Mt. Wudang, China’s Biggest Taoist Centre

Daoist centre in Mt. Wudang

Mt. Wudang, the Biggest Taoist Hub in China

Taoist temples began to appear in Mt Wudang since Lao Tzu and Confucius time 2,500 years ago.

But Mt. Wudang was developed into a Daoist hub hundreds years later during the Weijin South North Dynasties (魏晋南北朝) around the 3rd and the 4th centuries, the time when the story of Nirvana in Fire, China’s blockbuster TV drama, was roughly set in. It was an age of disintegration, chaos and confusion, therefore many great individuals sought refuge in Daoism.

Taoist temple in Mt. Wudang

Another period of fast development for Wudang was during the Tang Dynasty, as the royal family identified themselves as the descendants of Taoist founder Lao Tzu (both surnamed Li). By the end of the Tang Dynasty in the 10th century, Wudang was officially proclaimed as one of the 72 Heavenly Blessing Fields (福地) on earth.

But none of the honours that Wudang received can match that from Ming Chengzu (明成祖), the 3rd Ming emperor who is famously known to have built the Forbidden City in north (Beijing), structured the Daoist temples in south (Hubei) and sent the Treasure Fleets to the open sea.

Ming Chengzu ascended the throne through military coup against a popular and legitimate yet young and inexperienced emperor Jianwen (建文帝), his nephew.

Jianwen committed suicide by burning himself alive but his body has never been positively identified, thus claims of how he was rescued by Daoist Zhang Sanfeng (张三丰 the founder of Tai Chi kung fu) from Mt Wudang spread.

Ming Chengzu didn’t want to take a chance. He spent 14 years and sent 300,000 troops and builders into the mountain to search for the pair in the name of bestowing awards to and restoring temples for Daoist Zhang.

He never located the Daoist nor the young emperor, but successfully constructed 33 Daoist temples, including 17 magnificent Daoist centres.

So far 53 ancient Taoist buildings have survived the time. In 2008, Wudang Daoist College established.

A Taoist temple on the top of Mt. Wudang

COMMENTS FROM GOOGLE PLUS

Aquil A Rahman:
So much information.

I had been under the impression that Mongolians under the rule of Kublai Khan established the forbidden city.

I would like to get a good history book on China, but English writers dont translate that well.

I think thats why so many things are lost to time because modern translations tend to fill in blanks about things they really cant explain.

Fascinating stuff though

All Things Chinese:
You’re not wrong. The Mongols did build their capital in Beijing (元大都). But that was a rather small city with fewer residents. After Prince Yan (燕王) of Ming Dynasty drove the Mongols away, the city was badly damaged by the war.

When he was ordered to restore the city by the emperor in Nanjing, his feng shui consultants insisted that the new city should not be rebuilt over the original site as the undesirable chi (info energy) of the Mongols still lingering around, which was regarded as violent, crude with a bloodthirsty wolf-worship mentality.

So the new city was built away from the original site with slight overlapping at margins.

When Prince Yan become Emperor Yong Le (i.e. Ming Chengzu), he decided to move the capital to his old military base Beijing, therefore in the centre of the city he built a replica of Nanjing palace, and the replica is now known as the Forbidden City.

The majority of the Beijing residents were the migrants from Nanjing and its surrounding areas: the officials, the merchants, the commoners. They followed the emperor moved to the new capital in the early 15th century.     

Aquil A Rahman:
Feng shui……how old is that discipline?

All Things Chinese:
It will have to be traced back to I Ching, the foundation of Daoism and Chinese culture.

I Ching of Zhou (周易) was created about 3,000 years ago, but it was actually produced based on older versions of I Chings.   

But Daoism as an organized cultivation discipline is conventionally considered as stated 2,500 years ago by Lao Tzu, the author of Book of Virtue (Daodejing 道德经)

Feng shui was developed during the recent two thousand years out of need to choose suitable burial sites. 

Treating the dead as if they were alive (视死如生) is a tradition promoted by Confucius, and the culture related to funerals and tombs flourished thereafter.

As for using feng shui principles to create more suitable living environment for people, it appeared even later in the recent 1,000 years or so. 

