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Wutai Mountain

Wutai Mountain (Five Terrace Mountain), located between Beijing and Inner Mongolia in Shanxi Province, is one of China's four sacred Buddhist mountains, along with E'mei Mountain, Jiuhua Mountain and Putuo Mountain.

The five peaks of Wutai Mountain represent the Buddha's crown, the five Buddha families, the five wisdom lights, the five viscera organs, and the five elements with the northern peak reaching over 10,000ft high. The tallest of these peaks is the northern peak, that is 3058 meters above sea level, making it the largest in the north of China.

There are also many extremely powerful caves on Wutai Mountain. There is the Vimilimitra Cave, Manjushri Cave, Samantabhadra Cave, an Avolokitshvara Cave where the 6th Dalai Lama spent six years in meditation and most powerful of all is the Mother Buddha Vajrayogina Tara Cave.

Wutai Mountain and the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri are the subject of countless Buddhist scriptures, sutras and tantras. Mahayana Buddhism began arriving on Wutai Mountain as early as the first century Han Dynasty and temple building began as early as 25AD which continues to this day. By the fourth to sixth centuries there were over 200 temples and during the Tang Dynasty 700AD China's Chan Buddhism became the most prolific form of Buddhism in the Far East.

The valley that the five peaks of Wutai Mountain surround is centered upon a small village, Taihuai. There are many temples in this area, many of them dedicated to the worship of the Yellow Hat Sect of Tibetan Buddhism (Gelukpa). South of town are four or five temples, including the sloped heights of the Nanshan Temple, the beautiful environs of the Zhenhai Temple and the more distant Dragon Spring Temple, with its beautiful marble entranceway. Not far north of the village lie three further temples, the highest, the Bishan Temple, is a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD) complex that contains some interesting sculptures.


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