Buddhism Culture [edit this]
The introduction of Buddhism culture into Southern Mountain is over 200 years later than the introduction of Taoist culture. The earliest Buddhist monks to Southern Mountain are Huihai and Xidun, later on, monk Huisi imparted his disciple Zhikai to form Tiantai Buddhist philosophy (Fahua Buddhist philosophy). Huisi of Southern Mountain is respected as the third ancestor of Tiantai Buddhist philosophy and Zhikai is the fourth ancestor. The theory of Tiantai Buddhist philosophy spreads to as far as Japan. Zen Sect of Buddhism of Southern Mountain developed into five sects: Weiyang sect, Linji sect, Caodong sect, Yunmen sect and Fayan sect, which is called “one flower with five leaves” in the Buddhism history. Thereafter, there Yangqi group and Huanglong group, so call them “five leaves with seven philosophies”. Disciples of zen Sect of Buddhism are all over the world with the Southern Mountain as center, reaching as far as Japan and Korea. In recent years, many Buddhist monks of Caodong and Tiantai sects from Japan visit Southern Mountain to warship ancestors and seek roots. Zen Sect of Buddhism of Southern Mountain claims “insight”, what is called “heart is Buddha”, deserts the methods of asceticism and scholasticism, therefore the claims of zen Sect of Buddhism are easy to be accepted and cultivated by people, finally it can be carried forward and has disciples all over the world. Linji and Caodong sects have the name “Linji covers the world, Caodong covers half the sky”. Now there is a carved stone “Buddhism source of the world” beside the Nantai temple and “world Buddhism” is carved on the Fuyan Temple, which reflect the prosperity of Buddhism culture of Southern Mountain at that time.
Edit by: Joanna
Fu Shou Culture [edit this]
The Southern Mountain (Mountain Hengshan) is the Shou Mountain in China's Five Sacred Mountains. Its blessing and Shou culture has a long history and over a long time it is a halidome for blessing and begging for long life. Southern Mountain was called the “Shou Mountain” since the Han Dynasty. The mountain in “May your age be as high as the Southern Mountain” popular in folks is the Southern Mountain. Since Song Huizong left the carved stone “Shou Mountain” in the Jinjian peak of Southern Mountain, the name “Shou Mountain” was popul ar. For thousands of years, the Southern Mountain has been respected as the symbol of “long life and prosperity”.
Southern Mountain has a prosperous shou mountain culture and the atmosphere is dense. Many architectures and relics are named after “shou”, such as Wanshou Palace, Shouning Palace, Shoujian Bridge, Shoujian Stream, Baishou Booth, Yanshou Booth, Yanhou Village, Shoufo Hall, etc. The Southern Mountain Temple is the architecture integrates the achievements of the Shou culture of Southern Mountain. The remarkable place is a “shou” letter, and “shou” can be seen everywhere, such as on the eaves, beams, decoration frames. Especially, there are 100 “shou” letters with different shapes on the Imperial Tablet Booth, so it is called “Baishou Booth”. Ten thousand “shou” letters with different fonts from famous calligraphers are carved on the “Wanshou Dading”, which adds new connotation to the Shou culture of Southern Mountain.
There is another important for the name “first mountain” of Southern Mountain, that is, the Southern Mountain possess the excellent conditions that are appropriate for people's health promotion and body building as well as elongation of life. There are prosperous trees in everywhere of Southern Mountain, the coverage ratio of its forest reaches above 80%. There are more than 1,400 kinds of plants; the atmospheric oxygen anion reaches 26,000 per stere, it can be called the “natural oxygen bar” that is beneficial to health.
Southern Mountain also produces specialities that are beneficial for the elongation of life, such as ganoderma, polygonatum kingianum, fleeceflower root, etc.
There are many people who have long lives in Southern Mountain area. As recorded in Nanyue Gazetteer: Sima Zhen in the Jin Dynasty had the age of 89; Miaoying was in her 130s when she died; Zhan Ruoshui, who retired to Southern Mountain to teach in the late Ming Dynasty, had a 96 years' life. Most of current people who are living on the mountain have long lives. Only by the primary statistics of the year 2000, there are 4 people who are above 100 years old, and hundreds of people are above 90 years old in the Nanyue Town that has a population of 40 thousand. Up to present, the custom of “praying life on (lunar calendar) February 8” is kept among folks.
Edit by: Joanna
Taoist Culture [edit this]
In the late period of Eastern Han Dynasty of China, Zhang Daoling introduced Taoist Culture into the Southern Mountain (Mountain Hengshan), thereafter Taoism developed continually in the Southern Mountain area. Taoism committed it self to practicing inner alchemy, namely today's Qigong; while the refining of inner elixir is the external alchemy, namely drug, which is the ancient chemistry. The Taoist thought and culture have a significant influence on people. The prosperity of temples began from this time. They influenced emperors, generals and ministers, needless to say the innumerable votaries among the common folks. The Taoist temples of Southern Mountain includes Qizhen Temple, Southern Mountain Temple in the early Jin Dynasty, and later many dynasties established temples in the Southern Mountain, among which the number established in the Tang Dynasty is the most, reaching 28. Red walls and green tiles, flourishing green trees, famous mountain and small buildings, all these formed the excellent scenery. Consequently, the Taoist culture infiltrates to each field and literators communicated with Taoists, which formed a significant characteristic of the Taoist culture of the Southern Mountain. Many Taoists with high culture cultivation and profound metaphysics all wrote books and established theories. For example, Records of Mountain Hengshan is the first monograph about the Southern Mountain written by Xu Lingqi of the Liu-Song Dynasty of the Southern Dynasties of China. Thereafter, a series of books about the mountain appeared, including Small records of Southern Mountain written by Taoist Li Chongzhao of the late Tang Dynasty, scenery collection of the Southern Mountain written by Chen Tianfu of the Song Dynasty, trivialness records written by Li Changgeng of the Ming Dynasty. All of these writings have a important role for the researches of the history and culture of Southern Mountain.
Edit by: Joanna