Fan Jing Shan
Overview of Mount Fanjing
Mount Fanjing (or Fan Jing Shan), 2,572 meters above sea level, is situated in southwestern China’s Guizhou Province. Having the best preserved ecological system, it has been designated as a national nature reserve. Mount Fanjing is the highest mountain on the Wuling Range.
Mount Fanjing became one of China’s sacred Buddhist mountains in the 16th century. In recent years, it has become a popular tourist destination.
Mount Fanjing is also called Yuejing (Moon Mirror) Mountain, since on a clear night, people can see the temple’s reflection on the surrounding smooth rocks. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), there were 48 Buddhist temples built on Mount Fanjing. Many were destroyed, but rebuilt and restored.
Maitreya, or The Next Buddha, resides as the patron Bodhisattva on Mount Fanjing.
Brief History of Mount Fanjing
‘Fanjing’ (梵凈山) in Chinese, means a ‘Buddhist tranquillity’. The serene environment allows visitors to feel that their minds are clear. Its established reputation as a sacred land of Buddhism can be traced back to the 16th century. On the mountain there are numerous Buddha temples, of which the temples worshiping Maitreya and Shakyamuni are most famous for. Each year, thousands of adherents flock there to worship.
Fanjing Shan has three main peaks, the ‘Old Golden Summit’, ‘Fenghuang (meaning Phoenix) Summit’ and ‘New Golden Summit’. There are over 8,000 stone steps from the foot to the summit. Hiking along the windy mountainous road to the summit is a real pleasure. The ‘Hongyun Golden Summit’ is a fabulous location to view the sea of clouds and mist.
Fanjing Shan National Nature Reserve was established in 1978 under the approval of the government of Guizhou Province. In 1986, it was promoted to a national nature reserve and, and in the same year, it was included in the ‘Man and Biosphere’ Protection Network of UNESCO.
Located at the juncture of the three counties of Yinjiang, Jiangkou and Songtao in northeastern Guizhou Province, Mt. Fanjing is one of the main peaks of Wuling Mountain Range. The whole reserve covers an area of 567 sq kilometers (219 sq miles), dominated by the primitive vegetation.
Fanjing Shan National Nature Reserve is a treasure-house of plants and wildlife. The reserve is rich in plant resources and 80% of the conservation area is covered with virgin forest and other plants. There are about 795 families of plants and 1,955 species, including 14 families and 19 species of gymnosperms, 460 families and 1,155 species of spermatophytes and 123 families of fungi. Some plants are rare, such as the dove flowers which only grow in this region. Due to the influence of the sub-tropical alpine monsoon climate, the distribution of vegetation is vertical. The plants vary from the evergreen broadleaf forest to deciduous trees.
The favorable climate and lush vegetation make the reserve an ideal habitat for wild fauna. The number of wild animal species identified and documented has reached over 800. The diversified fauna include 68 species of mammals, 191 species of birds, 41 species of reptiles and 34 species of amphibians. Among these species, some are rare and endangered. The Guizhou golden monkeys can be seen only in this region and are on the edge of extinction, hence a national treasure and protected specie. Other species like the clouded leopard, South China Tiger, pangolin and antelope are also important national protected animals.
The biodiversity in the reserve is unparalleled elsewhere at the same latitude. It is one of the best-preserved subtropical forest ecosystems in China. The verdant mountain, the clear water and the diversified wildlife constitutes a unique environment.
The religious significance adds a splendour to the charm to Mount Fanjing. It is a holy site for Buddhists and their adherents.
The Buddhist History of Fanjing Mountain
In its heyday, the mountain had 48 active temples, though only a few of these remain today. The two main temples are located atop separate crags on Xinjinding (New Golden Peak): Shakyamuni Temple and Mile (Maitreya) Temple.
It was during the Ming (1368-1644) Dynasty that the mountain came into prominence as a venue for Buddhist pilgrimages. It became a Buddhist retreat and a monastery. The main temple, Jinding Temple, was built on Jinding Peak (Golden Peak). In 1618, Wanli, Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, gave an edict to rebuild Jinding Temple on Fanjing Mountain to show his respect to Buddhism. The Emperor also had a stele erected near Water Dripping Cave not far from the temple bearing the following text: “Ancient Buddhist sites are on Fanjing Mountain, the father of other famous mountains”. Unfortunately, the monastery was the object of repeated pillages in the centuries that followed, even as late as in 1940.
Brief Introduction of Fanjing Mountain Buddhist Culture Court and the World’s Largest Gold & Jade Maitreya Buddha Statue
Guizhou Fanjing Mountain Buddhist Culture Court is located at the foot of Mount Fanjing, by the side of the Taiping River. The World’s Largest Gold & Jade Maitreya Buddha Statue is enshrined in the Golden Palace of the World’s only Gold Buddhist Monastery of the Culture Court. The blooming lotuses, the waterside pavilion and the beautiful natural scenery make the Golden Palace a real beauty of enchanting and harmony. The Culture Court has different facilities such as the Temple area, Vegetarian Food area, Living area, Service area etc etc., combines praying for blessing, leisure, entertainment, catering and others all together.
The World’s Largest Gold and Jade Maitreya Buddha statue is the heavenly-crowned Maitreya. The statue is 5 meters high, used more than 200 kilos of pure gold and numerous precious jewels such as pearls, diamonds and jades. The statue is created by using Chinese Traditional Palace crafts such as inlaying & engraving and is composed of 4 parts: the golden body, the Buddha’s light, the jade lotus base and the wooden pedestal stand.
Admission: CNY50 (May. -Oct.); CNY30 (Dec. to Apr.)
Opening Hours: 08:00-18:00
Getting There: You can get to Yuping by train from Guiyang. Huaihua (3hours, 157KM) – Tongren (1.5hours, 50KM) – Jiangkou (2.5hours, 100KM) -Yinjiang(1.5hours,40KM) – Fanjing Shan.
Source: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/guizhou/tongren/fanjingshan.htm, http://www.chinahighlights.com/tongren/attraction/fanjing-mountain.htm, http://www.fjsfj.com
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