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On a five-colored cloud: the Songs of Mount Wutai.


The Mount Wutai poems (1) take as their theme the Buddhist concept of nirmanakaya, or bianxian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]: the idea that buddhas and bodhisattvas can transform themselves and vary their manifestations at will according to the needs of individual beings. These transformations and manifestations take place on Chinese soil, and even, more importantly, in the Chinese imagination. However, in the Mount Wutai poems, a unique Buddhist imagination also emerges: a cloud no longer appears as the floating cloud so familiar in the Chinese literary tradition but as a five-colored cloud or nimbus surrounding the bodhisattva Manjusri and his various forms. The five-colored cloud is one of many numinous traces (lingji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), or holy traces (shengji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), of Manjusri and other extraordinary beings which appear repeatedly in the Mount Wutai poems. Buddhas, bodhisattvas, arhats, and other divine beings change into forms both understandable and suitable to the person experiencing the manifestation. Although the goal of these transformations and manifestations is to save the recipient, they are colorful, magical, entertaining, and far more comprehensible than abstract or esoteric Buddhist doctrines.

The universe of the poetry of Mount Wutai reflects the magic and mystery of medieval Chinese Buddhism, with auspicious birds and roaring lions, holy lamps that fly through the air and divine bells that sound without being struck. Mysterious old men and young children engage the pilgrim in elevated conversations, and buddhas and bodhisattvas suddenly appear to preach the Dharma and just as soon vanish. Mount Wutai is also a realm of great natural beauty, both serene and terrifying. It holds fragrant delicate plants, jeweled cliffs, colored mists, storms of rain, hail, ice and snow, and gloomy dragon caves. This is poetry of devotion and faith: a heartfelt devotion to the pursuit of complete enlightenment, and an utter faith not only in Manjusri's ability to rescue all sentient beings, but in his eternal residence on Mount Wutai.

The theory of the three periods of the Buddha's teachings, particularly the belief that the period of the Final Dharma had begun, lent an urgency to the medieval Chinese pilgrims' wish to experience the transformation and manifestation of the bodhisattva Manjusri on Mount Wutai. Even if Buddhist teachings could not be easily obtained or understood, the pilgrim could still be rescued from the cycle of birth and death by a visit to the bodhisattva's gold-colored world, or pure land.

Therefore it is not surprising that the Buddhist concept of the pure lands or buddha lands also occurs as a theme in the Mount Wutai poems. These pure lands, which manifest themselves for the benefit of sentient beings, contain each other, as they are essentially empty and exist outside the conventional boundaries of time and space. Although Mount Wutai was considered the pure land of Manjusri and the center of the Avatamsaka school, it also attracted the monks and pilgrims of Amitabha's Pure Land sect, along with those of the Tiantai, Chan and Tantric schools. In their blending of the ideas and motifs of these various schools, the Mount Wutai poems reflect the syncretic nature of Tang Buddhism.

The poetry of Mount Wutai is more closely associated with pilgrimage and sutra literature than with secular literature. The poems are anonymous and generally lack a strong personal voice or a focused individual vision. Notwithstanding their magical qualities, ultimately they are not intended to entertain. They relentlessly urge meditation and enlightenment. Their stage is the Buddhist practice hall. Nonetheless, they share some basic themes of Chinese poetry through the ages. Despite their Buddhist motifs, there are familiar elements in the Mount Wutai poems. One reason is obvious: the authors of these poems were Chinese. Another reason is that the writers also aimed to make the Buddhist doctrine attractive to the ordinary person in familiar terms.


The "Songs of Mount Wutai" echo the preoccupations of the pilgrimage literature about the mountain. The oldest of these records is the Gu qingliang zhuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Ancient Record of Clear and Cold), (2) by the monk Huixiang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], who visited the mountain in 667. Yanyi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], a monk of the Northern Song dynasty, wrote a more complete work called the Guang qingliang zhuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Expanded Record of Clear and Cold), which dates to approximately 1060. (3) Yanyi's work is especially helpful, as he composed a list by terrace of the most important ancient temples, numinous traces, and medicinal plants. Another Song dynasty work was written by the lay Buddhist Zhang Shangying [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1043-1122), the Xu qingliang zhuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Further Record of Clear and Cold) around the time of his visit to Mount Wutai in 1088. (4) Yet another significant source of material about Mount Wutai is Nitto guho junrei gyoki [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (The Record of a Pilgrimage to China in Search of the Law), the diary of the Japanese monk Ennin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (793-864), who visited during his trip to China from 838 to 847. (5) Other Tang records by Buddhist monks that mention Mount Wutai include two works by the Vinaya Master Daoxuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (596-667), Ji Shenzhou sanbao gantong lu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and Daoxuan lushi gantong lu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], (6) the Huayan jing chuanji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] by Fazang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (643-712), Third Patriarch of the Huayan sect, (7) and the Dafangguang fo huayan jing shu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], a commentary on the Avatamsaka sutra by Chengguan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (737-838), Fourth Patriarch of the Huayan sect. (8) There is also a Ming dynasty record by Zhencheng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1546-1617), Qingliang shan zhi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Record of Clear Cold Mountain), (9) which quotes from the earlier records of Huixiang, Yanyi, Zhang Shangying, and others, but also contains some new material, along with a wealth of poems about the mountain.


There are over a dozen Buddhist sutras mentioning Manjusri that were translated into Chinese in the second and third centuries A.D. Three Buddhist scriptures featuring Manjusri are believed to prophesy Manjusri's appearance on Mount Wutai: the third-century layman Nie Daozhen's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] translation of the Wenshu shili ban niepan jing [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (10) (Manjusri-parinirvana sutra), Bodhiruci's (672-727) rendition of the Wenshu shili fabaozang tuoluoni jing [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (11) (Manjusri-dharma-ratnagarbha-dharani sutra), and Buddhabhadra's translation of the Huayan jing [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (12) (Avatamsaka sutra). These works are quoted repeatedly in the Tang pilgrimage literature of Mount Wutai.

