Tibetan and Mongolian Monasteries on Wutai shan
Despite the fact that Wutai shan is a mountain site, it is man-made structures, the monasteries, which were at the heart of religious activity on Wutai shan as well as the focus of pilgrimage in their own right. The GelukDge lugs monastic order has ten major Tibetan and Mongolian monasteries on Wutai shan: Pusa ding Monastery (Pusa ding, 菩薩頂, Jangchup Sempé Porbyang chub sems dpa’i spor; Fig. 4, no. 14), Rāhula Temple (Luohou si, 羅睺寺, Drachendzingyi Lhakhangsgra gcan ’dzin gyi lha khang; Fig. 4, no. 41), Temple of Longevity and Tranquility (Shouning si, 壽寧寺, Takten Dechen Lingrtag brtan bde chen gling; Fig. 4, no. 72), Sanquan Monastery (Sanquan si, 三泉寺, Chupmik Sumdré Lingchub mig gsum ’dres gling; Fig. 4, no. 73), Qifo si (七佛寺, Sanggyé Rapdün Gönsangs rgyas rabs bdun dgon; Fig. 4, no. 25), Cave of Sudhana (Shancai dong, 善財洞, Norzang Druppuknor bzang sgrub phug; Fig. 4, no. 69), Tailu Monastery (Tailu si 臺麓寺; Fig. 4, no. 70), Vajra Cave (Jingang ku, 金剛窟, Dorjé Pukrdo rje phug; Fig. 4, no. 58), Yuhua Pond (Yuhua chi, 玉花池; Fig. 4, no. 71), and Yongquan Monastery (Yongquan si, 湧泉寺; Fig. 4, no. 33). All were said to have been converted from Chinese Buddhist to GelukDge lugs temples in 1683 or 1705.111 There are a total of twenty-five Tibetan and Mongolian monasteries on Wutai shan (the vast majority being GelukDge lugs institutions), which also include: Shifang Hall (Shifang tang, 十方堂, Drupchok Kündü Linggrub phyogs kun ’dus gling; also called Guangren si, 廣仁寺; Fig. 4, no. 67), Yuanzhao si (圓照寺, Küntu Khyappé LhakhangKun tu khyab pa’i lha khang; Fig. 4, no. 66), Cifu si (慈福寺, Jamgé Lingbyams dge gling; Fig. 4, no. 21), Taming the Ocean Monastery (Zhenhai si, 鎮海寺, Gyatso Dülwé Lingrgya mtsho ’dul ba’i gling; Fig. 4, no. 37), Cave of Avalokiteśvara (Guanyin dong, 观音洞, Chenrezikkyi Pukspyan ras gzigs kyi phug; Fig. 4, no. 43), Tiewa Temple (Tiewa si, 铁瓦寺, Lhakhang Chaktokchen Jawalha khang lcags thog can bya ba; Fig. 4, no. 74), Santa Monastery (Santa si, 三塔寺, Chörten Sumpé Lingmchod rten gsum pa’i gling; Fig. 4, no. 16) and the Pule yuan (普樂院, Kündé Tselkun bde tshal; Fig. 4, no. 22). There are also twenty-five monasteries that do not seem to appear on the map, including: Guanghua Monastery (Guanghuahou si, 廣化睺寺, Yongdül Lingyongs ’dul gling), Jifu Monastery (Jifu [page 44] si, 集福寺, Getsok Lingdge tshogs gling), Pushou Monastery (Pushou si, 普壽寺, Künpak Lingkun dpag gling), Wente Monastery (Wente si, 文特寺), Yunai Temple (Yunai An, 魚耐庵), Nange Temple (Nange miao, 南閣庙), and Pu’an Monastery (Pu’an si, 普安寺).112 Some of these later temples were built after the blocks for the map were carved in 1846 and therefore not represented.
