We have two options to head to the Master Peak from here. One is by ropeway. It can save physical energy and can shorten a distance of over 3 kilometers. Another is to walk up from Lao Zi temple in the back mountain. It is a sure way to Master Peak. It used to have First Gate, Second Gate and Third Gate, but the first gate has been sabotaged. It implies to disciples that only by walking past the three gates can they show their sincerity and reach the paradise.
(Track) Please walk forward along the side of the cliff. It is flat but is quite dangerous. Do not get closer to the cliff. Now, please stop here. It is the best place to watch the Warm Kiln. I’ll tell you the myth on the Founder’s cultivation in the warm kiln.
1. Save the masses with benevolence. (1) Save the grass by taking off the shoes: one day, a grass seed fell down to the Founder’s shoe. He murmured to himself, ‘the grass would not grow without sunlight’. He then took off the shoe so that the grass could grow up in his shoe. (2) Feeding the tiger with his own meat in the legs. When founder met a dying tiger, he fed the tiger with meat in his legs till the tiger got recovered.
2. Cultivation with a determined mind. The Founder presumed with his cultivation after he got enlightened by the story on ‘polishing of iron peeler to needle’ by Goddess Guanyin. He started by dispelling his starvation with mulberry. He then disputed his starvation to his intestines and stomach, so he got them removed. Here is another story on turtle snake and recovery of it. When the Founder got his intestines and stomach out, they turn to the turtle and snake and ate passers-by. On learning that, the Founder recovered it with Seven-Star Sword. The sculpture of the Founder got the two monsters of turtle and snake at his hill.
3. You will attain success with hard work. The Founder cultivated himself in the Warm Kiln for 42 years. He then turned to an immortal with the help of Goddess Guanyin. Goddess Guanyin turned to a village maid and tried to flirt with him. She expressed her willingness to spend the rest of her life with him. But the Founder jumped to the cliff to show his innocence for he reckoned that the maid’s behavior was a disgrace to him. He tried to commit suicide in Crow Cliff. When he fell to the half of the cliff, five giant dragons showed up and flew him upwards to the sky. He then became an immortal and got worshiped. A couplet is hanged at the gateway to the Founder’s Temple that reads, ‘With 42 years of cultivation, he surged to the heavenly palace with five dragons’.
A Bowl of Water: Now let’s walk forward. It’s the scenic spot on ‘bowl of water’ not far from here. It earns its name as it resembles a bowl. Legend goes that before the Founder came to the Maser Peak, it didn’t have any water in here. With mission from the Jade Emperor, the Dragon King diverged water from the seabed and dispelled it with incantation so that the Founder could become an immortal by drinking water. So it never gets dry or spills over.
After the Founder became an immortal, incense burners attracted by its name circulated news that elixir vitae exists in the spring water. So people came over in droves to taste and get water. Some evil hooligan seized the spring by force. After the Jade Emperor learned about it, he dispatched the Dragon King to take back the incantation and slayed the hooligan. Though the water is deprived of its spirituality, its pure water rich in minerals can still appeal to passers-by. People would be amazed by the water. You can have a taste of it.
The 14 inscriptions on precipices above the precipice on the left are mostly written in regular script. Their contents cover records on pilgrim, investment to build roads and construction of temples. Why does the cliff have so many stones? According to legend, it is ascribed to two meanings. First, the Master Peak does fall down; and second, it can get you scions. A saying that goes like this, ‘Pile it up, you will get children’. You can try it if you like. It’s quite interesting, to say the least of it.
Candle Peak: ‘Candle Peak’ is also called ‘Wax Mountain’ as it seems that wax falls down from the mountain. According to legend, after the Founder became an immortal in Master Peak, incense burners from all around would come over and throng the zigzag mountain roads. Some people would be crowded down the hill. After the Founder learned about it, he enlightened a candle and lightened up the road for the incense burners. One year, a man from the evil school often harangued the incense burners at night. The Founder wiped it out and killed the evil man. He used his power to bless the incense burners in the mountain. The candle then turned to a mountain. It embodies illumination to the incense burners to bless their safety.
General Peak: Two small hills stand in rows by the Candle Peak. They look like a general, so they are called ‘General Peak’. Legend goes that the two peaks were dispatched by the Jade emperor to protect cultivation by the Founder. After the Founder got his attainments done, he took shelter in Mountain Wudang. They still stand erected in here. People passing it would worship it to pray for their own safety.
Lovers Stone: Now look at the two pillars in the front. What do they look like? They look like a couple. It is called Lovers Stone. It looks like two lovers who are unwilling to part company. It also resembles a newly-wedded couple staring at each other. According to legend, a long time ago, it used to be a swatch of ocean in here with many odd rocks by the sea. One day, a couple took a stroll by the sea and climbed to the rock. They chatted for a whole day. But their oath of ‘loving each other forever’ was overheard by the Dragon King. The Dragon King wanted to test their love, but he used overt strength and turned the place into land. The couple turned to Lovers stone.