The Manjusri-parinirvana sutra states that after the nirvana of Sakyamuni Buddha, Manjusri went to Snow Mountain to preach the Dharma. The original Indian text clearly refers to the Himalayas, but the reputation of Mount Wutai as a mountain where the snow still fell in summer must have encouraged its subsequent association with Manjusri. The sutra further states that after his parinirvana, Manjusri was brought to Fragrant Mountain (Skt. Gandhamadana), a mythical mountain of the Himalayan chain. According to other Indian texts, this mountain chain had five peaks surrounding a great lake called Anavatapta. (13) In the imagination of the Chinese Buddhists, Mount Wutai resembled the five-peaked mountain range associated with Manjusri in the Indian texts, and they saw the Chinese mountain as four flat-topped peaks, or terraces, surrounding a fifth peak, when, in actuality, the mountains roughly form the shape of an arc. Mount Wutai was assigned a lake analogous to Anavatapa, called Great Flower Pool, located in the center of the Mount Wutai range, on the Central Terrace.

The Manjusri-dharma-ratnagarbha-dharani sutra reveals that Sakyamuni Buddha declared after his death that Manjusri will go to a country named Mahacina, to a mountain called Pancasikha (Five Peaks) to preach the Buddhist doctrine. (14) Manjusri is strongly associated with the number five. He has five hundred disciples; he is also called Pancasikha for his five tufts, or topknots, of hair, tied in the manner of a youth. This provides additional justification for the association of the bodhisattva with a five-peaked mountain range in China. Yanyi, in the Guang qingliang zhuan, quotes from the Wenshu zhuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Record of Manjusri) by Haidong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]: (15) "Five Terrace is none other than the throne of the Tathagatha of the five directions. It also resembles the five topknots on the bodhisattva's head." (16)

The chapter of the Avatamsaka sutra called "The Dwelling Places of the Bodhisattvas," provided additional scriptural justification for Manjusri's appearance on Mount Wutai. The Gu qingliang zhuan quotes from the earlier Buddhabhadra translation, whereas the Guang qingliang zhuan uses the Tang dynasty translation, but the passage remains essentially the same, describing a mountain in the northeast called Clear Cold Mountain, where Manjusri lives with his assembly of ten thousand bodhisattvas. (17)

The Sanskrit version of the Manjusri-dharma-ratnagarbha-dharani sutra is no longer extant, but the Tibetan version does not mention Manjusri or Clear Cold Mountain. Etienne Lamotte has argued that the Chinese translation of the Avatamsaka sutra was "falsified" to assign Manjusri a dwelling place on Mount Wutai, just as accounts of Chinese history were refashioned long after the actual events to legitimize the bodhisattva's long tenure on the mountain. (18)


Raoul Birnbaum has written several important articles on the cosmology of Mount Wutai which I do not wish to duplicate here. (19) However, legends surrounding the mountain are essential to our understanding of the poems. From ancient times, Mount Wutai was called Qingliang shan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Clear Cold Mountain) because of its unusually cold weather and clear vistas. The Guang qingliang zhuan observed the presence of ice even in the hottest months and the lack of trees on the summits, which contributed to the mountain's otherworldly appearance. Legends say Buddhism came to Mount Wutai sometime during the Eastern Han, not long after it appeared in China. In A.D. 67, Emperor Ming (r. A.D. 58-75), inspired by a dream, sent envoys to the Western Regions to seek the Buddhist teachings; they returned to China with two Indian monks, Kasyapa Matanga and Dharmaratna. (20) In A.D. 68, the emperor built the White Horse Temple, China's first Buddhist temple, in Luoyang to house the two monks. That same year, the legend continues, the two monks visited Qingliang shan, and clairvoyantly perceived that the mountain was the dwelling place of the bodhisattva Manjusri and contained a stupa of the Indian king Asoka (r. c. 274-c. 236 B.C.). (21) The monks thought one of the peaks resembled Vulture Peak (Skt. Grdhrakuta), where Sakyamuni Buddha had preached the scriptures, so they named the mountain Numinous Vulture Peak. Legends say the two monks wanted to erect a temple near this mountain but had to submit a memorial to Emperor Ming, since Qingliang shan was considered a Daoist domain. The temple was built on the Central Terrace, and was called the Lingjiu si [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Numinous Vulture Temple). Emperor Ming added the words dafu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (great faith) to the beginning of the temple's name, to signify his devotion to the Buddhist doctrine.

By the sixth century, it was suggested that Manjusri had resided on the mountain since the time of King Mu of the Zhou dynasty (r. 1001-947 B.C.), who had built a temple there in his honor. It was further stated that Manjusri and Maudgalyayana (22) had come to China to convert King Mu, and that King Asoka had erected the stupa on the mountain in tribute to his conversion. (23) Huixiang believed that this first introduction of Buddhism into China had been halted by the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty (r. 221-210 B.C.). (24)

The true origin of the Manjusri cult on Mount Wutai is unknown. Lamotte has said that Manjusri may have been associated with Mount Wutai since the fourth century, (25) but certainly the bodhisattva was known in China from the latter half of the second century, when the first Buddhist scriptures were translated into Chinese. Perhaps in an attempt to create a Buddhist version of China's own five sacred peaks, Chinese Buddhism at some point in history associated the four major bodhisattvas in the Mahayana pantheon with important mountains in China. Manjusri was placed in the north at Mount Wutai in Shanxi; Guanyin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Skt. Avalokitesvara) was located in the east at Mount Putuo in Zhejiang; Puxian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Skt. Samantabhadra) was established in the west at Mount Emei in Sichuan, and Dizang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Skt. Ksitigarbha) was situated in the south at Mount Jiuhua in Anhui. These sites are thought to be based on descriptions of dwelling places of the bodhisattvas in various Indian texts.

