Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

THL Title Text
Mongol Pilgrimages to Wutai Shan
Isabelle Charleux, National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)
JIATS, no. 6 (December 2011), THL #T5712, pp. 275-326


[1] Katia Buffetrille, “Montagnes sacrées, lacs et grottes. Lieux de pèlerinage dans le monde tibétain. Traditions écrites, réalités vivantes,” (Ph.D diss., Nanterre, 1996), 390.
[2] “All over Mongolia, and wherever Mongols are met with in North China, one is constantly reminded of this place. It is true that the mania which possesses the Mongols for making pilgrimages carries them to many other shrines, some of which are both celebrated and much frequented, but none of them can be compared to Wu T’ai.” James Gilmour, Among the Mongols (New York: Praeger, 1970 [1883]), 141.
[3] The terms “lamaist” and “Lamaism” – which are no longer in use in the academic world (see Donald Lopez, Prisoners of Shangri-la: Tibetan Buddhism and the West [Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press, 1998]) – would be more appropriate for these monasteries that were staffed by Tibetan, Mongol, but also Monguor and Han Chinese monks.
[4] I here use the term “lamabla mas” in current Mongolian usage (fully ordained monks in Tibeto-Mongol Buddhism), to distinguish them clearly from the monks of Chinese Buddhism. The Chinese sources on Wutai Shan use the terms monk in yellow robe (huangyi seng, 黃衣僧), lama, or foreign monk (fanseng, 番僧).
[5] Tian Pixu et al., ed., Wutai xin zhi, juan 1 and 4 (Chongshi shuyuan, 1883).
[6] See Nathalie Köhle, “Why Did the Kangxi Emperor Go to Wutai Shan?: Patronage, Pilgrimage, and the Place of Tibetan Buddhism at the Early Qing Court,” Late Imperial China 29, no. 1 (2008): 73-119.
[7] The rent and produce from their lands were their first source of income. In addition, Tibetan monasteries received larger imperial favors, as well as a tribute from Shanxi Province (Xin Butang and Zheng Fulin, “Wutai Shan simiao jingji de tansuo,” Wutai Shan yanjiu [1995, no. 3]: 28). Of the five monasteries that received the highest amounts of donations in 1936, four were Tibeto-Mongol monasteries: Tayuan Si (塔院寺, suburγan süme; 17,000 yuan), Pusa Ding (15,000 yuan), Cifu Si (慈福寺, Jamgé Lingbyams dge gling, buyan ibegegci süme; 11,000 yuan), Zhenhai Si (鎮海寺, luus-i daruγsan süme; 10,000 yuan); Xin and Zheng, “Wutai Shan simiao jingji,” 28.
[8] The six first head ruling lamas were appointed by the Manchu emperors; from the seventh on, they were appointed every sixth year by the Dalai Lama and became ambassadors for Tibetan religious affairs in China.
[9] Stele, “Qingliang Shan ji,” (1811) in Wutai Shan beiwen biane yinglian shifu xuan, edited by Zhou Zhenhua, et al. (Taiyuan: Shanxi jiaoyu chubanshe, 1998), 81.
[10] The names, dates and authors of 249 stone inscriptions are listed in Zhongguo Menggu wen gu ji zong mu bian wei hui, ed., Zhongguo Menggu wen guji zongmu (Beijing: Beijing tu shu guan chu ban she, 1999), 2141-47, n. 12610-47, and 2178-211, n. 12786-996. I thank Vladimir Uspensky and Johan Elverskog for this information. I found 91 more stone inscription on Wutai Shan.
[11] I mostly used the following accounts: Gilmour, Among the Mongols, and Rev. Joseph Edkins, Religion in China; containing a brief account of the three religions of the Chinese: with observations on the prospects of Christian conversion amongst that people (London: Trübner & Co., 1893 [1878]), who traveled together in 1872; D. Pokotilov, “Der Wu T’ai Schan und seine Klöster,” trans. from German by W. A. Unkrig, Sinica-Sonderausgabe (1935): 38-89 (U-taj, Ego prošloe I nastojaščcee, Zapiski Imp. Russk. Geogr. Obščestva po obščej geografii 22 [Saint-Petersbourg, 1893]: 2), who traveled in 1889; William W. Rockhill, “A Pilgrimage to the Great Buddhist Sanctuary of North China,” The Atlantic Monthly 75, no. 452 (June 1895): 758-69, who traveled in 1887 and 1908; Emil S. Fischer, The Sacred Wu Tai Shan in connection with modern travel from Tai yuan fu via Mount Wu Tai to the Mongolian border (Shanghai: Kelly and Walsh, 1923); John Blofeld, The Wheel of Life. The Autobiography of a Western Buddhist (London: Rider & co, 1959), who traveled in 1935-36; Gao Henian, Ming Shan youfang ji (Beijing: Zong jiao wen hua chu ban she, 2000 [repr.; first ed. 1949]), who traveled in 1903 and 1912; Jiang Weiqiao, “Wutai Shan jiyou,” juan 10, 1918, in Gujin youji congchao 3, ed. Lao Yi’an (Taibei: Taiwan Zhonghua shu ju, Minguo 50 [1961], 48 juan: 15-26); and Zhang Dungu, “Wutai Shan can fo riji,” Dixue zazhi 3, no. 1 (1911): 17-28, who traveled in 1911.
