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Mount Wutai, China - Abode for the Bodhisattva of Wisdom (In Chinese)

Today’s The World Around Us will be presented in Chinese, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai.

The Wutai Mountain has been a Buddhist center for many years. And now a Buddha image has appeared on this mountain. This is an auspicious sign.

Delightful viewers, welcome to The World Around Us. Today we travel to the picturesque Wutai Shan, one of the oldest and the most prestigious Buddhist mountains in Shanxi province, China, home of the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, Manjusri in Sanskrit, or Wenshu in Chinese.

Covering an area of over 2,800 square kilometers, Wutai Shan literally means the “Five Plateau Mountain.” The name comes from its distinct topography, consisting of five rounded peaks topped with plain terraces: Wanghai Peak in the east, Guayue Peak in the west, Jinxiu Peak in the south, Yedou Peak in the north, and the central Cuiyan Peak.

The summit of the North Peak is called Beitai Ding, soaring up to an altitude of over 3,060 meters. As the highest point in the region, Beitai Ding is known as the “Roof of Northern China,” surrounded by mystic clouds all year-round.

The temples on the Central Peak are mainly Tibetan Buddhist Temples.

On the East Peak, there are temples of Exoteric Buddhism and Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism.

The temples here on the South Peak are for Pure Land Buddhism.

The temples on the West Peak are for Zen Buddhism. The temples on the north peak are also for Pure Land Buddhism. The Pure Land practitioners practice mainly by reciting the name of Buddha. Sometimes, we also meditate for a little while. In Zen Buddhism, meditation is the main focus. Before reciting the name of Buddha, we will read the Amitabha Sutra, or sing the Amitabha Chant. Then we circle around the Buddha statue and recite his name.

Together, Mount Emei in Sichuan province, Mount Jiuhua in Anhui province, Mount Putuo in Zhejiang province, and Mount Wutai are considered the Four Sacred Mountains in Chinese Buddhism.

Each of these four mountains is known as the sacred abode or place of practice of one of the four great bodhisattvas, namely, the Universal Worthy Great Conduct Bodhisattva, Samantabhadra ; the Earth Store King Great Vow Bodhisattva, Ksitigarbha ; the Guan Shi Yin Great Compassion Bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara and the Universal Great Wisdom Bodhisattva, or Manjusri, respectively. The Four Sacred Mountains are also reputed as the place where all sects live in harmonious existence.

What exactly resides in Wutai Mountain? It’s Manjusri Buddha’s belief and thinking. Why has the Wutai Mountain become a Buddhist center? It’s not just because of the beautiful scenery here and its prominent location. The main reason is that Manjusri Buddha had spent a few hundred years teaching in this area. And many people have accepted Buddha’s teachings.

Amidst the fantastic natural sceneries and tranquil spiritual atmosphere, Wutai Shan is home to many of China's most important monasteries and temples, making it an eminent destination year-round for Buddhist pilgrims as well as visitors from afar. Among these magnificent temples in Wutai Shan, you can see a big round white tower located amidst the sea of green trees, stretching well into the clear blue sky. It’s called the Great White Pagoda.

This monument is the symbol of Wutai Shan, which is said to have been built before the time of Emperor Mingdi, who lived in the first century Eastern Han Dynasty. Overlooking the cluster of the five Wutai peaks, the Great White Pagoda was called by our ancestors, “Heavenly Light Tower of the Buddha Land.”

The vast structure of the Great White Pagoda is considered one of the greatest architectural achievements in history. For example, despite its impressive height, it is able to withstand all kinds of weather conditions.

We are at the Great White Pagoda of the Tayuan Temple. There are over 100 prayer wheels under the base of the White Pagoda. This is the Great White Pagoda. It’s said that after Shakyamuni Buddha ascended, he left 84,000 pieces of sariras (relics). So people built 84,000 sarira pagodas around the world to store his sariras and make offerings. It’s the tallest overturned- bowl style pagoda. You can see that it’s big in the middle which looks like a monk’s alms bowl in an overturned position. That’s why it’s called the “overturned-bowl pagoda.”

The beautiful lotus- shaped base represents Shakyamuni Buddha’s robe. The big “belly” in the middle represents Shakyamuni Buddha’s bowl in an overturned position. And the umbrella-shaped top represents Shakyamuni Buddha’s hat, which we call “the canopy of flowers.”

Under the canopy of flowers there are 13 circles. The number 13 represents the highest spiritual attainment in Buddhism. If a pagoda has 13 circles, it means that it’s a pagoda with the highest spiritual level. In this pagoda here, there might be a big underground palace, within which is housed a piece of Shakyamuni Buddha’s sarira (relic). But since the Great White Pagoda was built so solidly, to this day no one can enter the underground palace.

