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Wutaishan (五臺山), or "Five-Terraces Mountain", is a sacred mountain in northern Shanxi Province that is associated with the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī.[1] It is one of the four great mountains of Chinese Buddhism, the others being Emeishan, Putuoshan, and Jiuhuashan.[1]

The Princeton Dictionary states:

The name Wutai is derived from its five treeless, barren peaks (one in each cardinal direction and the center) that resemble terraces or platforms. During the Northern Wei dynasty (424–532), Wutaishan came to be identified with the mythic Mt. Qingliang (Clear and Cool) of the Avasaṃsakasūtra, which speaks of a mountain to the northeast where the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī is said to be constantly preaching the dharma.[1]

Karl Debreczeny states:

The sacred mountain Wutai shan, located in Shanxi Province, China, is believed to be the earthly abode of the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, Mañjuśrī. While Wutai shan was a sacred site to Chinese Buddhists as far back as the fifth century, from the seventh century on, it became an international pilgrimage center, attracting Buddhist pilgrims from as far away as India, Kashmir, Tibet, Japan, and Korea. By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Wutai shan had become especially important to Tibetans, Mongols, and Manchus, when Tibetan Buddhism was at its apex there and the mountain was a confluence of Himalayan cultures.[2]

Paul Williams states:

Apparently the association of Mañjuśrī with Wutai (Wu-t'ai) Shan in north China was known in classical times in India itself, identified by Chinese scholars with the mountain in the 'north-east' (when seen from India or Central Asia) referred to as the abode of Mañjuśrī in the Avataṃsaka Sūtra. There are said to have been pilgrimages from India and other Asian countries to Wutai Shan by the seventh century.[3]

As of 2009, Wutaishan was host to over 53 monasteries and temples.[4] It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009[4].



Further reading