Sacred Place of Guanyin- Mount Putuo
Mount Putuo is transliteration of Sanskrit word Potalaka , its actual meaning is Luminosity Mount.
Mount Putuo and Mount Wutai, Mount Jiuhua and Mount Emei are four sacred mountains in Chinese Buddhism. lt and Potala Palace of Tibet are Bodhimanda (place of enlightenment) of Guanyin Bodhisattva. The highest Everest on the earth, the deepest western Mariana Trench of Pacific Ocean, the holy Potala Palace of Tibet, the ancient pyramids of Egypt, the mysterious ruins of Mayan civilization and it are all on the line of North Latitude 30°. In Huayan Sutra(Avatamsaka Sutra) there is a vivid description of Potalaka.“There is a mount named Potalaka in the south. There is Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva on the mount.” lt is also described as following: Many saints live on the mount in the sea, many treasures on the mount are pure and clean. Fruit trees are redolent. There are many screams, pools and ponds. The brave AvaIokitesvara Bodhisattva lives there to benefit all beings.
Mount Putuo is an isle of the Zhoushan Archipelago in Zhejiang Province. There are many scenic spots in Mount Putuo such as 18 peaks,12 mountains，15 cliffs, 30 rocks, three gates, 17 caves, four beaches, six Ao(plains among mountains), five bays, six streams, ten springs, four wells, seven ponds, etc. Beautiful scenery, mild climate, flourishing vegetation, magnificent monasteries and temples, abundant relics all together form unique charm for Buddhists and tourists from home and abroad. Mount Putuo is very similar to Potalaka, lt has been regarded as Bodhimanda(place of enlightenment) of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva. lt has been called as “The First Buddhist Realm in China”,“Buddhist Realm amidst the Sea and the Sky”,“Veluriya World”, “Sacred Place of Guanyin”etc. lt has good reputation and is well-known over the world.
2000-odd years ago, Mount Putuo was a place where alchemists cultivated themselves according to Taoist doctrine and made pills of immortality. An Qisheng in Qin Dynasty, Mei Zizhen in Han Dynasty and Ge Hong in Jin Dynasty etc. lived there to cultivated themselves according to Taoist doctrine. lt was named as Meicen because Mei Zizhen lived there as a hermit and cultivated himself according to Taoist doctrine. Later Buddhism was introduced into China. Buddhism substituted Taoism in Mount Putuo. According to the record on Stele of Stupa “Bone relics of Sakyamuni Buddha” built in Jin Dynasty, many pilgrims from other places of China came to Mount Putuo in Jin Dynasty and Tang dynasty. According to Chorography “Putuo Luojia Shanzhi” an lndian monk had heard raputation of Guanyin Great Being of Mount Putuo.He arrived at Mount Putuo from a great distance in 856. To express his sincerity and piousness he burned his ten fingers in front of Tidal Sound Cave. Then he saw that Guanyin preached Dharma to him and gave him seven-color precious stones. ln 863 a Japanese monk named Hui-e brought a bronze statue of Guanyin from Mount Wutai to Japan. When his ship passed by Xinluo Reef of Lotus Ocean near to Mount Putuo, the billow was beating the ship continually. Persons on the ship were very afraid. At night, Hui-e had a dream. ln the dream, an lndian monk told him: “As long as you let me stay in this mountain, l'll give you the wind that will send you back to Japan”. Woken Hui-e told the dream to his companions. They landed near to Tidal Sound Cave and built a simple hut near the cave to house the statue of Guanyin. The statue of Guanyin is called as Bukenqu(Unwilling to go) Guanyin. lt was the start of establishment of temples and monasteries in Mount Putuo.
Many emperors of different dynasties including Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing bestowed moneys, sutras and other gifts to Mount Putuo. Emperor Kangxi of Qing Dynasty granted a horizontal tablet “Tian Hua Fa Yu” (Heavenly Flowers Buddhist Rain) to Fayu Monastery and a horizontal tablet “Pu Ji Qun Ling” (Universal Salvation) to Puji Monastery. ln 1916 Sun Yat-sen visited Mount Putuo in his inspection tour of Zhoushan Port. Sun Yat-sen had seen a miracle and recorded it in his “Travel Notes of Mount Putuo”, Many famous political leaders, intellectuals and Buddhist scholars had visited Mount Putuo. They have left many paintings and calligraphy works, stone inscriptions, poems and Buddhist works which have become very important treasures of Chinese Buddhism.
In its most flourishing period as of 1930's there were three monasteries, 88 temples and nunneries and 128 huts, 3000-odd monks and nuns in whole Mount Putuo. Zen Sect of Buddhism is the principal sect of Mount Putuo. There are 103 abbots served or serving for three big monasteries. By the end of the last century, 35 tamplos and nunneries including three monasteries were rebuilt and opened, A Brass Statue of Nanhai Guanyin was ereoted. ln the 21-st Century more than ten temples were rebuilt and opened.. Pumen Wanfobaota (Tan-thousand Buddha Pagoda), Baotuojiangsi Monastery, Putuoshan Buddhist Museum, Buddhist Vegetarian Restaurant and Putuoshan College of the Buddhist Academy of China in Zhujiajian were newly built.
There are many cultural activities on Mount Putuo. Beside traditional three pilgrimage periods of February 19, June 19 and September 19 of the lunar calendar, beside Guanyin Culture Festival,“Spring of Mount Putuo”Tourism Festival and Putuoshan Fair of Buddhist Articles, everyday praying to Buddha, chanting sutra, sitting in mediation and worshiping Buddha, Putuoshan Buddhist Association had successfulIy held the closing ceremony of the First Session of World Buddhist Forum on Mount Putuo in April of 2006. Putuoshan Statement has been issued to the world and become a great unprecedented achievement.
Today's Mount Putuo is a Chinese Scenic Resort and Historic Site with Five-A Grade. lt is aIso a worshiping center for international believers of Guanyin, Buddhist shrines in the world and international tourist destination. lt is spiritual homeIand of the majority of believers, the spiritual home of social community, a platform for friendly exchanges between the people all over the world, an important window of foreign exchange. Belief in Guanyin is the spiritual bonds for emotional condensation of peoples, Guanyin spirit will make people good and civilized, promote harmony in the family or society and peace in the world.
Opening the album “Sacred Place of Guanyin--Mount Putuo” you will be led on the pilgrimage tour to Mount Putuo. You will see beautiful scenery. You will know customs of Mount Putuo and feeling of Guanyin. You wilI hear pattering sound of monks and sound of the bell in the temple. Then you will be calm and peaceful physically and mentally. Every mundane desire will leave you and you will really feel coolness of the sacred place of Guanyin. You will enter the Zen state without sorrow or joy. A yarning towards the sacred place of Guanyin will occur in your mind after closing the album.