Wednesday, 6 December

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Jinyun Mountain

Wednesday, 6 December


I woke at 6.30. At 7.30 I had breakfast at the Jialing restaurant. The noodles were not that good. (The so-called hot spring hanging noodles.) The only food I could take for breakfast was merely several eggs. At 8.00 I took the ropeway to Jinyun Mountain. The scenery along the way was peaceful and pleasant. We arrived at the mountain at 9.30. The original name of the mountain was Xiangsi Mountain. It was said that because the mountain view was so wonderful that those who climbed to the top of it would not be willing to leave so it was given this name. It was also said that it was given the name because there were many red bean trees in the mountain. It was circulated that Huangdi mixed and made the elixir here. Kāśyapa took this place as Bodhimanda, and there were some divine animals to defend this mountain. So now the snake, ox and chicken towers are still available. In the first year of Jingping (AD 423), the monk Ciying found it. In the first year of Qinfu (AD 874), it was rebuilt. The banner at Xiangsi Temple was bestowed by the emperor. In the fourth year of Jingde (AD 1007), the emperor bestowed the title of the temple as Chongjiao Temple. The recent name of it was Jinyun Temple. The temple occupied the best mountain vistas. The Song Dynasty Zhuangyuan, Feng Shixing (馮時行) and the Ming Dynasty scholar, Jiang Chaozong (江朝宗), had received education in the mountain. In 1930 Master Taixu (太虛)[1] established the Institute for Han-Tibet Buddhism teachings here. We entered the temple and asked the monks. We learnt that Chen Mingshu (陳銘樞)[2] and Huang Chanhua (黃懺華)[3] had left the mountain yesterday. We were received by the monk Zhian (止安) . He recounted the history of the institute and took us on a tour to the various departments. Now the chief of the institute is Master Fazun (法尊). After graduating from the Wuhan Buddhism Institute he stayed in Kangding and Tibet to study Buddhism for ten years, so the institute paid special attention to Tibetan buddhism. (The said institute was founded for the exchange of Sino-Tibetan culture.) (Note: Tibetan Buddhism actually came from China. According to what Biographies of Tibetan Empire of New Book of Tang recorded, until the eighth year of Zhenguan of Tang Taizong (唐太宗), the Tibetan Empire first dispatched envoys to China. The Emperor ordered Feng Dexia (馮德遐) to send them a welcoming reply. The Emperor of the Tibetan Empire Songtsen Gampo (弄贊) heard that the emperor of the Turks and Tuyuhun could marry princesses from the Tang Empire, so he dispatched envoys and donated money to the Tang to ask for a princess. In the fifteenth year of Zhenguan, Taizong gave Princess Wencheng (文成公主), a princess of royal clan, to him as his wife. Songtsen Gampo drew back in wonderment when he saw the beauty of the Chinese accessories. When he returned to his country, he built a city for the princess to make later generations wonder in awe. The princess did not like the people of the Tibetan Empire to paint their faces in ochre, therefore Songtsen Gampo issued orders to ban the practice. He deprived himself of carpets and he changed his attire to Chinese-style. He sent the offspring of powerful people to China to study poetry and language. He also employed Confucian scholars to handle official documents. In the third year of Jinglong of Zhongzong, the Tibetan Empire even dispatched envoys to pay tribute. It also sent Zonge (宗俄) to ask for the hand of a princess. Emperor Zhongzong gave the daughter of Prince Yong Li Shouli (李守禮), decorating her with the title Jincheng Princess (金城公主), as the wife of the Tibetan Emperor. As Emperor Zhongzong thought that the princess was still a child, he summoned the Left Guard General Yang Ju (楊炬) to escort her with court etiquette. Emperor Zhongzong then visited Shiping. He drank in his tent. He felt unhappy and cried (in thinking of the princess). He ordered an amnesty in the Shiping county. Those who were sentenced to death were given a special pardon. Shiping was renamed Jincheng. The township was named Fengchi while the lane as Cangbie[4]. When the Jincheng Princess went to Tibet she built a city on her own initiative and resided in it.) The students of the Institute for Han-Tibet Buddhism teachings included bhikṣu, śrāmaṇera, avada^ta-vasana and were some sixty in total. There were seven monk lecturers and six secular lecturers. There were eight to nine workers. For normal subjects they would study for four years and three for specialised subjects. There were many subjects to study. Besides 1 Pu ti dao lun, 2 Xian guan zhuang yan lun(Abhisamayālankāra), 3 Ju she lun(Abhidharmakosa) , 4 San lun xuan yi, 5 Er shi wei shi, 6 Shi zun chuan, 7 Xin di guan jing, 8 Za a han jing lun of Buddhism sutras. Students had to study Mozi, Tibetan, the common knowledge of science, Chinese history, Chinese, party doctrines and so on. They would wake at 4.30 a.m. and go to bed at 9.30 p.m. The study work load was much more intense than common schools. Its library had three sets of Tripitaka. Among them the best was the one published and given by Taisho Issai-kyo Kanko-kai of Japan [see original for Japanese address]. The statue of the Kassapa Buddha was honoured in the main temple, as it was the Kassapa Bodhimanda. The whole temple was quite well-kept and tidy. At 10.45 we left the temple and went upstairs to the Lion Peak. There were nine peaks on the mountain. They were named Morning Peak, Incense Burner Peak, Lion Peak, Howling Monkey Peak, Lotus Peak, Pagoda Peak, Jade Pinnacle Peak, Shining Peak, Cloudy Peak. They were all akin to the so-called shapes. The highest was the Lion Peak, and this was the only peak we could visit. The mountain was steep and there were many steps, which made the visit difficult – there were 634 high steps. At the top of the peak there was a fort built by natives as asylum when Zhang Xianzhong (張獻忠) entered Sichuan. There was a rock in the pinnacle of the peak whose shape resembled a sleeping lion, but now it was shattered. In front of the lion there were two giant footprints. It was rumored that when Emperor Zhenwu[5] ascended to the sky he left behind his footprints. From here we surveyed Pagoda Peak, Howling Monkey Peak and so on. The grotesque rocks hit the sky, while the light intermingled with the greenery. No wonder it was the best among the mountains in Ba County. Near the summit there was Taixutai. We lingered here and did not want to leave. At 12.00 noon we left the mountain and went to see the plum blossoms around the temple. We also visited such sightseeing spots as the swimming pool, the Hanxu Pavilion, the Pokong Pavilion (Pokong was a famous monk in the late Ming Dynasty. He was one of the building contributors for the Jinyun Temple) and the Python Tower. We returned to the temple to have lunch. At 1.30 p.m. we took the ropeway to return directly to Dushiqiao. Along the way we saw many coal mines all being exploited by local methods. The miners were totally naked. At 3.30 I arrived back at my home at the Legislative Yuan.

[1] Monk Taixu (1890-1947) was a native of Cheikang. His original name was Lu Peilin(呂沛林).

[2] Chen Mingshu(1889-1965) was Cantonese and a military leader in the Nationalist era.

[3] Huang Chanhua was Cantonese. He had studied in Japan and was an expert on Buddhism.

[4] Literally means sad separation.

[5] A Chinese deity.