Manjusri is one of the most important bodhisattvas in the Chinese Buddhist tradition. Representing the quality of prajna, or wisdom, he holds a sword in his right hand, which cuts through ignorance. In his left hand he holds a book containing all knowledge. He is usually depicted as seated on a lion. He is considered to be leader of the bodhisattvas, and as the initiator of countless buddhas, including Sakyamuni, into Buddhahood. He is also often depicted as the left-hand attendant of Sakyamuni Buddha, with Samantabhadra on the right.


The Dunhuang manuscripts include many literary genres familiar to students of Chinese poetry, such as the fu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (rhyme-prose), ci [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (lyric), and shi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (verse). Less familiar styles, such as the foqu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Buddhist canto), ji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (gatha) and the zan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (stotra), are inspired by poetic styles of the Indian Buddhist literary tradition. In its broadest definition, the Dunhuang quzi ci [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], the style of the "Songs of Mount Wutai," are ci, using long and short lines paired with a tune which may be Chinese or foreign in origin. Sun Qifang, in his article on the ci and foqu, states that the Dunhuang quzi are essentially ci. (26) They were composed to existing music, so the music determined the lyrics. Often dancers accompanied the performance. As was common in popular poetry, the use of rhyme and the number of syllables per line were not fixed. The tunes belonged to the category of court music known as yanyue [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ("music for entertainment"), which by the time of Emperor Xuanzong (r. 712-56) included melodies of foreign origin. Many of these tune-titles were collected in the Jiaofang ji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], a record of court music dating from Kaiyuan era (713-42). The term quzi ci refers to songs with either worldly or Buddhist content. Simply put, foqu is the term used for such songs when they have some Buddhist-influenced component, but arriving at a precise definition is far more complicated.

The "Songs of Mount Wutai" are found in five manuscripts of the Dunhuang collection: (1) P. 3360, "Da Tang Wutai shan quzi wushou jizai sumozhe" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], which contains six poems despite its title; (2) S. 0467, "Wutai shan quzi liu shou" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], which also contains six poems; (3) S. 2080, untitled, comprising the last line of the first poem and the second through fifth poems, in the first half of a scroll now separated from (4) S. 4012, also untitled, which contains the sixth poem; and (5) S. 2985, untitled, which contains three poems. (27)

The "Songs" comprise six poems in the most complete manuscripts, P. 3360 and S. 0467: a prefatory poem and one poem for each of the five terraces. The title of P. 3360 reveals they are set in sumozhe [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], a tune pattern of the ci, which dates from the Tang dynasty. According to Ren Bantang, the sumozhe pattern was originally a quatrain in seven-syllable lines, but it appears to have evolved to a variable number of syllables per line. (28) Each of the "Songs" consists of fourteen lines, comprising two stanzas both in seven lines with the metrical and rhyming pattern of 3-3r/4-5r/7r/4-5r. Ren believes these songs are daqu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], a form of entertainment using music, words, and dance. Daqu on Buddhist themes are called foqu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Most likely these songs were performed at the monasteries at Mount Wutai. (29) Only S. 4012 is dated, to the fourth year of Tiancheng (929). However, he dates the composition of these works to the High Tang, (30) whereas Jao Tsong-yi (31) and Xiang Chu (32) think they originated in the Late Tang.

The first, prefatory poem celebrates the mountain as the sacred dwelling place of the bodhisattvas and other divine beings. Each of the remaining five poems describes famous sites on a single terrace, and divine visions either associated with that terrace or experienced by the poet himself. The formula of the five terrace poems is essentially the same: the poet climbs to the summit of the terrace, admires the view, visits a few of the numinous traces, and sometimes experiences a transformation or manifestation of Manjusri. The order in which the terrace poems are arranged varies. However, P. 3360 and S. 2080 present them in what appears to be a sequence resembling an actual pilgrimage. To travel the Eastern, Northern, Central, Western, and Southern Terraces in that order, one proceeds in a counter-clockwise direction, the customary order for circumambulation of Buddhist sites.

The songs, though numbered in some of the original manuscripts, otherwise have no titles. For purposes of discussion I have used the first line of each poem as the title.
 The Hall of the Great Sage (33)

 The hall of the Great Sage
 Is not an ordinary place.
 To the left and right are coiled dragons,
 So the terraces lean on each other.
 At dawn mist rises from the rugged peaks. (34)
 The flowers and trees are fragrant,
 The bodhisattva manifests in many numinous and extraordinary
 With a face of compassion,
 And a heart of joy.
 The true monks of the Western lands,
 Come from afar to pay reverence.
 Below the cliffs, auspicious colors often rise,
 Good fortune and happiness in the land of Tang, (35)
 Lasting ten thousand years and thousands of autumns.

The "Songs of Mount Wutai" begin with a song celebrating the terraces as a whole. It also summarizes some of the more common characteristics of the mountain range and recurring themes and motifs found in this set of six poems.

Among the Tang and Song dynasty records and the poems about Mount Wutai found in the Dunhuang manuscripts, the term "Great Sage" (dasheng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) always alludes to Manjusri. The "Hall of the Great Sage" may refer to a specific building erected in honor of Manjusri, but there is no such hall mentioned in the pilgrimage literature or other poems. The Guang qingliang zhuan does list a Wenshu si [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Manjusri Temple) as being one of the ten ancient temples of the Central Terrace, (36) but the most famous site associated with the bodhisattva on Mount Wutai was the Zhenrong yuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Cloister of the True Countenance), the location of a famous statue of Manjusri and numerous manifestations of the bodhisattva. This cloister was located on the Central Terrace near the Temple of the Great Faith of the Numinous Vulture. The "Hall of the Great Sage" may also refer to the Temple of the Numinous Vulture itself, which was considered the true dwelling place of Manjusri on Mount Wutai, because of the vision of the Indian monks who visited there during the Han dynasty.

