?About 10 years ago while in meditation I was told that I have always been of the Lineage of the Lotus Goddess. At the time I thought that meant I was connected to the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi (who is the Hindu Goddess of wealth and abundance) but after a number of years of study and meditation I came to the realization that Lakshmi is actually an aspect of the Bodhisattva the Chinese call Kuan Yin. Kuan Yin is the full manifestation of the Lotus Goddess energetic consciousness – which is mercy, compassion and gentleness. Since I feel such a strong affinity to Kuan Yin it seems only fitting and proper that I write about her sacred mountain.
The Sacred Mountain Pu Tuo Shan.
In Chinese Pu Tuo Shan means Leading Peaceful Mountain. Pu Tuo Shan is considered the sacred mountain of the east is and located in the Zhejiang province. This mountain is 284 meters high and is the lowest of China’s sacred mountains. It is located on a small island, which is only twelve square kilometers in size. It is five kilometers east of Zhoushan Island in the Zhejiang province. The peak of Pu Tuo Shan is called ‘beautiful white flower,’ and is 291 meters above sea level. In order to reach it one must climb a staircase carved by hand into the rock face. This staircase has 1060 steps.
Pu Tuo Shan is an ancient holy place and was revered as such long before the arrival of Buddhism. The island is full of mystic caves, tranquil valleys, overhanging cliffs and golden beaches. There are three major temples on Pu Tuo Shan: Puji, Fayu and Huiji. These temples are among the most impressive and elaborate of all the temples in China. Perhaps the most imposing of the three Temples is The Puji Temple. It was built in 1080, during the reign of the Northern Song Dynasty and covers a space of 14,000 square meters. This temple has nine halls, twelve pavilions, and sixteen chambers.
According to many legends, Kuan Yin (also known as Avalokitesvara) attained supreme enlightenment upon the island. Avalokitesvara was originally a male Bodhisattva in India and Tibet, but changed gender after reaching China. Since the Yuan Dynasty, the image has gradually been converted into that of a young woman, and in Pu Tuo Shan she is sometimes depicted holding a vase in her hand and pouring out holy water to ease the suffering of the people. This Bodhisattva, in either of its gender forms, is considered to be a deity of mercy and gentleness, and it is believed that in pilgrimaging to Pu Tuo Shan, one can develop the attribute of compassion in ones’ heart.
Chinese legend associates the number 19 with Kuan Yin/Avalokitesvara. It is believed that Avalokitesvara was born on February 19th of the lunar calendar, achieved enlightenment on June 19th, and achieved nirvana on September 19th. On these dates, pilgrims from all over the country congregate at Mount Pu Tuo to pay homage to the Goddess. A folklore tradition on the holy island says, “Every nook and corner of the mountain contains a temple, and a monk appears whenever someone has lost his way.”
In China, fishermen also consider Kuan Yin to be their protector and would pray to her to ensure safe voyages. The titles ‘Kuan Yin of the Southern Ocean’ and ‘Kuan Yin (of/on) the Island’ stem from this tradition.
There is a great similarity between the actions and attributes of Kuan Yin and the Blessed Virgin Mary of Christianity.
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