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Zhongnan Mountain, The Origin of Taoism

Zhongnan MountainZhongnan Mountain also called Taiyi Mountain and Zhounan Mountain is one section of Qinling Cordillera starting from MeiXian County of Baoji City in west area of Shaanxi province to Lantian in east area of Shaanxi province. Zhongnan Mountain has the deep and quiet mountains and valleys as well as sharp cliffs and paths. Zhongnan Mountain boasts the Heavenly Capital, The Top of Taoist Immortal Mountain as well as The No.1 Blessed Land on Earth. The main peak of Zhongnan Mountain located in Zhouzhi administrative zone has the altitude of 2604 meters. in China, there is a famous nationwide couplet: Blessing Looks Like The All-Season Floating Water of East Sea; Longevity Seems to Be The Immortal Pine Tree in South Mountain (福如东海长流水,寿比南山不老松). The South Mountain in this couplet originally meant Zhongnan Mountain.

Zhongnan Mountain is one of the cradle-lands of Taoism. It was said that during the reign period of King Kangwang of Chu Kingdom, Yi Xi known as an astronomer served as the governor of Hangu Pass Administrative Zone. Yi Xi built his personal building in Zhongnan Mountain, and he watch the sky everyday in his building. One day, he suddenly saw the purple air coming from east and the auspicious star going to the west. He foretold there would be a saint going through Hangu Pass, so he waited in his building. Later, he saw an old man wearing the five-color cloud-weaving clothes riding a blue bull to go westward into Qin Kingdom. This saint was Lao Zi, who was the founder of Chinese Taoism. Yi Xi invited Lao Zi to his building and bent himself down to Lao Zi. Yi Xi requested Lao Zi to give address about his sutra and write books here. Lao Zi taught Yi Xi his book Dao De Jing and then flied away.

It is said that the Sutra Stand of Sutra-Narration Center today is the place that Lao Zi taught Dao De Jing. After the foundation of Taoism, Lao Zi was respected to be the Forefather of Taoism and Yin Yi was highly spoken of Wenshi Zhenren. And Dao De Jing became the most important tenet. This building is also the origin of Taoism.

Zhongnan MountainFrom then on, a lot of building complexes were built or rebuilt in different dynasties. Emperor Qin Shihuang once built the memorial building at the south side of the sutra building to commemorate Lao Zi. Emperor Han Wudi once built The Memorial of Lao Zi at the north of the sutra building. Later, a large number of buildings themed with Taoism and Lao Zi were built. Entering Tang Dynasty, the Emperors considered Lao Zi as the Saint of Tang Dynasty, because Lao Zi on the earth had the same surname of Li as that of Emperors of Tang Dynasty. So in this time, Taoism was largely supported, especially the Taoists of Zhongnan Mountain helped Li Yuan (The Founder of Tang Dynasty) with insurgence. Hence, after Li Yuan’s enthronement, Li Yuan paid a lot of attentions to Taoist development in Zhongnan Mountain, and then the large-scale palaces were built, and the main buildings included: Wenshi Hall, Sanqing Hall, Jingyang Tower, Yanqing Tower and Xuanmen Hall. And these buildings are the center of architectural complexes on Zhongnan Mountain.

Sutra Buildings are comprised mainly of Memorial of Lao Zi, Hall of Doulao, Hall of Jiuku and Hall of Linggong. The subsidiary halls are Hall of Tai Bai and Hall of Four Saints. The two sides of the gate are Bell Tower and Drum Tower. On the mountain, a lot of ancient relics and cultural heritages are scattered.
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