But there were countless images of Manjusri in many of the temple halls scattered throughout the terraces. The hall of this song may also allude generally to the entire mountain range, as the site from which Manjusri expounds the Buddhist teachings, and the poem may simply be a declaration of devotion for the bodhisattva whose presence dominates all five terraces. The poem has a panoramic quality, similar to the preambles of the Buddhist sutras, which begin with the Buddha in a dramatic and beautiful natural setting, surrounded by an impressive assembly of realized beings as he preaches the Buddhist doctrine in a lecture hall. The Hall of the Great Sage, then, not only symbolizes Manjusri, but the Buddhist teachings as represented by the hall. Mount Wutai itself is not only an extraordinary place, but a lecture hall for the pilgrims to experience the Dharma.

One hundred poisonous dragons were believed to live on each of the five terraces, making five hundred in all. They emitted poisonous vapors, which could be lethal if inhaled. They were thought to be the cause of the stormy weather on the mountain. In his diary, Ennin described the monuments built to the Dragon King and his followers, which were located on the Northern Terrace:
 On the south side of the summit is Dragon Hall. Inside the hall is a
 pool. Its waters are deep and black. Clear and vast, they fill the
 hall, dividing it into three sections. In the middle is the Palace of
 the Dragon King. An image of the Dragon King has been placed above,
 and looks down on the pool, and a bridge has been built across the
 pool to the Dragon King's throne. This is the King of the five
 hundred poisonous dragons of Five Terrace Mountain. Each terrace has
 one hundred poisonous dragons, who regard this Dragon King as their
 master. It is said this Dragon King and his people submitted to
 Manjusri and were converted, so they do not dare commit evil acts. To
 the right and left of the Dragon Palace, separated from it by a board
 fence, are placed images of Manjusri. (37)

The Guang qingliang zhuan lists a Longpan si [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Coiled Dragon Temple) on the Eastern Terrace. (38) This record further mentions that the temple contained a stone image of a coiled dragon. (39) The Qingliang shan zhi notes that the temple got its name from a nearby mountain which was shaped like a coiled dragon. (40) Ren Bantang believed that the "coiled dragons" of this prefatory poem are an allusion to a pair of circular pagodas mentioned by Fazang in the Huayan jing chuanji as being on the Northern Terrace, but there is no evidence for this. (41) The image may be simply describing the mountains as coiled in the shape of dragons, and the terraces as leaning on one another. The literature of Mount Wutai describes leaning and twisted cliffs, as well as winding and coiling mountain ranges similar to the images in this prefatory poem.

Dragons, and, specifically, coiled dragons, are mentioned in reference to the Naluoyan ku [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Narayana Grotto), listed by the Guang qingliang zhuan as one of the eleven numinous traces on the Eastern Terrace. (42) Narayana is believed to refer to one of the heavenly protectors of Buddhism, who sits atop a coiled serpent. This cave is also mentioned in Siksananda's translation of the Avatamsaka sutra as a dwelling place of the bodhisattvas. (43) In his diary, Ennin described it as dark and cold, an ideal hiding place for dragons. The relationship between Mount Wutai and dragons is strengthened by Manjusri's association with them in certain Buddhist scriptures, where he is called the Supreme Tathagatha King of the Dragon Kind. The Gu qingliang zhuan notes:
 When [Manjusri] first achieved sambodhi he was called Honored One of
 the Dragon Kind ... At present, through expedient means, he has
 manifested as a bodhisattva. Therefore he preaches to the assembly of
 sages, and aids the ignorant multitude ... He always resides in the
 place of Clear and Cold, and manifests traces suitable to the
 occasion. (44)

The Guang qingliang zhuan provides a more specific scriptural basis for Manjusri's relationship with the dragon world from the Suramgama-samadhi sutra. Here, Yanyi paraphrase a few sentences from the sutra:
 According to the Suramgama-samadhi sutra, long ago, countless and
 limitless kalpa beyond comprehension, there was a Buddha named the
 Most Honored Tathagatha King of the Dragon Kind, and his country was
 named Equal. How could the Most Honored Tathagatha King of the Dragon
 Kind from the land of Equal be any other? It was none other than the
 Son of the Dharma King Manjusri. (45)

The original passage in Kumarajiva's translation of the sutra offers a more detailed description of Manjusri's activities before he became a bodhisattva, gleaned from a conversation between Sakyamuni Buddha and his disciple Mahakasyapa. Before Manjusri became a bodhisattva, he had been a Buddha who lived for 4,400,000 years. He was called Supreme Tathagatha of the Dragon Kind and saved billions of sentient beings. Just before this Buddha attained nirvana, the Wisdom Bodhisattva predicted that Manjusri would also be called the Wisdom Bodhisattva. Therefore, Sakyamuni declares, the Supreme Tathagatha of the Dragon Kind was none other but Manjusri. The Manjusri-parinirvana sutra further declares Manjusri would be brought to Fragrant Mountain after his parinirvana. Yanyi lists Xiang shan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Fragrant Mountain) as one of the fifteen numinous traces on the Western Terrace, but Mount Wutai seems to have been regarded as a universally sweet-smelling mountain range. (46) It was perhaps inevitable that Mount Wutai, having been linked with Gandhamadana of the Indian scriptures, would be celebrated for its own fragrant flowers and plants, which blanketed the slopes of the terrace like a dazzling and finely woven brocade. Ennin described the scene:
 Extraordinary flowers of strange colors bloom all over the mountain.
 From the valley to the summit there are flowers on all four sides,
 spread out like a brocade. Their fragrance is sweet and perfumes
 men's clothing. People say that now in the fifth month it is still
 cold, and the flowers are not all in bloom; in the sixth and seventh
 months, the flowers will be even more abundant. It is a new
 experience for mankind to look upon the colors of these flowers. (47)

As we have seen, the Avatamsaka sutra declared that since ancient times bodhisattvas have dwelled on Clear Cold Mountain. It also says Manjusri does not dwell alone on Clear Cold Mountain, but with a retinue of ten thousand bodhisattvas. In many of the more spectacular visions experienced by pilgrims to Mount Wutai, which are recounted in the Gu qingliang zhuan and the Guang qingliang zhuan, Manjusri appears with an enormous entourage of other bodhisattvas.

