Visiting Wudang Mountain, China
The Wudang Mountains are located near the city of Shiyan in Hebei Province Northwest China.
The highest peak is named Wudang 武當山; literally “Military Wherewithal”; and it’s name is sometimes held to mean “Zhenwu deserves this mountain” – Emperor Zhenwu being a god-figure from Taoist religion. It is known as one of the four sacred Taoist Mountains in China, which have been epicentres of Internal Martial Arts for hundreds of years. These Mountains are the core of many Taoist temple complexes and monasteriesIn 1966 the Martial Arts were repressed throughout China due to the Cultural Revolution.
Many masters had to go into exile to places like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia or Vietnam.
At the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976 China began to open up to the world.
In 1988 Qiao Shi a Congressional Diplomat, visited Wudang Mountain and inspired the Abbot to open the doors and start spreading Martial Arts to the outside world.
Wudang Mountain is a really interesting and beautiful place that we had the privilege to visit, it combines natural beauty with Monastic Temples and history. We went up the mountain in cable cars. The walk up to the highest peak ‘The Golden Tabernacle’ was quite a hike, we climbed lots and lots of steps, all worth the effort once we reached the top.
Wudang Mountain has two sets of Monks, one group stay single, the other is allowed to marry and have a family. On the Mountain, martial exercise is seen as a religious observance. The Monks exercise twice daily, morning exercise as prayer for the living, evening exercises as prayer for the dead. There are also female members or nuns. They live at the Purple Heaven Palace. The nuns here are vegetarians. We visited the Palace for vegetarian lunch where you ate whatever was placed in front of you and washed your own dishes. After lunch we toured the grounds and were lucky enough to see students practicing their kung fu. The Purple Heaven Palace received World Cultural Heritage on the 15th December 1994.
A visit to a holy cave:
We had the privilege to visit a holy cave where an old monk lived who described himself as a caretaker saying ‘the holy place was important not him’ Our guide, Amy, addressed him as uncle when asked his age he said 18, Amy said she was 16. (It is considered rude to ask people in this area their age so a man is always 18 and a lady 16) We asked him what he attributed long life to?
1. Look after your shoulders, back and knees.
2. Wash your feet each morning and massage them.
3 . Smile, be happy and look on the positive not the negative.
4 . Go to bed early get up early.
5 . Exercise each day.
Our 3 days visiting Wudang Mountain was an honour and a privilege of which I was so lucky to be part. I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Golden Lion for the opportunity to join you on this wonderful trip of a life time.
by Maureen Tsui Po