Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wu Tai Shan (Mt. Wutai)

Wu Tai Shan, in Shanxi Province, is known as the place of enlightenment of the Bodhisattva Manjusri
The next morning after a hearty breakfast we were off and running to visit temples. We visited Dailuo Summit, the temple of Revelation, Pu Hua Temple, Buddha Summit, 10,000 Buddha Pavilion, Tayuan Temple, Bishan Temple, and Jifu Temple. We to a chair lift up to Dailuo Summit but instead of riding down again we chose to walk the 1080 stairs down. When we got near the bottom all of us had tired legs. Walking the stairs is gives you a new perspective on things. Lots of people walk up, which in the heat is very difficult. Also, there are lots of beggars to be found along the stairs. China does not have a welfare system for handicapped and employers do not want to hire handicapped people. We saw people who were blind, badly burned, missing both hands, missing both arms at the armpits, missing legs, and outside a temple in another city saw a man with no arms or legs begging. I was told that handicapped people often go to religious sites because people have more pity for them and donate more money.
Top Right: A monk followed by his disciple.
Top Left: A temple bell.
Middle Right: Detail of the temple architecture.
Middle Left: 99 stairs. If you descend without looking back you will leave your troubles behind. (Note the white Stupa in the distance that is shown in more detail in the next blog entry).
Bottom: Another view of temple rooftops.

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