[12] Chou Wen-shing, “Ineffable Paths: Mapping Wutaishan in Qing Dynasty China,” The Art Bulletin 89, no. 1 (March 2007): 108-29, and this volume.
[13] The “gap” which exists between a pilgrim’s mundane experience of a holy place and visionary accounts of an environment’s sublime features has been explored by specialists of Tibetan pilgrimages (Alexander W. Macdonald, “Foreword,” in Pilgrimage in Tibet, ed. Alex McKay [Richmond (Surrey) & Leiden: Curzon Press, International Institute for Asian Studies, 1998], x).
[14] About the importance of Mañjuśrī in religious canonical texts as well as in texts and narratives used in Mongols’ daily life, see Johan Elverskog, “Wutai Shan, Qing Cosmopolitanism, and the Mongols,” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 (December 2011), http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5715\.
[15] David M. Farquhar, “Emperor as Bodhisattva in the Governance of the Ch’ing Empire,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 38, no. 2 (1978): 5-34.
[16] Farquhar, “Emperor as Bodhisattva.”
[17] Uta-yin tabun aγulan-u orusil süsüg-ten-ü cikin cimeg orusiba (“A Guide to the Five Mountains of Wutai: Ornament for the Ears of the Devotees”); see Walther Heissig, Die Pekinger Lamaistischen Blockdrucke in mongolischer Sprache. Materialien zur mongolischen Literaturgeschichte, Göttinger Asiatische Forschungen 2 (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1954), n°7, n°58. Ngawang LozangNgag dbang blo bzang was appointed by imperial order in 1659.
[18] Farquhar, “Emperor as Bodhisattva,” 30.
[19] Heissig, Die Pekinger, 12, n. 4. On the other Mongolian guidebooks, see Farquhar, “Emperor as Bodhisattva,” 30; Gray Tuttle, “Early Qing Patronage of (Tibetan) Buddhism at Wutai Shan: The Chinese Language Register,” paper read at the “Conference Wutai Shan and Qing Culture” (New York, May 12-13, 2007), Appendix 1.
[20] Harry Halén, Mirrors of the Void, Buddhist Art in the National Museum of Finland, 64 Sino-Mongolian thang ka from the Wutai Shan Workshops, a Panoramic Map of the Wutai Mountains and Objects of Diverse Origins (Helsinki: Museovirasto, 1987), 4. The tangkathang ka and the map are now in the National Museum of Finland in Helsinki.
[21] Museum of China, Anderlecht, inv. Bouddhisme/N°193, personal communication of Father Jean-Pierre Benit.
[22] Chou, “Ineffable paths,” 126, n. 2, 11, and 12; 127 n. 48, 49.
[23] Although its labels are written in Chinese and Tibetan, not in Mongolian.
[24] A painting of Wutai Shan together with seven Tibetan monasteries is found on the second floor of the Coγcin Dugang (built in 1757) of Badγar Coyiling Süme (or Aγui Yeke Onul-tu Süme, Udan Juu, Ch. Wudang Zhao, north east of Baotou). See Isabelle Charleux, Temples et monastères de Mongolie-Intérieure (Paris: Comité des Travaux Historiques et Scientifiques & Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, 2006), fig. 104 and CD-rom 63.
[25] Translation of the Chinese inscription in Chou, “Ineffable paths,” 125, “Appendix.”
[26] Chou, “Ineffable paths,” 124.
[27] A term that designates a wandering unordained practitioner who traveled for various purposes: to collect funds to build a monastery, teach and spread the Dharma, further their religious training in Tibet, or to run away from taxes and debts (C. Gocoo, “Le Badarci mongol,” trans. from Mongolian by Sarah Dars, Études Mongoles 1 [Nanterre, 1970]: 73-77).
[28] Gilmour, Among the Mongols, 151.
[29] Squares of white paper written in Tibetan containing flour and sugar, rice, and so forth, to eat as a medicine, to bring happiness, wealth and luck.
[30] Song Wenhui, “Mengzu renmin de Wutai Shan qing,” Wutai Shan yanjiu (2000, no. 3): 33; quoting a document written by a Qaracin lamabla ma and preserved in the Archives of the Qaracin Right Banner, which relates the expeditions of alms-collecting lamabla mas visiting the Qaracin Right banner in Inner Mongolia.
[31] In 1930 a certain Babu (twentieth century), after having deducted his traveling expenses, brought back 1,300 silver dollars to his monastery (Song, “Mengzu renmin,” 33).
[32] Song, “Mengzu renmin,” 33.
[33] John Blofeld met a fund-raising monk from Wutai Shan in Beijing around 1936-37 (The Wheel of Life, 96-97).
[34] Gilmour, Among the Mongols, 149.