The "monks of the Western lands" refer to the Indian pilgrims who visited the mountain during the Tang era to witness the innumerable extraordinary transformations and manifestations of Manjusri. It is possible that this line of the poem refers to the famous visit of Buddhapalita in 676. (48) Both Ennin and Yanyi recount the legend surrounding his visit. However, Buddhapalita was not the first Indian pilgrim to visit the mountain. Huixiang describes the pilgrimage in 667 of the Indian monk Sakyamitara, predating Buddhapalita's trip by ten years. (49) Fazang, the Third Patriarch of the Huayan sect, witnessed the arrival of other foreign pilgrims during the same period:
 Today the spirit [Manjusri] dwells on this precious soil, and he is
 constantly present. According to various chronicles, the bodhisattva
 Manjusri always preaches the Avatamsaka sutra here. This is why, from
 ancient times to the Tang, the Buddhist monks of the Western lands
 have often come to these peaks to visit, without considering several
 thousand li to be distant. And, in this land, monks and laymen join
 one another on the dusty paths. One encounters divine monks and
 sagely multitudes, pavilions of immortals and terraces of treasures,
 divine lights and dazzling radiance. Mysterious fragrances and
 spontaneously ringing bells fill the air, and precious hymns are
 heard in the distance. Suddenly, [Manjusri] rises and falls in
 thousands of transformations. (50)

The appearance of auspicious colors was yet another common phenomenon of Mount Wutai. They were usually seen at a manifestation of Manjusri, or the other bodhisattvas or buddhas. Following the Manjusri-parinirvana sutra, purple and gold were the most prevalent colors, along with the five colors traditionally associated with the five Buddha families. Clouds, mists, nimbi, and rays of light often were multi-colored, and were harbingers of the imminent manifestation of Manjusri.

The "thousand autumns" of the last line of the poem may refer to the Thousand Autumn Festival, which was established in the fifteenth year of the Kaiyuan era (727) to commemorate the birthday of Emperor Xuanzong (r. 712-56). (51) During the Tang, particularly from the reign of Taizong, ceremonies were held in the Buddhist temples of the empire to celebrate the birthdays and anniversaries of the imperial rulers. (52) The formal and impersonal ending of this song indicates it is a blessing not only for the pilgrim, but for the dynasty itself, as it celebrates the good fortune that the bodhisattva has brought to China by his sheer presence there.
 I Ascend the Eastern Terrace (53)

 I ascend the Eastern Terrace,
 And cross the Northern Dipper.
 I gaze at the Fusang tree,
 The dragon spirits fight on the ocean shore.
 A mix of rain and hail startles the woods and
 Mist collects and clouds gather,
 Transformations and manifestations of a thousand
 The auspicious bird cries,
 The lion roars.
 The listener is uneasy,
 And fears going to Narayana.
 He chants Manjusri's name a few times.
 The Great Sage is compassionate,
 By expedient means he conceals himself to save us.

"I Ascend the Eastern Terrace" is preoccupied with its spectacular and unearthly eastern views. From this terrace, the pilgrim could gaze upon the ocean and, in the imagination of the poet, much more. This song begins with a description of an extraordinary landscape. The perspective in this poem extends far beyond that of the preceding poem, which was restricted to a general description of Mount Wutai itself. According to the Guang qingliang zhuan, one could see the ocean from the top of the Eastern Terrace: "When the sun comes out, one can see the great ocean below, and the shores of the marshes there." (54) Strictly speaking, this is of course impossible. The Qingliang shan zhi notes that another name for the Eastern Terrace is Wanghai feng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Ocean Gazing Peak). (55)

In this song, the Eastern Terrace is portrayed as so high it seems to be at the same elevation as the Dipper and the mythical Fusang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] tree of the eastern sky, where the sun emerges each morning. Facing east, on the shores of the distant eastern sea, the poet sees the dragon spirits battling. In the next lines of the poem, a storm of rain and hail begins; legend held dragons responsible for the volatile weather of the mountain. Amidst such turbulence, Manjusri and other divine beings appear, reminiscent of the "Jiuge" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] of the Chu ci [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], where the arrival of the gods and goddesses is also marked by the appearance of wind and rain, thunder and lightning. The transformations and manifestations may be those of Manjusri himself, or other divine beings who were said to appear on the terraces, either in their original form or in disguise. In the Guang qingliang zhuan, there are numerous references to the appearance of the bodhisattva and other beings or phenomena on the mountain, in every form from a burning lamp to an old man. As the Gu qingliang zhuan declared, Manjusri "manifests traces suitable to the occasion." Each terrace had several famous locations associated with these transformations and manifestations. Yanyi records eleven numinous traces for the Eastern Terrace, including the Narayana Grotto. The Guang qingliang zhuan also contains many descriptions of the appearance of "transformation temples" (huasi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), divine structures which occasionally appeared to the pilgrims. In a description of the Central Terrace, Daoxuan exclaimed, "It truly is the home of the divine immortals. Frequently there are manifestations of monks who then suddenly are hard to find. Traces of the sage and temples of the divine often emerge and then vanish." (56) Yanyi described these phantom temples in great detail:
 According to the legends of the monasteries of antiquity,
 transformation temples are not standing on the ground, but appear in
 the middle of the air. They are the practice hall of the bodhisattva
 and the pure land of Manjusri. The vermilion towers and violet
 palaces are made of the seven jewels. Purple gold and white silver,
 vaidurya and tortoise shell, and intertwined nets of pearls,
 encircle and emerge from the rosy clouds. For people who are able to
 encounter them, the ordinary world suddenly ceases. (57)

