location at Tingxia Village.
Tingxia Lake has wonderful natural sceneries. On the basis of unique peaks, deep valleys, high mountains and water scenes, interesting and attractive landscapes of lakes and mountains come into being. With clean air and high quality water, the scenic spot is also rich in fish, fruit and forest resources. Tourists can sail on the lake, and can also go fishing, picnicking and camping.
Naturalists and photographers love to visit the Miaogao Platform, Qianzhang Rock, and Qianzhang Crag with its huge, scenic waterfall in the region spanning 85 square kilometers. Mount Xuedou is also a national forest park, a really great place worth of visiting.
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