Aquil A Rahman:
Now that’s some history (and work:)
I’m already committed to a copy of War and Peace for asking too many questions,😊

I know of this psychiatrist that read the I Ching pretty heavily (C..J .JUNG .
I had a copy years ago …. I will pick one up and see what I am able to learn.

All Things Chinese:
There are many men whom I truly admire, C..J .JUNG is one of them 🙂

Aquil A Rahman:
I’ve read the Daodejing several years ago.

There is also this other book called The Book of Balance and Harmony.

I don’t know why, but I am attracted to articles on Chi Gong and Daoism, but the research, as I said has been much from magazines.

In the back of my mind, I ask myself:” in another life, was I a Daoist Priest?

I don’t have an answer for that, but my interest reaches far beyond what I’ve learned of Wu Chi:)

All Things Chinese:
I believe you were. We don’t attract to something without a reason, as the only action can cause a reaction. In this universe, there is nothing that happens by accident, and there is no such thing called coincidence.  

A Taoist temple in Mt. Wudang after snow

Eric Horrobin:
Nearer to heaven indeed. So remote, I am amazed at the ability to take needed materials so high up.

All Things Chinese:
Many Daoists practice qigong 😉

Eric Horrobin:
I practice a form of tai chi and am curious about qigong.

Mile HsiangYang Lee:
+Eric Horrobin – Why TAI QI? 😮😮😮😮😮 Why Not YOGA or PILATE? 😮😮😮😮😮 I am Just CURIOUS 😇😇😇😇😇

Eric Horrobin:
I have had a long time interest in tai chi and always curious. Since I have had a series of damaging accidents in life I find taiji is more comfortable to practice. I also have COPD lung condition so taiji helps. But ultimately I always heard taiji is about energy so that is why.

All Things Chinese:
All illness is caused by blockage of qi flow. You may like to find more from this post: Tips on Good Health.

All Things Chinese:
Tai Chi is also part of Qigong.

As we talked before, qi is info-energy in yin-yang dual expressions, which are the invisible and intangible building blocks of all things in each of our universes.

The way to manage qi inside our body is called Qigong and the technique to manipulate qi in our external environment is known as Feng Shui.

The fundamental difference between Chinese kung fu/exercise and the rest in the world is the association with qi.

Among Chinese kung fu, there are roughly three kinds of practice according to the proportion between tangible (bodily) and intangible (qi) movements.

Those with robust physical activities are the ones we typically call Chinese kung fu (from schools of Shaolin, Wudang, Emei or other), which usually serve practical purposes of defence, offence or just body empowerment. And they consume the qi.

Those with little to no body moment are static kung fu, which is actually a type of meditation. They nurture the qi thus are the bases of all types of traditional Chinese kung fu.

Those in between with slow and gentle movements, understandably, both empower the body and nurture the qi. Tai Chi is one of them.

Mile HsiangYang Lee:
FENG SHUI is MANIPULATION of QI from NATURE + QI is MANIPULATION of HUMAN INTERNAL CONSTITUTION? 😮😮😮😮😮 I See 🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌 Thanks. It’s Easier to EXPLAIN now to My WHITE NEIGHBORS. I Had A HARD TIME Trying to Explain Those Concepts When I Was Not Clear Myself 👌👌👌👌👌

All Things Chinese:
Maybe this is a better way to explain to your neighbour: Qigong is a method to manage the qi inside our body and Feng Shui is a technique to manipulate the qi outside our body.

The qi inside and outside our body are essentially the same and flow in and out of our body following each of our breath.

The first step to reclaim the ownership of your world is to be able to control the qi inside of your body;

The second is to control the qi outside of your body in your immediate environment. If you can do that, you don’t need Feng Shui or any other hard or soft technologies to help you reshape your world.

The third step is to extend your awareness and your control of the qi to the entire of your universe.

The fourth step is to get detached from all the qi in your universe and discover their true appearance and property, that is no appearance with no property. When you have reached this stage, you’ve attained nirvana.

But this is not the end of the process. You’ll need to see the qi again, albeit by then you’ve already realised its nature is empty; and you need to be able to play around with the qi.

By then you are the real master of your world and your fate.