Xiang Chu believes that the "transformations and manifestations of a thousand kinds" alluded to in this song may refer to a specific event described in the Guang qingliang zhuan: the experience of the monk Jin Guangzhao, who saw a thousand buddhas appear before him.
 During the second year of the Dali era of the Tang dynasty (767), he
 reached Mount Wutai and stopped at the Wan pusa yuan
 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Cloister of the Ten Thousand
 Bodhisattvas) at the Da Huayan si [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]
 (Great Flower Ornament Temple). That day, suddenly thunder and
 lightning issued forth, and rain and hail rapidly flew down. The monk
 was terrified. Silently he meditated on the Great Sage. Immediately
 the weather cleared, and he saw white light floating down the
 terrace, and within the light were a thousand buddhas, solemn,
 beautiful, and glorious. The monk wept copiously and made
 prostrations in reverence. When he raised his head, suddenly a tower
 ten feet high shot up before him, containing a thousand-petalled
 flower throne. Then he saw all the buddhas stretch out their golden
 arms. The samadhi head monk told him: "You should be called Jin
 Guangzhao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Shining Golden Light)
 from this day forward." The buddhas ordered the monk to continually
 recite the Diamond sutra. When they finished speaking, they suddenly
 disappeared. The monk's heart danced with joy, and he was greatly
 enlightened. (58)

The next day Jin Guangzhao went to the Western Terrace, where he experienced "a thousand changes and ten thousand transformations." (59) But the transformations and manifestations mentioned in "I Ascend the Eastern Terrace" are ambiguous enough to refer to any of the divine incidents that frequently occurred on all of the terraces and were extensively recorded in the Tang and Song records.

The manifestations of auspicious birds is linked with Manjusri. The Tang monk Wuzhuo [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], according to the Guang qingliang zhuan, arrived at Mount Wutai in 767 and met with a variety of divine manifestations, including one that included a pair of auspicious birds that appeared while he was engaged in meditation at the Flower Ornament Temple at sunset in front of the Boruo yuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Prajna Cloister): "Two auspicious birds soared back and forth above Wuzhuo's head, circled several times and then flew off towards the northeast." (60) The next day Wuzhuo visited the Jingang ku [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Vajra Grotto), where he encountered Manjusri.

Auspicious birds are also associated with prayers to Manjusri, as evidenced in another incident recounted in the Guang qingliang zhuan, which also took place at the Flower Ornament Temple. In this manifestation, the birds are identified as white cranes:
 In the eighteenth year of the Kaiyuan era (730), when Xue Hui was
 governor-general of Dai prefecture, it had scarcely rained because of
 years of hot, dry weather. The grasses and trees were scorched and
 withered, and the crops were ruined. The governor said to the people:
 "I have heard that the bodhisattva Manjusri of Terrace Mountain has
 many numinous and extraordinary powers, and possesses causeless
 compassion. He should have sympathy for my request.
 He then climbed to the top of the terrace, and sincerely prayed for
 rain. Suddenly he saw a group of twenty-two white cranes soaring and
 wheeling above the Da huayan si [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]
 (Great Flower Ornament Temple). They gathered on top of the terrace,
 and then suddenly dispersed. Immediately a downpour hastened from an
 obscure black cloud, and the county was soaked. On the twenty-sixth
 day, the people joyfully took up their ploughs and ploughshares. There
 was a great autumn harvest. (61)

The appearance of birds, even white cranes, is not restricted to any particular terrace, as we can see in this further observation from the Guang qingliang zhuan:
 One hundred li to the southwest of the Central Terrace is a small
 mountain called Peak Mountain. North of the terrace region, halfway up
 the mountain, are the Arising Wind Grotto, the Immortal Palm, the Man
 of Dao Retreat, and the Preach-the-Dharma Terrace. Long ago, it was
 called Nine Springs Mountain. On top was the Jinhua si
 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Golden Flower Temple), and below a
 bathing pool. Legends say it was the summer home of the ten thousand
 bodhisattvas. Sometimes there are manifestations here like a little
 cloud flying to the top of the peak, or a flock of white cranes
 soaring behind the mountain. For a long time the locals have stopped
 here, ready to observe them. (62)

Along with the appearance of birds, the manifestation of the lion is also connected to Manjusri. He is often depicted riding a lion, and in some of his manifestations on Mount Wutai he appears in the sky mounted on one. The footprints of Manjusri's lion were preserved in a miraculous site on the Western Terrace, and are mentioned in the song in this set concerned with the Western Terrace. (63) But in a more general sense, the lion symbolizes Sakyamuni Buddha, who is called a lion among men, and his roar is his all-powerful teaching. Although he makes all beings tremble, he is not to be feared.

Nonetheless, the pilgrim may have doubts about the thousand transformations and manifestations he is experiencing. He is unsure whether the sounds of the bird and lion herald the arrival of Manjusri. He also fears visiting the Narayana Grotto, which was not a pleasant place. Ennin described the cave in forbidding terms in his diary:
 From the summit of the terrace straight down half a li to the east, on
 a steep precipice is a grotto called the Narayana Grotto. People say
 that in ancient times the Narayana Buddha practiced the Way in this
 cave and later went to the west. Inside the grotto, it is moist with
 dripping water. The cave is six feet wide, and it is dark inside. It
 is suitable for a dragon's retreat. (64)

