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Puji Si temple and Mount Pu Tuo Shan

Listed under Sacred Spaces in East China, China.

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Putuo Shan, the lowest of China's sacred mountains, is located on a small island in Zhejiang province. A holy place long before the arrival of Buddhism, the island is now considered sacred to the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, the goddess of compassion who attained enlightenment upon the island. The temples of Avalokitesvara on Putuo Shan, many built in the 11th century, are among the most elaborate in all China. Chinese legends tell that Avalokitesvara was born on February 19th of the lunar calendar, achieved enlightenment on June 19th and nirvana on September 19th. On these dates, thousands of pilgrims from around the country congregate at Putuo Shan to celebrate the Goddess. Avalokitesvara, also known as Kuan Yin, was originally a male Bodhisattva in India, who changed gender after reaching China. In Putou Shan she is sometimes depicted holding a vase in her hand, pouring holy water to ease the suffering of people. This Bodhisattva, in either of its gender forms, is a deity of mercy and gentleness, and its association with Putuo Shan indicates that the energetic character of this sacred place is conducive to the development of compassion in the human heart.

Photo: Temple of Pu Tuo Shan

More about China's Sacred Mountains.

Written by  Martin Gray.

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