Mile HsiangYang Lee:
1st + 2nd Step Seem DOABLE

All Things Chinese:
You’re right. There are thousands of ways to accomplish the first two steps, but to reach the third stage, your heart will need to be big enough to include all things in your universe, therefore, to be aware your entire consciousness.

In order to be able to do so, you’ll need to completely eradicate four false perceptions from your subconsciousness: Your perception of the solid existence of yourself (without realising you as a person is just a small portion of whole you); your perception of the solid existence of other people (without realising they are your alter self); your perception of the solid existence of the universe (without realising they are the extension of your body) and your perception of life and death (without realising life and death are caused by your exclusiveness in scope while you keep shifting your focus).

They are just like people and landscapes we see on a TV screen – it is our own perception that makes them look real. And as long as we focus on the illusory images on the screen, we don’t see the TV itself.

No techniques including meditation can help you reach this stage. The only way is to return to life living among people engaging in mundane events in order to change your default habitual perceptions one by one.

Mile HsiangYang Lee:
I Kind of Understand A Little. I have A Friend from GERMANY for A Long Time now. After Some Years Interacting, People Keep Coming Up to Us + Say – Hey – You 2, The Way You Interact, is Like SIBLINGS + BEST FRIENDS 😊😊😊😊😊 But I am CHINESE + He’s A WHITE GERMAN. I Kind of Have Passed Looking at Him as WHITE + GERMAN but Just as A GOOD + BEST FRIEND + An EXTENSION of FAMILY 😉😉😉😉😉 I Guess, This is Kind of What You Mean? 😐😐😐😐😐

All Things Chinese:
In fact, all the people you meet in your life is your alter self. Just like all the files you downloaded onto your laptop reflect what you are.

Visitors in Taoist temple in Mt. Wudang

Ece Basmacıoğlu:
So big fish swallows little fish…İs it law of natüre..? 🙂

All Things Chinese:
Big fish swallowing small fish is a reality on earth that is brought into existence by sentient beings’ collective desire on this planet.

The Nature in Daoism refers to a rule that governs the movement of the entire cosmos based on Taichi formation and Yin-yang balance, which is about harmony and about mutual dependence, mutual benefit and mutual growth.

Regrettably, the way we are living here right now is against Law of Nature, because the current mainstream culture accepts, even appreciates, unrestrained expression and release of the so-called “human nature” that consists of a large portion of greed, anger and confusion.

Laozi said in Book of Virtue:

“Only when Dao is lost, does the doctrine of morality arise;

“Only when morality is lost, does the doctrine of charity arise;

“Only when charity is lost, does the doctrine of loyalty arise;

“Only when loyalty is lost, does the doctrine of social conduct arise.”

(失道而后德, 失德而后仁, 失仁而后义, 失义而后礼)

A staircase in Taoist temple in Mt. Wudang

A scene of the sun rising with a sea of clouds in Mt Wudang, the birthplace of Daoist Wudang Kung Fu, one of the two major kung fu schools in China along with the Buddhist Shaolin Kung Fu.

The sky during sunrise in Mt Wudang

COMMENTS FROM GOOGLE PLUS

Nicole Wildman:
Gorgeous sunrise 🙂 Wow!! This pic looks heavenly especially with those clouds below. The clouds are tinged with blue from the sky. The altitude is really high? :-0 I love isolated places like these. Very quiet..easier to concentrate. Air is fresh and cool, you are surrounded by forest, trees and birds and your own thoughts 🙂 No buildings either to obstruct that stunning view 🙂

All Things Chinese:
Wow, that’s what I love!

In a beach near where I live there is a cliff, under the cliff, there is a cave facing the sea. Few people realise there is a cave there and you’ll need to climb over the safety fence to get there (sorry for being a lawbreaker). That is a secret garden for me and my friends.

If you sit in the cave at night, you won’t be able to see any light but a pitch black ocean and sky. The entire civilisation has disappeared but you (and a few of your friends) left alone in the universe. The sensation is hauntingly overwhelming and frightening … 

Nicole Wildman:
Lawbreaker?? (LOL) Climb fence?? ( laughing even louder) 😀

While I was reading what you wrote, I was visualizing it. It sounds lovely. I love the sound of the sea 🙂 Those adventures make for good memories 🙂

The rustic setting, I know quite well…I spent almost half of my life in a very rustic area so I am accustomed to peace and quiet…love it.