For hundreds of years, the spiritual mountain has been among one of the places where Chinese Buddhism is practiced alongside Tibetan Buddhism (Lamaism).

Here, you can see many prayer wheels. The prayer wheel is an exclusive feature in Tibetan Buddhism. There are four big prayer wheels representing four seasons. After turning each one of them three times, you’ll be blessed with peace and safety all four seasons.

Across from the Great White Pagoda is the famous small pilgrimage platform on Dailuo Peak. On the peak of Dailuo stand five painted sculptures of the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, Manjusri, who guards each of the five peaks. Pilgrims have to climb 1,080 stairs in order to reach the temple atop the peak.

Where are you from?

Zhong Hou.

Did you come here just to pay tribute to Dailuo Peak? Have you been to Wutai Mountain?

I paid respects at Wutai Mountain last year.

Oh, you went there last year. So this year you have come just for Dailuo Peak.

Last year, I paid respects at 124 temples of different sizes.

Various rituals and religious ceremonies are held regularly during the season of pilgrimage.

Today is the first day of the “Dharma Ceremony of Water and Land,” held at the Puhua Temple. We have over 80 participants. Sometimes we have over a hundred. The name of the ritual originates from three words: water, land and air. Water refers to the beings living in the water; land refers to the beings living on the land; and air refers to the beings flying in the air.

In short, we call it the Dharma Ceremony of Water and Land, because most beings are living in these two environments. This ritual is a reflection of the compassion of the Buddhas and Bodhisavattas.

We will pray for blessings, for the release of souls from suffering and their liberation. We pray for the living to have blessings and less disasters. We pray to liberate the deceased, such as our relatives and past generations, hoping that they will get out of suffering and find happiness through our chanting and praying. We pray that Buddha’s light will bless everyone with health and peace.

Till today, the holy spirit of the Buddha still resides on the peaks of Wutai Shan. Some believe that the Buddha himself is resting between the Puhua Temple and the Nanshan Temple amidst the pine forest.

These are the Manjusri Buddhas of the Five Peaks. This is the Pure Manjusri Buddha of the North Peak. This one is the Intelligent Manjusri Buddha of the East Peak. This is the Lion Manjusri Buddha of the West Peak…

These are the Five Manjusri Buddha Statues. The Wutai Mountains look like five platforms. On the top of each peak stands a part of the Manjusri Buddha. Each peak has part of his transformation body. The head is at Puhua Temple, and the feet are at Nanshan Temple.

His head is pointing to the northeast and the feet are pointing to the southwest.

The back rests on the top of the mountain. And then there is a curve. You can see that Buddha’s head is at Puhua Temple and his feet are at Nanshan Temple. So he extends between the two temples. His head rests on the Puhua Temple and his feet are on the Nanshan mountainside.

“The Heavenly Mother bathes Buddha in golden light.” I think it refers to the rainfall in this Buddha mountain. It’s like God is giving a bath to Buddha. There is an ancient saying that goes, “You can't see the shape of Mount Lu only because you are standing on the mountain.” Why can’t we see it? It’s because we are in the mountain. We have to go to another place to see the whole mountain at a distance.

Studying Buddhism is the same. Everyone should try to find his or her true Self. We don’t know how powerful we are. We have forgotten our true Self, our great wisdom, and our power. Shakyamuni Buddha told us in the scriptures that all beings have Buddha Nature and everyone can become a Buddha. Therefore, practicing Buddhism is to develop ourselves on the inside.

The awe-inspiring beauty, rich heritage and the revered atmosphere of Wutai Shan reminds us all of Heaven’s limitless power and our own higher spiritual essence.

In Chinese history, there was an empress named Wu Zetian. She studied Buddhism and said four sentences about it: “The supreme method is rarely encountered in millions of eons. Now we are able to hear, study, and follow it; May we fully realize the Tathagata’s (Buddha referring to self) true meaning.”

It takes millions of eons to come across Buddha’s teachings. It’s rare to hear Buddha’s teachings. It takes good merit and good karma from past lives. So I hope everyone can keep faith and practice Buddha’s teachings to benefit ourselves and other people.

We sincerely wish that through our efforts in spreading Buddha’s teachings, people will be kind, families will be peaceful, society will be in harmony, and the world will be in peace. This is our shared wish.

Sincere viewers, we enjoyed your blessing presence today on The World Around Us. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television for Words of Wisdom, coming up next, after Noteworthy News. May Heaven grant all your noble prayers.

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