[35] Gilmour, Among the Mongols, 151.
[36] See Kurtis R. Schaeffer, “Tibetan Poetry on Wutai Shan,” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 (December 2011), http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5719.
[37] However, in 1900, A. W. S. Wingate, “Nine Years’ Survey and Exploration in Northern and Central China (Continued),” The Geographical Journal 29, no. 3 (March 1907): 276, noticed a “large falling off in the number of Mongol pilgrims” and consequently “a heavy shortage in the amount of contributions,” and gave as explanation the scarcity of water along the routes.
[38] Elverskog, “Wutai Shan, Qing Cosmopolitanism, and the Mongols”; Zhongguo Menggu wen gu ji zong mu bian wei hui, ed., Zhongguo Menggu wen, 2141-47, n°12610-12647, and 2178-211, n°12786-996, and personal observation.
[39] The Mongols of China include the Mongols of the Eight Manchu banners as well as the Mongols living in China since the Ming dynasty. I have no information on Monguor and Manchu pilgrims.
[40] Since seventy percent of the stone inscriptions are located in Shifang Tang (see below), this could mean that the Sünid Mongols stayed in Shifang Tang and used to carve a stone to record their donations, while other Mongol groups did not.
[41] Also called Guangren Si (廣仁寺, Nupchok Kündü Lingnub phyogs kun ’dus gling, örüsiyel-i badaraγuluγci süme), founded by a monk from the ChonéCo ne Monastery in AmdoA mdo, and staffed by Tibetan lamabla mas.
[42] Antoine Mostaert (cicm), “Matériaux ethnographiques relatifs aux Mongols Ordos,” Central Asiatic Journal 2 (1956), 289.
[43] Charles Bawden, ed., The Jebtsundamba Khutukhtus of Urga (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1961, Asiatische Forschungen, 9), 56, 58.
[44] As recorded in the stele “Qingliang Shan beiji,” in Wutai Shan bei wen, edited by Zhou, et al., 81. On imperial tours to Wutai Shan in general, see Köhle, “Why Did the Kangxi Emperor,” and on the Jiaqing emperor’s tour to Wutai Shan, see Patricia Berger, “The Jiaqing Emperor’s Magnificent Record of the Western Tour\,” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 (December 2011), http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5711.
[45] For a discussion of “orthodox” benefits (notions of karma and accumulation of merit) and less “orthodox” ones (such as good luck, purification of sins, transgressions and pollution, life energy, longevity) in Tibetan pilgrimages, see Toni Huber, The Cult of Pure Crystal Mountain: Popular Pilgrimage and Visionary Landscape in Southeast Tibet (New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 10, 16-19.
[46] Gilmour, Among the Mongols, 143.
[47] Song, “Mengzu renmin,” 34.
[48] Alex McKay, “Introduction,” in Pilgrimage in Tibet, ed. Alex McKay (Richmond [Surrey] & Leiden: Curzon Press, International Institute for Asian Studies, 1998), 1; a similar definition is given by Susan Naquin and Yü Chün-fang, “Introduction,” in Pilgrims and Sacred Sites in China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), 3.
[49] According to the Lazarist fathers Huc and Gabet, who did not actually visit Wutai Shan: “The most celebrated seat of Mongol burials is in the province of Chan-Si [Shanxi], at the famous Lamasery of Five Towers (Ou-Tay) [Wu-t’ai]. According to the Tartars, the Lamasery of the Five Towers is the best place you can be buried in. The ground in it is so holy, that those who are so fortunate as to be interred there are certain of a happy transmigration thence. The marvellous sanctity of this place is attributed to the presence of Buddha, who for some centuries past has taken up his abode there in the interior of the mountain. In 1842 the noble Tokoura, of whom we have already had occasion to speak, conveying the bones of his father and mother to the Five Towers, had the infinite happiness to behold there the venerable Buddha. […] it is certain that the Tartars and the Thibetians have given themselves to an inconceivable degree of fanaticism in reference to the Lamasery of the Five Towers. You frequently meet, in the deserts of Tartary, Mongols carrying on their shoulders the bones of their parents to the Five Towers, to purchase almost at its weight in gold, a few feet of earth, whereon they may raise a small mausoleum” (Régis Evariste Huc [1813-1860], Travels in Tartary, Thibet and China, 1844-1846 [trans. by William Hazlitt; ed. with an introduction by Professor Paul Pelliot, London: Routledge, 2 vols., 1928 (repr.; first ed. 1924)], 93-94).
[50] 1 chi = 0.32 meters.
[51] Guangxu, ed., Qinding Lifanyuan zeli, compiled in 1811, 64 juan (1890): 16, s. l., juan 59.
[52] Song, “Mengzu renmin,” 34.
[53] Bai Meichu, Zhonghua Minguo shengqu quanzhi (Beijing: Beiping Shifan Daxue shi di xi, 1925, vol. 3: “Lu Yu Jin sansheng zhi”), 154.
[54] Zhang, “Wutai Shan can fo,” 25.
[55] Bai, Zhonghua minguo, 92.