It is just a legend, but till today, archaeologists are still amazed to discover that the precipice under the Master Peak was covered by thick layers of stones. The cobblestone and fossils of seaweed seem to unshackle the myth of the legend.
Dragon and Tiger’s Cave: Let’s climb upwards to the top of the Master Peak. I have a question for you. Count the stairs. Count the steps from here to the peak. If you get the number correct, I’ll give you some gift.
Please stop in the flat road in the front. Now look over there. It got a pine tree in the half of the cliff. Its trees and branches are white. It is called ‘Cedar’. It is the only tree of rare species within the area.
Legend goes that it got a Dragon and Tiger’s Cave under the pine. They would show up once each year to help the good people. A tablet used to be erected at Master Peak. It has a pair of couplet that goes by the meaning that ‘you will reach Third Gate Door by Going upwards and looking around. you will come to Dragon and Tiger’s Cave by walking past the golden bridge and silver sand’.
On February 2 every lunar calendar, an old and kindhearted grandma was driven out by her unfilial daughter-in-law. Having no other options, the old lady had to beg for food in Master Peak. When she reached Third Sky Gate, she saw it glistening with silver and came inside. An old man was driving a tiger with scourge and was busy grinding gold beans. The grandma was frightened and wanted to get out of there. The old man said to her, ‘Take a pocket of gold beans before going back’. He then offered her a pocket of gold beans and produced roaring sound by flipping his scourge. When the grandma came back home, she discovered that her daughter-in-law was stricken to death. She felt sorrowful but knew that it was fate. That’s the origin for the ballad of ‘dragon raising its head on February 2 and unfilial daughter-in-law feeling fretted’.
Third Sky Gate: Here is the third sky gate. Now look at the temple in here. It is called Officialdom-hunting Terrace. According to legend, a scholar during the period under the reign of Qianfeng in Qing Dynasty was always futile. He heard it from his peer scholars that he had to worship the Founder in the Master Peak in order to get an official rank to show his ambition of persistence. He would spare no pains to come over to the Master Peak for blessing. When he came over to the Third Sky Gate, he was worn out with long toiling journey and fell asleep at the doorway. An immortal walked by in his sleep and said to him, ‘sincerity would lead you to officialdom.’ After he woke up, he realized that he had to go to Third Sky Gate to show his sincerity. Then he went back home and built the temple. It is named ‘officialdom-hunting terrace’. According to legend, ‘faith and sincerity will work wonders’. A year later, he passed the examination. The officialdom-hunting terrace rose to fame and people begging for officialdom came over in droves.
Master Peak: Here we are in Master Peak, the No. One iron peak in the world. It is 1,570 meters in elevation. Legend goes that the Founder became an immortal in here. Residents call the Founder ‘Master’, so it is called Master Peak. As the Founder was Lao Zi and Lao Zi was seen as Founder in Taoism. He would ride a purple cloud up in the sky. Master Peak is thus called Zi Wei Tuan and Qing Feng Wei. As it is opposite to Mountain Wudang thousands of miles away, it is also called Bei Tai Ding. Master Peak is also called ‘No. One Peak in Mountain Taihang’ due to its magnificence, spectacular scene and precipitous view.
The temple on the top of Master Peak is called ‘Xuan Wu Temple’. They worship the Founder or Lord Lao Zi of the Great Monad. Why don’t they call it Founder’s temple? Ancient man reckoned that ‘Xuan Wei’ was one of the four deities in heaven (White Tiger, White Tiger, Red Sparrow and Xuan Wu) and is the generic address of seven stars in the north among 28 stars. As it looks like a turtle in heaven with snakes encircling it, ‘Xuan Wu’ is the equivalence of turtle and snake. The name ‘Xuan Wu’ is correlated with ‘five elements’. Ancient man usually uses five elements namely gold, wood, water, fire and wood to represent five physical elements. Water belongs to the north. Water is black when it is deep. Xuan means black. As seven stars in the north look like a turtle with scale and shell. Shells would remind us of armour in military officer in ancient times. It is thus in connection to military officers. That’s the origin of ‘Wu’ or military. ‘Xuan Wu’ refers to stars in the sky, it then gradually evolves to the God of the North in ancient myth.
Why is Xuan Wu related with Great Lord of the Monad? Lao Zi was born with hoary hair, so he was named Lao Zi (The Old Man). As he got long ears, he was called Lao Dan (Dan means long ear in Chinese and is the metaphor for longevity). He is honored Great Lord of the Monad. Lao Zi was called Li Er. In Tang Dynasty, as the emperor’s family name was Li and he adored Taoism, he thus called Lao Zi the Founder and honored him ‘Xuan Yuan Emperor’. In Song Dynasty, the Emperor held that ‘Xuan Wu’, Deity of the North, clashed with ‘Xuan’ in ‘Xuan Yuan Emperor’ for Lao Zi, he then changed the name into ‘Zhen Wu’. When building houses for Taoism, he excavated a turtle and a snake from underground. Taoism disciples thought that it was ‘Zhen Wu’ or ‘Xuan Wei’, Deity of the North, that showed up. ‘Xuan Wei’ is in connection to ‘Xuan Yuan Emperor’ that showed up in the field for Taoism, it must be Great Lord of the Monad that showed up. Then lao Zi is in connection to ‘Xuan Wu’. Lao Zi then became ‘Xuan Yuan God’, deity of the north.