My area was a sleepy coastal village to the south west of the island. It is one of the forgotten villages here. The island I live on is so tiny (under 5,000 sq kilometres) we only have villages and major towns. No cities or megacities…we don’t have the population (just over 1 million inhabitants) or the infrastructure.

In this village, it was very quiet, very bumpy roads, modest houses and cars rarely passed through. There were fruit trees in every yard, limes, breadfruit, coconut trees and local indigenous fruits (with indigenous names). The most popular fruit tree was the mango…all different types all over the village. As children, we loved climbing the mango trees and building tree houses. You walk through the streets and you always get a whiff of sweet tangy mangoes.

It was a small close-knit community. Everybody knew everybody 😀 As children we played from morning till dusk, flying kites, climbing trees, going to the beach, storytelling and creating makeshift carts with wheels so that we could roll down the hill screaming while our parents and grandparents watched us from the verandas…

I no longer live there but in spite of the fact that it was very rustic and people weren’t rich, we were never hungry…In spite of the fact that many children now have many luxuries at their disposal we were blissfully happy playing all day and in spite of the fact that genuine kindness is becoming scarce, we knew genuine warmth and kindness…

My memories of this place are very vivid. I love the countryside….you can take the girl out of the village but you can’t take the village out of the girl 😀

All Things Chinese:
What a memoir, I really think you should develop it into a book about that island life in your memory.

I love the rural area and love island. Some years ago I read a travel journey online by a UK journalist about his experience in Sicily’s mountain villages after the WWII. What he portrayed is very much like what you described. I like it so much and printed the entire book that is 300 pages plus.

Nicole Wildman
+All Things Chinese 🙂 🙂 Thanks. That’s why I love rural areas so much. They’re steeped in tradition …

Wudang Drunken Fist performed by a Taoist from Beijing White Cloud Temple (Baiyun Guan), the headquarter of Chinese Taoist Association.

COMMENTS FROM GOOGLE PLUS

Corey Gravelle
Wudang mountain, one of the best schools of martial arts is found on said mountain.

All Things Chinese
Yes, Wudang Mountain is the birthplace of Wudang Kung Fu, one of two major kung fu styles in China. Another is Shaolin.

Corey Gravelle
It’s a good school. In the fighting world, there is saying “You go to Wudang to learn how to fight” whereas you go to Shaolin to become a full monk on top of a martial artist.

Wudang would be your go-to self-defence if one was not looking to become a Buddhist Shaolin monk.

All Things Chinese
Ummm, people also go to Wudang to be a Daoist ..

Corey Gravelle
I meant the general martial artist of chinese history you know the typical person walking on the street.

Wudang from my research into history if asked will train you only in martial arts without daoism if one wishes.

Actor chou yun fat, for example, his martial arts are Wudang based for the movie crouching tiger as the actor spent a few months learning from the men up there for authenticity

Fu Chen Sung would be the man credited with keeping wudang alive in the modern age

All Things Chinese
I see your point and thanks for your information. Actually, you can also go to Shaolin just to learn kung fu without studying Buddhism at all.

Corey Gravelle
Didn’t know that about shaolin. I guess they let the rules down after the 1900s as before that you had to become a Buddhist monk and live at the temple hence why the abbots take it so seriously.

All Things Chinese
I know a bit about Shaolin. I learned Shaolin Kung Fu for a while, I also met a qinggong master from Shaolin temple and observed how he pushed a group of kung fu men towards a pond about 10 meters away (that means without touching them at all) and pulled them back just before they were going to fall into the pond.

Corey Gravelle
Magnetic energy or electrical control would be the secret to qingong and the Japanese aiki.

Some humans have the ability to draw upon said magnetism via practices such as qingong due to their own electrical and magnetic energies being strong.

I was taught how to resist this trick long ago as are most martial artists I merely have to make sure my “Ki” or outward force is strong and qingong fails to work upon my body.

All Things Chinese
Magnetic energy and electric current are just two of countless patterns of qi flow that is like ocean waves, which is outside of you and inside of you.

If your qi flow is more potent than others, your pattern overwrites theirs; vice versa. It has nothing to do with tricks.

You are most welcome to leave your comments below