[56] It was organized at the foot of Dailuo Ding near Taihuai, but was moved to the pastures facing Zhenhai Si during the twentieth century.
[57] Han Heping, and Wang Miao, Wutai Shan (Hong Kong: Xianggang Zhongguo lü you chu ban she), 1999, 98-99.
[58] The Pusa Ding, “Bodhisattva’s Ushnisha Monastery” or “Bodhisattva’s Peak Monastery” (Bodisadua-yin Orgil), was built during the Yongle (永乐, r. 1403-1424) reign on the old Da Wenshu Si or Zhenrong Yuan that sheltered the “true image” of Mañjuśrī. It was the residence of the head ruling lama and thus the GelukpaDge lugs pa principal monastery, sponsored by the Manchu emperors.
[59] Bai, Zhonghua minguo, 92; Xin and Zheng, “Wutai Shan simiao jingji,” 30.
[60] The production of wooden bowls made from outgrowths of willow roots, particularly prized by Mongols and Tibetans, has continued up to the present day; they were reputed to be unbreakable, stay cold when containing hot food and during the summer, and were used to store meat and oil because they had preserving qualities (Han, and Wang, Wutai Shan, 96).
[61] Bai, Zhonghua minguo, 92; Blofeld, The Wheel of Life, 123; Edkins, Religion in China, 237-38; Rockhill, “A Pilgrimage,” 767; Pokotilov, “Der Wu T’ai Schan.”
[62] Bai, Zhonghua minguo, 92.
[63] Jiang, Wutai Shan jiyou, 22.
[64] Yan Tianling, “Menggu ren ‘chao tai’ yu Meng Han gou jian,” Wutai Shan yanjiu (2004, no. 1): 42-43.
[65] Valrae Reynolds, “A Sino-Mongolian-Tibetan Buddhist Appliqué in the Newark Museum,” Orientations 21, no. 4 (April 1990): 32-38.
[66] Yan (“Menggu ren ‘chao tai’”) – quoting Zhang, “Wutai Shan can fo,” and Bai, Zhonghua minguo, 92 – showed that Wutai Shan became an important center of interaction between the Mongols and the Han. The lamabla mas learned to speak Chinese, and the Shanxi traders learned to speak Mongolian.
[67] As do most of the Christian missionaries, James Gilmour (Among the Mongols, 149) takes the Mongols’ defense: “There is no more severe test of the earnestness of the religious devotion of the Mongols than their being willing thus to journey for days through the country of unsympathetic Chinamen, whose language they do not understand, and who lie in wait for their money, ready to fleece them at every turn…”
[68] The pilgrimage road from Mongolia crosses the northern part of Shanxi: Longsheng Zhuang (Fengzhen District [Fengzhen Xian, 豐鎮]), Datong, Ying District (Ying Xian, 應縣), Fanzhi District, Taihuai.
[69] Blofeld, The Wheel of Life, 114-55; Yan, “Menggu ren ‘chao tai’,” 42. Even the Torgut Mongols “perform journeys occupying a whole year, and attended with immense difficulty, to visit for this purpose [burying the bones of their deceased parents] the province of Chen-Si” (Huc, Travels in Tartary, 94).
[70] In modern Mongol pilgrimages and temple fairs, dismounting one’s horse at a certain distance from the monastery is very important and is seen as particularly praiseworthy for Mongols who hate walking for long distances, and who wear boots unsuitable for walking.
[71] Pokotilov, “Der Wu T’ai Schan und seine Klöster.”
[72] Gilmour, Among the Mongols, 149.
[73] Blofeld, The Wheel of Life, 122.
[74] Gilmour, Among the Mongols, 149.
[75] Gilmour, Among the Mongols, 149; Yan, “Menggu ren ‘chao tai.’”
[76] Victor Turner, and Edith Turner, Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture: Anthropological Perspectives (New York: Columbia University Press, 1978), 7-9.
[77] Turner and Turner, Image and Pilgrimage, 7. For a discussion of Turner and Turner’s arguments: Simon Coleman, and John Eade, eds., “Introduction,” in Reframing Pilgrimage: Cultures in Motion (London, New York: Routledge, 2004).
[78] Wutai xin zhi, juan 3, 9b.
[79] Lao Li, “Dao Wutai Shan qu baifo,” Bao lin 1 (2004): 99, figures for the early twentieth century. In July 2007, two thousand monks came for the sixth month festival from AmdoA mdo, Tibet, and Inner Mongolia.
[80] Blofeld, The Wheel of Life, 131-44.
[81] Wei Guozuo, Wutai Shan daoyou (Beijing: Zhongguo lü you chu ban she, 1993 [1988]), 77-78; Zhao Peicheng, “Shitan Wutai Shan Zang chuan fo jiao yu jin gang shen wu,” Xinzhou Shifan Xueyuan xuebao 20, no. 4 (August 2004): 38-40. For a description by a Chinese eye witness in 1905, see Gao, Ming Shan youfang, 65.
[82] Zhang, “Wutai Shan can fo,” 24.