An appendix to the Guang qingliang zhuan describes the cave as being too narrow to be entered by an ordinary man. Most visitors only touched it or looked inside. Only a sage could enter:
 The Narayana Grotto is on the eastern side of the Eastern Terrace. The
 door of the cave faces east. It is more than twenty feet deep, and
 winds in a narrow passage only as large as a bushel basket. The
 pilgrims who come here cannot enter. They often only examine it with
 their hands, or shine a candle into it. The cave opening slightly
 points upward to the northwest, but its depth cannot be fathomed. From
 time to time, it emits a cold wind. Legends say this cave and Vajra
 Grotto are the dwelling places of the Great Sage.
 On the twenty-eighth day of the fifth month of the eighth year of
 the Xuanhe era (1126), there was a monk of Shaowu (65) who traveled to
 Terrace Mountain together with the monk Zongxin. They stopped at the
 Cloister of the True Countenance and paid reverence to the true
 image. (66) One day, they climbed to the summit of the Eastern Terrace
 and met with the Dai Prefect, Duke Zhao, who together with the deputy
 magistrate and other officials had ascended the mountain. The Great
 Master Cihua and more than one hundred monks had all come to see the
 view, and had already visited this cave. Duke Zhao and the others
 entered to examine it. Only the monk of Shaowu stood outside the cave.
 An official joked with him, saying: "Why doesn't the master enter?
 There is no obstacle to entering." The monk then bowed to Duke Zhao,
 Cihua, and Zongxin, and said: "Take care! Take care!" He ran into the
 cave through the narrow passageway, lifting his robes and hunching his
 body. There were no obstacles; it was as if he were walking into an
 empty room. The group was astonished and deliberated endlessly, unable
 to understand the reason. Zongxin called to him several times. He
 searched, but there was no sound or trace. When, after a short time,
 he did not emerge, Zongxin said to the group: "I have traveled over
 ten days with this monk; I did not know he was a sage!" (67)

Like the monk Jin Guangzhao, the frightened listener in the poem meditates upon Manjusri a few times, perhaps chanting his name out loud. He reminds himself of the reason for the transformations and manifestations he has experienced. Manjusri's ability to transform himself, as prophesied in the Manjusri-parinirvana sutra, is due to his great compassion for sentient beings. He allows himself to appear in many disguises, or manifestations, in order to save other beings. He utilizes expedient means, the ability to use any means necessary to save others. The means of rescue must be suited to the individual soul and particular situation, and so Manjusri may manifest himself in countless forms. Although this song begins with an astounding view, the landscape is upstaged by the transformations and manifestations of the bodhisattva and the other divine beings, and the poem ends with the spiritual explanation for the divine happenings experienced by the pilgrim.
 I Ascend the Northern Terrace (68)

 I ascend the Northern Terrace,
 Climbing the dangerous roads.
 The stone paths are steep,
 I walk slowly, on how many trails?
 Everywhere are famous flowers and subtle strange plants.
 Calm waters secretly flowing,
 Three times in a day.
 On Camel Precipice,
 The wind is gentle.
 Coming and going on journeys and pilgrimages
 Must benefit body and mind.
 In front of Arhat Terrace, I gaze at the Nai River. (69)
 I cannot stop for long
 Because the dragon spirits are angry. (70)

The Northern Terrace was famous for its steep paths, rugged terrain, and icy weather, due to its northern location and its altitude as the highest of the five terraces. This terrace also contained some of the more frightening sites on the mountain: the Dragon King's Palace and the Living Hell. Yanyi lists sixteen numinous traces on the Northern Terrace, the largest number found on any of the terraces. (71) This song contrasts the danger and difficulties associated with visiting the terrace with the great spiritual rewards that will result if one succeeds.

Despite the great cold of the Northern Terrace, delicate plants were able to thrive there. They also had spiritual and medicinal qualities. The Guang qingliang zhuan called them "numinous plants" (lingcao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), and records the tale of a monk who heard the voice of Manjusri tell him that when he gazed upon a particular plant, he would achieve enlightenment:
 The Buddhist Lingxiu was from Henan. He enjoyed searching for traces
 of the sage and visiting all the famous mountains. He was inspired by
 the restraints and diligent in the difficulties that the multitude
 decline. He journeyed far away to Terrace Mountain to pay reverence
 to Manjusri. Suddenly he heard a voice from the sky which declared:
 "The people of Jambudvipa (72) mostly belong to the group of the
 undecided. (73) They are hard to compel and difficult to transform.
 You should cross over. Do not shrink from hard labor. This constitutes
 a superior disciple." The monk replied: "I wish to seek liberation.
 How can I achieve this?" The voice said: "You can eliminate the
 mind." The monk asked; "What is to 'eliminate the mind'? What
 method is used?" The voice answered: "The plant of no-mind is called
 'Awaken from a Dream.' Gaze upon it, and you will achieve
 The monk then searched for it, and after he saw it, he said to
 himself "I asked what method is used to eliminate the mind, and was
 told to gaze upon this plant of no-mind. What is the purpose of this?"
 In this way he contemplated, and then clearly understood: "The plant
 is comparable to afflictions. (74) No-mind is a metaphor for
 emptiness. The plant then is no-mind. Afflictions are also so.
 Afflictions then are emptiness. Why should they be separate?"
 Thereupon he was greatly enlightened and achieved the Dharma of
 no-birth, and viewed the door of emptiness in this. The monk was
 neither overcome with sadness nor joy, and he built a hut near this
 plant and remained there. When people asked him why, he said: "Many
 people have sick minds. This plant can cure them. Come seek what you
 wish, I am simply sharing my good experience." Afterwards, many were
 healed. In the beginning of the first month of the twenty-first year
 of the Kaihuang era (601), he passed away without illness at the age
 of seventy-three. (75)

The calm and secret waters of the Northern Terrace have several possible meanings. Huixiang noted that on the Northern Terrace, "Rocks are piled in the streams so that the crystal-clear water does not flow." (76) We can understand this to mean the waters of the Northern Terrace are relatively still. This terrace was also known for its concealed springs. Yanyi writes: "On the summit of the Northern Terrace is the Heavenly Well. It joins below with the White Water Pool of the Dragon Palace, and also penetrates Vajra Grotto." (77)

The calm waters also allude to the Buddhist teaching that to calm one's mind, one must emulate still water, being clear and deep. "Three times a day" may mean one calms the mind at dawn, noon, and dusk, or it may refer to circumambulation of the terrace three times in one day. Since the poet claims the terrace benefits both the body and mind, either interpretation is plausible. Camel Precipice is briefly mentioned in the fifteenth stanza of the "Wutai shan zan" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Eulogy of Mount Wutai) as the dwelling place of the goddess Samadhi, an ordinary woman who was asked by Manjusri to gather grain in offering to the sages and worthies on Mount Wutai. She lived on Flower Ornament Peak near the Northern Terrace. Her granary and rice pot became magically inexhaustible, allowing her to feed thousands of people. Although the Guang qingliang zhuan records her story, its author does not mention the Camel Precipice, nor do Huixiang, Ennin, or Zhencheng refer to it.

