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Home East China Attractions Shangrao Sanqing Mountain

Shangrao Sanqing Mountain Travel Guide


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gods of taoism
Three Top Gods of Religious Taoism

Sanqing Mountain(三清山, the mountain of three purities), bordering on Yingtan Longhu Mountain, is a famous Taoist mountain in China situated in Shangrao(上饶), Jiangxi province. Specifically, Sanqing Mountain Scenic Area is the main part of Huaiyu Mountain Range(怀玉山脉, or holding jade mountain range ). Due to three highest peaks respectively named Yujing Peak(玉京峰, the summit of jade capital, a sacred jade summit as the cultivation site of Yuanshi Tianzun, a leading deity of religious Taoism ), Yuxu Peak(玉虚峰, the summit of jade purity, a sacred summit said to be the living site of Jade Emperor, who was the top governor of religious Taoist gods and goddesses) and Yuhua Peak(玉华峰, the summit of jade corona, said to be the site full of eatable jade, which the man eats could be immortal). As the classic depiction, three high and steep peaks look like three pure deities(三清之神) sit the summits. Hence, this mountain was named Sanqing Mountain. Among three peaks, the Yujing Peak is the highest one with an altitude of 1819.9 meters, which is the fifth highest peak in Jiangxi province and the origin of Xinjiang River. In 1988, it became a listed scenic area under the national protection. In 2005, it was approved to be the National Geopark. In 2008, it became a site of World Natural Heritage. At present, it was a Five-A class (the top class) tourist attractions throughout the country.

The History of Sanqing Mountain Relevant to Religious Taoism

According to the information above, it is necessary to take an explanation on what Sanqing is. Before the explanation, an addition should be mentioned on the difference of Taoism and Religious Taoism. Taoism is an academic school of philosophy appeared before pre-Qin Dynasty (- 221BC), and its founder was Lao Zi(老子), while religious Taoism is an important religion appeared in late Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220AD) , and its founder was Zhang Daoling(张道陵, 34-156). Sanqing is an exclusive term of Taoism. The full title is “虚无自然大罗三清三境三宝天尊”(The Pure and Devine Natural Deities of Three Purities, Three Phases and Three Treasures). The site of Sanqing was said to be located in Sanbao Jingyang Palace at the foot of Yuji Mountain(玉玑山, the pure jade mountain, the most sacred and divine mountain of Taoism). Another understanding is it means three phases of divine situation that the Taoists cultivate, namely, Yuqing(玉清, jade purity, the highest phase), Shangqing(上清, superior purity, the higher phase) and Taiqing (太清, super purity, the high phase). Also, it means three highest deities of religious Taoism, respectively, Yuanshi Tianzun of Yuqing(玉清元始天尊, it is the most honorable deity with the highest status in Taoism, and he was the god to create the world, and generally considered as the immortal aspect of Pangu,盘古, the first soul dividing the origin into the heaven and earth and sacrificing himself to the creation of all the creatures and nature on earth), Lingbao Tianzun of Shangqing(上清灵宝天尊, he was the second greatest god said to be born before the univese appeared, and he was born from the original of nothing. The pregnant duration is 3700 years. He lived in Immortal Mansion of Xuanduyujing. He saved innumerous souls and spirits, and worshipped by all the creatures. He has 36 earthly faces, and 72 changes, and then all the humankind could see him anywhere and anytime) and Daode Tianzun of Taiqing(太清道德天尊, he was the most respectable deity during the early period of religious Taoism, and was said to be the immortal aspect of Lao Zi, the founder of Taoism). And the title of Tianzun means they have the utmost power of Dao.

The Highlighted Attractions of Sanqing Mountain

Religious Taoism was highly promoted and supported by Ming governors, due to Emperor Hongwu (the imperial title of Zhu Yuanzhang as an emperor) believed it. It was said that Zhu Yuanzhang was edified and magically helped by a Taoist in Jiangxi province, and even his most reliable assistant whose name was Liu Bowen, also a Taoist. The second emperor of Ming Dynasty, historically known as Emperor Jianwen highly commented Sanqing Mountain. In record of history, Ge Hong(葛洪), a famous Taoist in East Jin Dynasty, made the immortal medicine pill here, and since then, Ge Hong became the founder of Taoism in Sanqing Mountain. For centuries, Sanqing Mountain is the ideal cultivation site for Taoists and the excellent reclusive site. In Tang and Song Dynasties, Sanqing Mountain was the hot destination for Taoists and recluses. In Ming Dynasty, a huge reconstruction for the temple clusters was operated by Zhan Biyun and Wang You. There are 260 historical sites were resurfaced, and the Taoist buildings spread the entire mountain. And the architectural complex is designed to be an eight-diagram style (bagua). The size and magnificence of the building complex are the same as these in Wudang Mountain, Qingcheng Mountain and Longhu Mountain. Therefore, Sanqing Mountain also boasts the Outdoor Museum of Religious Taoism.

The highlighted scenic zones are comprised of nanqingyuan scenic area, sanqinggong scenic area, yujingfeng scenic area, xihaian scenic area, donghaian scenic area, wanshouyuan scenic area, yulingguan scenic area, xihuatai scenic area, shiguling scenic area and sandongkou scenic area. The top ten sites for viewing are Dongfang Shennv(Oriental Goddess,东方神女), Jumang Chushan(Huge Boa Comes out of the Mountain, 巨蟒出山), Houwang Xianbao(Monkey King Presents Treasure, 猴王献宝), Yunv Kaihuai(Pure Beauty Shows Elegance ,玉女开怀), Laodao Baiyue (Old Taoist Bows Down to the Moon, 老道拜月), Guanyin Shangqu(Kwan-yin Appreciates the Music, 观音赏曲), Gehong Xiandan(Ge Hong Presents the Immoral Pill, 葛洪献丹), Shenlong Xisong(The Divine Dragon Teases The Pine Trees, 神龙戏松), Sanlong Chuhai(Three Dragons Come out of the Sea, 三龙出海) and Pulao Mingtian(Pulao Dragon Shout at the Heaven, 蒲牢鸣天. Pulao is one of nine sons of dragon, and it is an auspicious animal in traditional culture).

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Wuxi Jichang Garden Zhenjiang Jinshan Temple Chizhou Jiuhua Mountain Huzhou Mogan Mountain
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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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