[83] Nowadays, the monks and pilgrims who come for at least a month rent a room in the “Tibetan suburb” north of the village. In 2007 a five-bed room in a courtyard could be rented for three hundred yuan per month.
[84] Fischer, The Sacred Wu Tai Shan.
[85] Christopher Irving, “Wu-Ta’i-Shan and the Dalai Lama,” New China Review (May 1919), 157.
[86] Jamgé Lingbyams dge gling, built by the head ruling lama of Pusa Ding.
[87] Cai Hong, “Shifang Tang,” Wutai Shan yanjiu (1999, no. 1): 23-25.
[88] Henry Payne, “Lamaism on Wutai shan,” Chinese Recorder 60, no. 8 (1929): 508, relates in 1929 that a Mongol prince visited Wutai Shan every year and brought large sums of money for the upkeep of the monasteries, and that the three large temples under construction were all being built using funds from votive offerings from Mongolia and Manchuria. Mongol princes also restored temples at Nārayāna Cave (Naluoyan Ku, 那羅延窟), Lingying Si, Falei Si at the Western Terrace, and Puji Si at the Southern Terrace (Gao, Ming Shan youfang, 115-7, 120).
[89] Blofeld, The Wheel of Life, 128-129.
[90] Blofeld, The Wheel of Life, 126.
[91] Wei, Wutai Shan daoyou, 167.
[92] Anning Jing, “The Portraits of Khubilai Khan and Chabi by Anige (1245-1306), a Nepali Artist at the Yuan Court,” Artibus Asiae 54, nos. 1-2 (1994), 55.
[93] “Chongxiu Tayuan Si sheli baota beiwen,” in Bei Xin, “Tayuan Si beiwen,” Wutai Shan yanjiu (1996, no. 4): 39-40.
[94] “Namo Amituofo”, in Bei, “Tayuan Si beiwen,” 40.
[95] “Yongyuan liufang”, in Bei, “Tayuan Si beiwen,” 40.
[96] “Chongxiu baota beiji”, in Bei, “Tayuan Si beiwen,” 42.
[97] See the description of pilgrims rich and poor alike circumambulating the giant stūpa, reciting prayers, telling their beads, turning prayer-wheels, and prostrating on a plank in the direction of the stūpa: Blofeld, The Wheel of Life, 128-29; Payne, “Lamaism on Wutai shan,” 509; Gao, Ming shan youfang, 109-10 (who traveled in 1912).
[98] Blofeld, The Wheel of Life, 130.
[99] Jiang, Wutai Shan jiyou, 21.
[100] “Monastery of Rāhu(la)” (Śākyamuni’s son), an old Tang monastery rebuilt under the Ming, and staffed by Chinese lamabla mas in the Qing dynasty.
[101] Wei, Wutai Shan daoyou, 61-64.
[102] The lotus already existed in the seventeenth century. There was a similar lotus at Yansui Ge in the Yonghe Gong of Beijing (now lost).
[103] Delege, Nei Menggu lamajiao shi (Kökeqota: Nei Menggu ren min chu ban she, 1998), 350.
[104] Gao, Ming Shan youfang, 119.
[105] Delege, Nei Menggu lamajiao shi, 350.
[106] Previously called Puning Si (普寧寺), rebuilt and renamed Yuanzhao Si (圓照寺, Küntu Khyappé Lhakhangkun tu khyab pa’i lha khang, tegüs geyigülügci süme) in the Ming dynasty to house a twenty-three meters high white stūpa erected in 1434 to contain the ashes of an Indian monk who visited Beijing under the Yongle emperor and received the title of Imperial Preceptor.
[107] Fischer, The Sacred Wu Tai Shan, 10.
[108] An old Chan monastery located south of Dabai Cun founded under the Tang dynasty and rebuilt several times under the Yuan, Ming, and Qing. It sheltered the highest and most revered statue of Mañjuśrī at Wutai Shan, said to imitate (or was sometimes mistaken for) the original statue of the Zhenrong Yuan.
[109] Lao, “Dao Wutai Shan,” 100. Song, “Mengzu renmin,” 34, records that old lamabla mas of the Qaracin Banner in Inner Mongolia remember some of the highlights of Wutai Shan: they stayed in the Shifang Tang, climbed to Pusa Ding, admired the stele of the begging Mañjuśrī at Yuanzhao Si, and saw the portrait of Mañjuśrī with the “head made of buckwheat” at Shuxiang Si. There are several stories in the Chinese folklore about a statue’s head (said to have been) made of a cereal. About the Shuxiang Si statue: the sculptor who made the statue of Mañjuśrī could not make the head because nobody had seen the true face of Mañjuśrī. The abbot and then all the monks were fighting with him because they wanted the statue to be completed. Then a cook said it was useless to fight about that because Mañjuśrī’s face could be done as one likes. Mañjuśrī then appeared (in the kitchen); the sculptor had no time to find his tools and quickly made the head with buckwheat according to what he was seeing. This is just a more detailed story of the Mañjuśrī statue located in the Zhenrong Yuan, the temple of the “True face.” But at that time this statue had disappeared. The Shuxiang Si statue was the most important statue of Wutai Shan; it was believed to be a “true portrait” comparable to the Sandalwood statue of Beijing. It was this statue and this temple that Qianlong chose to copy for his Beijing and Chengde temples.