Because many of the Tibetan and Mongolian monasteries on Wutai shan were converted from Chinese institutions, their architecture is typically Chinese, modeled on palace architecture, with tiled hip-gabled roofs. Other distinctive features distinguish these Chinese temple formats from typical Tibetan monastic layouts, such as bell and drum towers. Contrasting with the Chinese architecture of the buildings, the stūpas are constructed in a Tibetan style (Fig. 18).113 Inside the buildings is often found a mixture of Tibetan and Chinese images (Fig. 2?). In some cases this confluence of cultures can be seen within single objects, such as a large appliqué of a Tibetan master made with Chinese artistic techniques (Cat. 28), which was meant to hang in just such a monastery: Cave of Sudhana (Shancai dong, 善財洞, Norzang Druppuknor bzang sgrub phug; Fig. 4, no. 69).114
This meeting and mixing of Chinese and Tibetan culture at the monasteries of Wutai shan extends well beyond the external aesthetics to the clergy and congregation as well. As Tuttle reveals below, Wutai shan had a vibrant community of ethnic Chinese practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism, who appear participating in the central ritual activity of the map (Cat. 1; Fig. 36) alongside their Tibetan and Mongolian colleagues.115 In some cases rituals and liturgies are printed and performed in both Tibetan and Chinese at the same monastery at Wutai shan. This Sino-Tibetan cultural confluence is a fairly unique quality to Wutai shan.
Many of these monasteries on Wutai shan have close institutional relationships with major monasteries throughout the Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhist world, especially with the northeastern Tibetan area of AmdoA mdo (modern-day Qinghai and Gansu provinces). For instance, Shifang Hall (Shifang tang, 十方堂, Drupchok Kündü Linggrub phyogs kun ’dus gling; Fig. 4, no. 67), was founded in 1831 by a monk from Lhündrup Dechen LingLhun grub bde chen gling Monastery (Dachongjiao si, 大崇教寺) and ChonéCo ne Monastery (Zhuonichanding si, 卓尼禅定寺), both in Gansu Province.116 Shifang Hall became [page 46] one of the most famous among the Tibetan monasteries on Wutai shan, hosting a constant stream of visiting monks and pilgrims from Amdo. Wutai shan also had a close relationship with LabrangBla brang Monastery, one of the most important GelukDge lugs institutions and printing centers in eastern Tibet, as detailed by Nietupski.117 AmdoA mdo is a border area where Tibetan, Mongolian, and Chinese populations meet, and local ethnic Chinese became strongly involved with Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, both as patrons-laity and clergy, which links this region culturally to Wutai shan. Nietupski also reveals that this network of prominent lamabla mas from LabrangBla brang traveling to Wutai shan were also connected to imperial cites in Beijing such as Yonghe Palace. Monasteries of other Tibetan Buddhist traditions from other regions are also represented on Wutai shan. For instance, one of the NyingmaRnying ma order’s main monasteries, KatokKaḥthog Monastery in DegéSde dge (Dege, 德格; KhamKhams/Western Sichuan), had a branch-monastery on Wutai shan’s western peak (Fig. 4, no. 9), where the great eighteenth-century KangyüBka’ brgyud scholar and artist Situ Penchen Chökyi JungnéSi tu paṇ chen chos kyi ’byung gnas was said to have stayed when he visited China.118
Note Citation for Page
Karl Debreczeny, “Wutai Shan: Pilgrimage to Five-Peak Mountain,” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 (December 2011): , http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5714 (accessed ).
Note Citation for Whole Article
Karl Debreczeny, “Wutai Shan: Pilgrimage to Five-Peak Mountain,” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 (December 2011): 1-133, http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5714 (accessed ).
Debreczeny, Karl. “Wutai Shan: Pilgrimage to Five-Peak Mountain.” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 (December 2011): 1-133. http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5714 (accessed ).
- The Mountain
- Early Political Significance
- Tibetan Identification with Wutai shan
- Tibetan Involvement with Wutai shan
- Tibetan and Mongolian Monasteries on Wutai shan
- Mongol Interests in Wutai shan
- “Wutai shan: Pilgrimage to Five-Peak Mountain” Catalog
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