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The Sacred Mountains of China are divided into two groups, one associated with Taoism and the other with Buddhism. The group associated with Taoism is known as the Five Great Mountains (simplified Chinese: traditional Chinese: ; ||pinyin]]: yuè), whereas the group associated with Buddhism is referred to as the Four Sacred Mountains of Buddhism (Chinese: 四大佛教名山; ||pinyin]]: jiào Míngshān).

The sacred mountains of both groups have been important destinations for pilgrimage, the Chinese expression for pilgrimage (simplified Chinese: traditional Chinese: ; ||pinyin]]: cháoshèng) is a shortened version of an expression which means literally "paying respect to a holy mountain" (simplified Chinese: traditional Chinese: ; ||pinyin]]: cháobài shèng shān).

Map sacred mountains of china

Map of the sacred mountains of China, red circles: taoist group, magenta stars: buddhist group.

The Five Great Mountains

The Taoist Five Great Mountains are arranged according to the five cardinal directions of Chinese geomancy, which includes the center as a direction:

East: Tài Shān

simplified Chinese: 泰山traditional Chinese: 泰山; literally "Leading Peaceful Mountain", Shāndōng Province, 1,545 m, 36°15′N 117°06′E / 36.25°N 117.1°E / 36.25; 117.1

West: Huà Shān

simplified Chinese: 华山traditional Chinese: 華山; literally "Splendid Mountain", Shănxī Province, 1,997 m 34°29′N 110°05′E / 34.483°N 110.083°E / 34.483; 110.083

South: (Nán) Héng Shān

simplified Chinese: 衡山traditional Chinese: 衡山; literally "Balancing Mountain", Húnán Province, 1,290 m, 27°15′17″N 112°39′21″E / 27.254798°N 112.655743°E / 27.254798; 112.655743

North: (Běi) Héng Shān

simplified Chinese: 恒山traditional Chinese: 恆山; literally "Permanent Mountain", Shānxī Province, 2,017 m, 38°35′N 112°54′E / 38.583°N 112.9°E / 38.583; 112.9

Center: Sōng Shān

simplified Chinese: 嵩山traditional Chinese: 嵩山; literally "Lofty Mountain", Hénán Province, 1,494 m, 34°29′5″N 112°57′37″E / 34.48472°N 112.96028°E / 34.48472; 112.96028

Alternatively, these mountains are sometimes referred to by the respective directions, i.e., as the "Northern Great Mountain" (北嶽/北岳 Běi Yuè), "Southern Great Mountain" (南嶽/南岳 Nán Yuè), "Eastern Great Mountain" (東嶽/东岳 Dōng Yuè), "Western Great Mountain" (西嶽/西岳 Xī Yuè), and "Central Great Mountain" (中嶽/中岳 Zhōng Yuè).

According to Chinese mythology, the Five Great Mountains originated from the limbs and the head of Pangu (盤古/盘古 Pángǔ), the first being and creator of the world. Because of its eastern location, Mount Tài is associated with the rising sun which signifies birth and renewal. Due to this interpretation, it is often regarded as the most sacred of the Five Great Mountains. In accordance with its special position, Mount Tài is believed to have been formed out of Pangu's head.

The Four Sacred Mountains of Buddhism

Jiuhuashan Roushen Temple

The Roushen Temple at Jiuhua Shan

The Buddhist Four Sacred Mountains in China are:

Wǔtái Shān

simplified Chinese: 五台山traditional Chinese: 五臺山; literally "Five-Terrace (Plateau) Mountain", Shānxī Province, 3,058 m, 39°0′N 113°35′E / 39°N 113.583°E / 39; 113.583

Éméi Shān

simplified Chinese: 峨眉山traditional Chinese: 峨眉山; literally "Delicate-Eyebrow Mountain", Sìchuān Province, 3,099 m, 29°31′11″N 103°19′57″E / 29.51972°N 103.3325°E / 29.51972; 103.3325

Jiǔhuá Shān

simplified Chinese: 九华山traditional Chinese: 九華山; literally "Nine-Glories Mountain", Ānhuī Province, 1,341 m, 30°28′56″N 117°48′16″E / 30.48222°N 117.80444°E / 30.48222; 117.80444

Pǔtuó Shān

simplified Chinese: 普陀山traditional Chinese: 普陀山; literally "Potalaka (Potala) Mountain"), Zhèjiāng Province, 284 m 30°00′35″N 122°23′06″E / 30.00972°N 122.385°E / 30.00972; 122.385

See also

Other mountains with spiritual/religious significance in China are:

External links

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