[110] Located at Yangbaiyu Village (Yangbaiyu Cun, 楊柏峪村), south of Taihuai, it was the main monastery of the Zhangjia Qutuγtu. The Zhenhai Si received exceptional imperial favors.
[111] In the Dailuo Ding monastery the pilgrims could worship copies of the Mañjuśrī statues of the five peaks. It was called the small pilgrimage to the terraces (xiao chaotai, 小朝臺), and was an alternative to actually going to the peaks.
[112] See the list in Wei, Wutai Shan daoyou, 188.
[113] Commandant d’Ollone, Les Derniers barbares. Chine, Tibet, Mongolie (Paris: Pierre Lafitte & Co., 1911), 362.
[114] Robert B. Ekvall, Religious Observances in Tibet: Patterns and Functions (Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press, 1964), 241; Buffetrille, “Montagnes sacrées”; Caroline Humphrey, “Chiefly and Shamanist Landscapes in Mongolia,” in The Anthropology of Landscape: Perspectives on Place and Space, ed. Eric Hirsch, and Michael O’Hanlon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 135-162. On caves in Buddhist scriptures and traditions: Rolf Stein, Grottes-matrices et lieux saints de la déesse en Asie Orientale (Paris: École Française d’Extrême-Orient, 1988); Raoul Birnbaum, “Secret Halls of the Mountain Lords: the Caves of Wu-t’ai shan,” Cahiers d’Extrême-Asie 5 (Kyôto, 1989-1990): 118-20.
[115] Zhao Gaiping, and Hou Huiming, “Jian lun Qing dai qian qi de Wutai Shan Zang chuan fo jiao,” Xizang Minzu Xueyuan xuebao 1 (2006): 28-32. On this cave see also Birnbaum, “Secret Halls,” 134.
[116] Piotr Klafkowski, ed., The Secret Deliverance of the Sixth Dalai-Lama as Narrated by Dharmatāla (Wien: Viener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde, Universität Wien, 1979); Michael Aris, Hidden Treasures and Secret Lives: A Study of Pemalingpa (1450-1521) and the Sixth Dalai Lama (1683-1706) (London & New York: Kegan Paul International, 1989).
[117] Quoted by Wei, Wutai Shan daoyou, 117-19.
[118] “Pour obtenir des enfants, les femmes qui en ont les moyens ont souvent recours à des pèlerinages, soit au Ou t’ai chan (Chansi), soit à un autre endroit de pèlerinage renommé…” (Mostaert, “Matériaux,” 292). A famous place to ask for children in Mongolia was the shrine of Isi Qatun (d. 1252) – Esi Qatun, the “Lady-mother,” Sorqaqtani Begi (d. 1252), Qubilai Qan’s (1215-1294) mother – in Ordos Vang Banner (Hidehiro Okada, “The Chakhar Shrine of Eshi Khatun,” in Aspects of Altaic Civilizations 3, ed. Denis Sinor [Bloomington: Indiana University, 1990: 176-86]).
[119] See Birnbaum, “Secret Halls,” 134-35.
[120] Reynolds, “A Sino-Mongolian,” 38.
[121] Laozang Danba (老藏丹巴, Lozang Tenpablo bzang bstan pa, 1632-84), Qingliang Shan xin zhi, 1694, reprint in 1701, 10 juan, in Qingliang Shan zhi san zhong, edited by Gugong bo wu yuan (Haikou shi: Hainan chubanshe, 2001), juan 2, 2a. Half a dozen similar modern stories are told by An Jianhua, “Bei Xin guyue du zhongsheng,” Wutai Shan yanjiu (2002, no. 2): 27; An Jianhua, “Chao bai Fomu Dong,” Wutai Shan yanjiu (2003, no. 2): 33. Most of them embellish and develop the Qingliang Shan xin zhi story.
[122] Ferdinand D. Lessing, “The Question of Nicodemus,” in Studia Altaica: Festschrift für N. Poppe (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1957), 95, 97.
[123] According to Lessing’s Russian informant (“The Question,” 95) and Gao (Ming Shan youfang, 119). Birnbaum (“Secret Halls,” 139, n. 71) finds this difficult to accept.
[124] See also a description of the cave and its ritual in Birnbaum, “Secret Halls,” 137-40.
[125] Birnbaum, “Secret Halls,” 139-40.
[126] Gao, Ming Shan youfang, 119-20.
[127] Birnbaum, “Secret Halls,” 138, n. 70.
[128] See Stein, Grottes-matrices, 10.
[129] Zhang Minghui, “Fomu Dong,” Haiyan-Petrel 3 (2005): 36; An, “Chao bai”; Zhang Guixiang, “Fomu Dong tan qi,” Wutai Shan yanjiu (1999, no. 1): 35-36; Zhang, “Fomu Dong,” and personal observations.
