Wutai Shan

Mount Wutai (Pinyin: Wutái Shan; literally "Five Plateau Mountain") is one of the four sacred mountains in Chinese Buddhism.

Each of the four mountains are viewed as the abode or place of practice (dàocháng) of one of the four great bodhisattvas.

Wutai is the home of the Bodhisattva of wisdom, Manjusri or Wenshu in Chinese.

It takes its name from its unusual topography, consisting of five rounded peaks (North, South, East, West, Central), of which the North peak, called Beitai Ding or Yedou Feng, is the highest, and indeed the highest point in northern China.

Wutai was the first of the four mountains to be identified and is often referred to as "first among the four great mountains." It was identified on the basis of a passage in the Avatamsaka Sutra (Ch: Húayán jing), which describes the abodes of many bodhisattvas. In this chapter, Manjusri is said to reside on a "clear cold mountain" in the northeast. This served as charter for the mountains identity and its alternate name 'Clear Cool Mountain' (Ch: Qingliáng Shan).

The bodhisattva is believed to frequently manifest himself on the mountain, taking the form of ordinary pilgrims, monks, or most often unusual five-colored clouds.

What to see

excellent examples of Tang and Song Dynasty temples.
- Tayuan Temple - most prominent temple in Taiyuan
- Xiantong Temple - has over 400 rooms
- Cifu Temple - secluded and very spiritual
- Nanshan Temple - picturesque
- Shuxiang Temple - 36 meter high Buddha

* free Shanxi opera shows at Wanfo Temple during summer months. Ask around for times.

What to Do

a pilgrimage to the five peaks
- Wanghai Peak (Peak Overlooking the Sea) to the east
- Guayue Peak (Hanging Moon Peak) to the west
- Jinxiu Peak (Splendor Peak) to the south, with Nantai Temple at its summit
- Yedou Peak (Peak of Flourishing Leaves) to the north
- Cuiyan Peak (Peak of Green Rocks) to the middle

By Plane
Taiyuan is the nearest airport, which operates flights to/from Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai.

By Train
There is a night train from Beijing, which arrives around 04:00.

Xianhe Binguan, 25 Taiping Jie.
Tel: (0350)6542531.