Mount Emei is one of the four sacred mountain located at the western rim of the Sichuan Basin, China. Mt Emei is the highest peak among the other four sacred mountains measuring 3,099 meters. Administratively, Mt. Emei is located near the country-level city of the same name, Emeishan City. This mountain was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Mount Emei is traditionally regarded as the Bodhimanda, or place of enlightenment, of the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra.Samantabhadra is also known as Puxian Pusa in Mandarin Chinese.
Historical sources confirm that in the monasteries of Mount Emei, the Buddhist monks practice the martial arts during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Buddhist architectures on Mount Emei
It is recorded that the first ever Buddhist temple built in China was in this location. It was built in the 1st century CE. The site has seventy-six Buddhist monasteries built during the Ming and Qing period. These monasteries were built near the mountaintop. The monasteries demonstrate a flexible architectural style that adapts to the landscape. For eg: the halls of the Baoguo are built on terraces of varying levels while other like the structures of Leiyinsi are on raised stilts. It was also known that the Buddhist monasteries of earlier periods were modified as according to utilize the natural scenery fully. We can find the buildings of Qingyinge are laid out in an irregular plot on the narrow piece of land between the Black Dragon River and White Dragon River.
Some of the Buddhist temples located at Mount Emei
The Baoguo Temple is the largest temple located at the foot of the Mt. Emei. This temple was constructed during the Wanli period in the Ming Dynasty. But the tablet found at the site was written by Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty. Actually, Baoguo Temple was named as Huizong Hall which means the blending of the three religions of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism into one. However, Emperor Kangxi renamed Baoguo Temple in due course of time. The word Baoguo, as mentioned in the sutra, has the meaning of repaying four kindness to the service of the country comes first. The area of this temple covers 10 acres of land. The whole temple is a typical courtyard house. The main hall of the temple has four layers and is constructed in such a way that one layer is higher than other.
Wanian Temple was the temple built in the East Jin Dynasty. The temple includes five halls- Mountain Gate, Buddha Maitreya Hall, Brick Hall, Wei'e Treasure Hall, the Treasure Hall of Great Hero. The major highlight of this temple is a bronze statue of Puxian riding an elephant. This statue was cast by Maozhen, Buddhist monk under the imperial order during the Song Dynasty.
This Pavilion was built by a Tang Dynasty Buddhist monk. The pavilion presents a fine natural picture with pavilions, towers, corridors perfectly infused with the natural beauty.
The golden Buddha is the four-side, ten-direction golden statue of Puxian on the Golden summit of the Mt. Emei. This Buddha statue is the highest golden Buddha in the world. This statue was built by employing the craftwork of copper casting and gold-plating. It has a total height of 48 meters which symbolically represents 48 wishes of Amitabh Buddha. The total weight of this statue is 660 tons. The ten-direction represents the ten practices and wishes of Puxian. It also represents ten directions of east, south, west, north, southeast, southwest, northeast, northwest, up and down in Buddhism. The Buddha head of this statue is composed of three layers with varied expressions, which stand for ten mentalities of earthlings.