[130] See his biography: An, “Bei Xin.”
[131] Lessing, “The Question,” 95.
[132] Stein, Grottes-matrices, 5.
[133] Qinding Qingliang Shan xin zhi: expanded edition of Laozang Danba’s Qingliang Shan xin zhi, in 22 juan, compiled by imperial order of 1785, published in the palace in 1811, ed. Gugong bowuyuan (ed.), Qingliang Shan zhi san zhong, juan 9, 12a.
[134] Rol pa’i rdo rje, Ri bo dwangs bsil dkar chag mjugs ma tshang pa, text orally transmitted by Rol pa’i rdo rje, trans. into Chinese by Wen Jinyu, “Sheng di Qingliang Shan zhi,” Wutai Shan yanjiu (1990, no. 2): 10.
[135] Ono Katsutoshi and Hibino Takao, Godaishan (Tôkyô: Zayuhô Kankôkai, 1942).
[136] Lessing, “The Question,” 95.
[137] Lessing, “The Question,” 97. In Khövsgöl Aimag (Mongolia), the womb-cave ritual at Dayan Deerkh [Dayan Degereki] cave appeared as abhorrent to the local lamabla mas, who tried to contain and neutralize its power (G. P. Galdanova, L. N. Zhukovskaya, and G. N. Ochirova, “The Cult of Dayan Derkhe in Mongolia and Buryatia,” trans. by C. Humphrey, Journal of the Anglo-Mongolian Society 9, nos. 1-2 [1984]: 1-11; Humphrey, “Chiefly and Shamanist Landscapes,” 149-150).
[138] In Japan: Helen Hardacre, “The Cave and the Womb World,” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 10, nos. 2-3 (1983): 149-76.
[139] Francois Bizot, “La grotte de la naissance: Recherches sur le Bouddhisme Khmer II,” Bulletin de l’École Française d’Extrême-Orient 67 (1980): 221-69.
[140] This inscription is not to be seen anymore, but a damaged Mongolian inscription still stands on the site.
[141] See Stein, Grottes-matrices, 11-15; Ekvall, Religious Observances, 241; Buffetrille, “Montagnes sacrées,” 367-370; Huber, The Cult of Pure Crystal Mountain, 19; Corneille Jest (personal communication).
[142] Katia Buffetrille, “The Halase-Maratika Caves (Eastern Nepal): A Sacred Place Claimed by Both Hindus and Buddhists,” in Pondy Papers in Social Sciences 16 (Pondichéry: Institut Français de Pondichéry, 1994), 9-12; Stein, Grottes-matrices.
[143] There is apparently no association with mother-Earth and demand for children in Tibet and the Himalayas.
[144] As shown by Lessing, sin is imagined as something material, to be scrapped off, physically removed, by crawling through a narrow passage; a physical effort is needed to free oneself from sin.
[145] For Humphrey (“Chiefly and Shamanist Landscapes,” 150), the cave ritual belongs to shamanic spirit cults; its power deriving “from the untamed sexual drives of the female spirits within.” Now this can also be the shamans’ interpretation of an old popular ritual.
[146] A famous one is Tövgön khiid in Övörkhangai Province, the hermitage of the First Jebcündamba Qutuγtu, built next to a womb-cave called Eke-yin Kebeli, “the Mother’s Belly.”
[147] Or the Monastery of the Caves (aγui-yin süme, Agui Miao, 阿貴廟), in Alašan Territory (present-day Dengkou District).
[148] Isabelle Charleux, “Padmasambhava’s Travel to the North: The Pilgrimage to the Monastery of the Caves and the Old Schools of Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia,” Central Asiatic Journal 46, no. 2 (2002): 168-232. In Tibet too, the ritual caves are linked with NyingmapaRnying ma pa teachings and lore about Padmasambhava (eighth century). The Alkanay womb-cave is also linked to Padmasambhava.
[149] This is not completely true according to Kristopher Schipper (personal communication). There exists for instance a Chinese womb-cave at Tianlong Shan, southwest of Taihuai, not far from Wutai Shan (I thank Vincent Durand-Dastès for this information).
[150] A twelve-year-old boy crossed the mountain by the tunnel cave daily to reach the distant place where he studied; on a rainy night his mother went to wait for him with an umbrella, saw a strange light on the mountain, and her son suddenly appeared in front of her, with dry clothes on. He said that he had gone through the cave with an old woman leading travelers. The mother saw the cave and understood that the old woman was Buddha’s mother saving people (Zhang, “Fomu Dong,” 35).
[151] Stein, Grottes-matrices, 6-9; Birnbaum, “Secret Halls,” 120.