Xuan Wu Temple: Xuan Wu Temple in Master Peak is a provincial cultural relic protection unit. No traces could be detected as regards its time of building, but as can be deducted from development of the religious history, it could be tracing back to Sui and Tang Dynasty. The existing Xuan Wu Temple is 8.9 meters in width and 5.35 meters in depth. It was renovated in Miing Dynasty. The whole building is free from girders and is chromatic. It demonstrates unique styles. With its iron title at the top, iron peak in front of the temple, iron figures for the iron pot and palace and exquisite technique sand myth, people are exclaimed with amazement. Legend goes that the roof only had a small track and it was challenging to climb up. Iron titles covering the roof were carried upwards on the back of goats. It is still a mystery how they built up the 1000-odd-gram iron pot and the huge sculpture of the Founder. But ‘Gold Peak in the south and Iron Peak in the North’ South Peak is in Wudang and North Peak is in Taihang’ is widely shared.
The stone tablet you see now is called South Sky Gate. It implies that the Master Peak becomes the heaven palace. Now that you are in the heaven palace, how do you feel about it?
Let’s check out the back of Xuan Wu Temple. It got a sacrifice terrace. According to legend, evil men would fall down to the abyss when they stand here, those who did bad things would feel pain in the heart when they burn incenses, and kind-hearted people could get their families blessed after kowtow.
There used to be 18 temples on the Master Peak covering Xuan Wu, Ling Guan, God Mother, God Father and Grandma Temple. Then West Sky Mother and Jade Emperor Palace were built. You can travel around if you are interested. Now follow me to the viewing terrace. I’ll show you around. Master Peak is spectacular. With precipices around, it looks like a towering column surging to the sky. A tablet lies on the roof that goes:
It sees succession of risks and no flat road can bet raced for 100 miles.
You’d better appreciate the scene rather than walking there.
Cross Peak: Please look eastwards. It is Cross Peak, a mountain higher than the Master Peak. It gets its name as it resembles cross. 1,763 meters in elevation, it is the highest peak in South Taihang. It unfolds a mesmerizing scene with precipices when looked afar. When coming near, the verdant cliff is covered with mountain ranges with loquacious water accompanying chirping birds and fragrant flowers that send enthralling aroma. ‘Succession of risks’ are unfolding when you walk upwards. You can feel an enhanced degree of craftsmanship of mother nature and people’s joy for poking into adventures can be seen. When you are in the peak of Cross Peak, you seem to land to a park with spacious wilderness. It brings a feeling of ‘high sky for birds and broad sea for fish’. The extension of natural lawn is brimmed with styles for lawn in the North with bizarre rocks in varying shapes embodying magnificence of stone woods in the South. The towering mountain ranges are magnificent and the spectacular peaks are glitzy. It lives up to the name of spectacular view. The world of odd rocks seems to demonstrate a paradise of art with elephant-shaped rocks that are lifelike. The towering and spectacular mountain is unpredictable and the picturesque scene is natural and congruent. Peak Cross is one-of-a-kind in is scene. It is a good spot for adventure, leisure, vacationing, photographing and sketching.
Let’s look downward at the mountain scene. Mountain Taihang with thousands of peaks in varying shapes could trigger your infinite imaginations. You can observe it from different distance, different perspectives at different time and find varying natural objects. You can set your imagination free to get drenched in experience, appreciation and taste of them.
1. do a good job of personal protection: do the appropriate clothing shoes, hats, do a good job of prevention, anti-mosquito work.
2. pay attention to personal safety: Please in the scope of their own risk control activities, pay attention to personal safety, emergency situations during the journey, should immediately call the police and seek the help of local police agencies
3. Prevent water risks: When cruising on water or activities, you should pay more attention to safety. You must not go into the water or go to deep water areas or dangerous water areas. You should follow the instructions and the dynamics of the table.
1. Keep valuables safe: Don't place valuables on checked baggage, hotel rooms, or tour buses. Keep your belongings in safe place. Do not open your sight line, or visit and photograph, walk, or shop. Beware of stolen.
2. Carrying a travel ticket: Personal identification documents, travel documents, and transportation tickets should be kept with you to avoid forgetting or losing.
pay attention to food hygiene: to increase protection of infectious diseases, epidemic awareness. Pay attention to food hygiene, do not eat unsanitary, unqualified food and drinks, do not litter in the area, pay attention to environmental hygiene.