[152] Chinese grotto-heavens are celestial microcosms, places of initiation and refuge from civilization (Franciscus Verellen, “The Beyond Within: Grotto-Heavens (Dongtian) in Taoist Ritual and Cosmology,” Cahiers d’Extrême-Asie 8 [1995]: 265-90). On a similar cave in AmdoA mdo: Lawrence Epstein, and Peng Wenbin, “Ganja and Murdo: The Social Construction of Space at Two Pilgrimage Sites in Eastern Tibet,” Tibet Journal, Special Edition: Powerful Places and Spaces in Tibetan Religious Culture, 19, no. 2 (1994): 21-45.
[153] It was destroyed by canon fire and turned into a “holiday hideaway” for Lin Biao. An artificial corridor leading to a semi-buried stūpa has been rebuilt.
[154] The dragon king of the northern or eastern sea was seduced by a pretty young girl who was bathing in the sea’s eye (haiyan) spring; when he tried to kidnap her she asked for Mañjuśrī’s help. The furious dragon king provoked the flooding that was stopped by the Bodhisattva (Wei, Wutai Shan daoyou, 128-34; Zhou Zhuying, “Zhenhai Si de jianzhu yu caisu yishu,” Wutai Shan yanjiu [2003, no. 4]: 15-22).
[155] Wei, Wutai Shan daoyou, 196-97.
[156] Gao, Ming Shan youfang, 115, 117.
[157] L. C. Arlington, and William Lewisohn, In Search of Old Peking (Hong Kong, Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 1987 [Peking: Vetch, 1935]).
[158] Katia Buffetrille, “The Blue Lake of A-mdo and its Island: Legends and Pilgrimage Guide,” in Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places in Tibetan Culture: A Collection of Essays, edited by Toni Huber (Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1999), 105-24.
[159] See examples in Robert B. Ekvall, and James F. Downs, Tibetan Pilgrimage (Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, 1987); N. J. Allen, “‘And the Lake Drained Away’: An Essay in Himalayan Comparative Mythology,” in Mandala and Landscape, ed. Alexander Macdonald (New Delhi: D. K. Printworld, 1997): 435-51.
[160] Huber, The Cult of Pure Crystal Mountain, 38.
[161] Laozang Danba, Qingliang Shan xin zhi; Gao, Ming Shan youfang, 63.
[162] Wei, Wutai Shan daoyou, 135-36.
[163] Gao, Ming Shan youfang, 114.
[164] Gilmour, Among the Mongols, 147.
[165] Where a bull demon king converted to Buddhism and killed himself at this place, and was changed into a stone (Lao, “Dao Wutai Shan,” 102).
[166] Gao, Ming Shan youfang, 119.
[167] Jiang, Wutai Shan jiyou, 24.
[168] Stein, Grottes-matrices, 3.
[169] Charleux, “Padmasambhava’s Travel to the North.”
[170] Birnbaum, “Secret Halls,” 138, n. 70.
[171] Or Gilubar-un Aγui, also called Aru Juu (Houzhao Miao, 後召廟), in Baγarin Left Banner, Chifeng Municipality (Chifeng Shi, 赤峰市). For the history of this monastery: Charleux, Temples et monastères, CD-rom 136.
[172] Antoine Mostaert, cicm., ed., Textes oraux ordos (Peking: Université catholique de Pékin, 1937, Monumenta Serica, Monograph Series, 1), 141.
[173] Aleksej Matveevič Pozdneev, Mongolia and the Mongols 2, trans. from Russian by W. Dougherty (Bloomington: Mouton & Co., 1977 [Saint-Petersburg: 1896-1898]), 277.
[174] Such as the guide-book of the Yeke Juu or Vang-un Гoul-un Juu, an important pilgrimage site in Ordos: S. Narasun and Temürbaγatur, eds., Ordus-un süme keyid, Mongγul ündüsüten-ü süme keyid-ün bürin ciγulγa 5 (Hailar: Öbür Mongγul-un soyul-un keblel-ün qoriya, 2000), 371-91.
[175] The monasteries of GandenDga’ ldan, Drepung’Bras spungs (GomangSgo mang college), LabrangBla brang, KumbumSku ’bum, Gönlung JamlingDgon lung byams pa gling had strong links with Mongol monasteries, which was not the case for the Wutai Shan monasteries. For traveling monks, Wutai Shan was only one stop in their pilgrimage circuits including AmdoA mdo, Central Tibet, Urga, and sometimes India. As shown by Paul Nietupski for the monks of LabrangBla brang (Paul K. Nietupski, “Bla brang Monastery and Wutai Shan,” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 [December 2011], http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5718), the motivations of Mongol monks in visiting Wutai Shan were probably more political than spiritual, although this question certainly deserves further study.

Note Citation for Page

Isabelle Charleux, “Mongol Pilgrimages to Wutai Shan in the Late Qing Dynasty,” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 (December 2011): , http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5712 (accessed ).

Note Citation for Whole Article

Isabelle Charleux, “Mongol Pilgrimages to Wutai Shan in the Late Qing Dynasty,” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 (December 2011): 275-326, http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5712 (accessed ).

Bibliography Citation

Charleux, Isabelle. “Mongol Pilgrimages to Wutai Shan in the Late Qing Dynasty.” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 (December 2011): 275-326. http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5712 (accessed ).