Arhat Terrace is listed by Yanyi as one of the numinous traces of the Northern Terrace. (78) Zhencheng briefly mentions it as the site where sixteen Indian monks were transformed. (79) From this location, one can gaze upon the Nai River, which is the stream that leads into Hell, or Purgatory. The name of the river symbolizes the hopelessness of the condemned who must cross it. It is "the river of no alternative." Nearby the terrace was the numinous trace called the Living Hell, which Ennin describes in his diary as scorched earth and burnt stones caused by Manjusri. (80)

Only in the last line of "I Ascend the Northern Terrace," does the poet finally refer to the dragon spirits who lived on the terrace. Since dragons were associated with storms on the mountains, perhaps the angry dragons herald the approach of a storm. This may be why the pilgrim cannot tarry on this particular terrace. The approaching storm will not permit him to remain. According to Ennin, the mountain storms approached extremely quickly:
 Five hundred poisonous dragons are concealed in the mountains,
 spitting winds and clouds. During the four seasons and eight periods,
 (81) it does not stop thundering, and hail falls incessantly. Then
 the sky hurriedly clears, but the traveler does not see a long period
 of brightness. Each time the weather clears, one gazes at a pale
 yellow color on the five terraces, and on top of a terrace one
 suddenly sees a speck of cloud rise. Then, immediately, thick clouds
 fill the mountains. (82)

The poet next climbs to the Central Terrace:
 I Ascend the Central Terrace (83)

 I ascend the Central Terrace,
 The road winding far away.
 Eighty-thousand feet I wander remote,
 As if circling half of heaven.
 Cliffs of precious stones glitter in the light.
 The strange plants and famous flowers
 Resembling a brocade, are worth a visit.
 The Jade Flower Pool,
 The Golden Sand Bank.
 At the Thousand-Year-Old Ice Grotto,
 The body and mind of the visitor shiver.
 I pray, making sincere and repeated vows.
 Five-colored auspicious clouds
 Appear three times in one day.

Compared to the songs of the Eastern and Northern Terraces, "I Ascend the Central Terrace" seems rather serene. The weather is calmer and the landscape has a more human scale. This terrace was especially famous for its flowers, and Yanyi makes a point of listing the five most famous varieties. (84) The temples on this terrace were considered to be among the oldest on Mount Wutai, built by Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei (r. 471-99), and the legends of manifestations and transformations here were especially numerous and well documented.

"I Ascend the Central Terrace" celebrates the natural beauty of its cliffs and foliage. The Guang qingliang zhuan describes cliffs of many colors. Far more common, however, are effusive descriptions of the flowers. As we have seen, Ennin exclaimed that the Central Terrace was full of extraordinarily strange flowers and delicate plants covering the ground like a dazzling brocade. However, the most famous garden on the terrace is described by Huixiang as located south of the Da futu si [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Great Pagoda Temple). Like the temple, the garden had been created by Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei. These are surely the "strange plants and famous flowers" to which the poem refers:
 South of the temple is a flower garden of about twenty-three qing.
 (85) The rich soil has luxuriant vegetation of a hundred kinds and a
 thousand names. Their splendor is dazzling, in appearance the same as
 an unfurled brocade. They were planted by Emperor Xiaowen. Local
 custom says that in the spring these flowers are hardly blooming, and
 barely cover the ground. On the fifteenth day of the seventh month,
 they all blossom at once for seven days, and then in a gust of wind
 they wither. [The garden] is through a gloomy narrow pass which is
 difficult to find. This is why few see it. The Guadi zhi
 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], calling it the flower orchard, says:
 "The numinous plants and embroidered forests, the strange species and
 unusual names, the tame and gentle birds and animals, are left
 naturally undisturbed. Truly it is a beautiful landscape." (86)

Daoxuan also recorded a flower garden of about three qing to the south of the Dafu lingjiu si (Temple of the Great Faith of the Numinous Vulture), with flowers in constant bloom. (87) The site was also famous for the appearance of Manjusri and many other divine beings.

The Guang qingliang zhuan describes a different temple, the Yuhua si [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Jade Flower Temple), as built during the Tang dynasty on the Central Terrace, perhaps on the ruin of an earlier site. This area was apparently also well known for its flowers:
 Southeast of the Central Terrace is Jade Flower Temple. Legends say
 that long ago five hundred Indian monks practiced meditation and
 wisdom there. During the heat of summer, they dwelled on the Central
 Terrace, and in the frigidity of winter they returned to Jade Flower
 Temple to meditate ... The old temple foundation still exists there.

The Qingliang shan zhi also notes that five hundred monks lived there and describes the flowers: "White lotuses grew in the pool, hard and lustrous like jade. The Dai magistrate built a stone wall around it and called it the Jade Flower." It was believed that the pool existed on the temple grounds. (89)

Yanyi also lists Taihua chi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Great Flower Pool) as one of the numinous traces of the Central Terrace. This is clearly a different pool from the Jade Flower Pool, but many of the pilgrims, including Ennin, confused the two sites. (90) The Great Flower Pool is mentioned in the Gu qingliang zhuan as the place where the sages washed their hands and rinsed their mouths, and into which pilgrims threw flowers and valuables as offerings. (91) The Guang qingliang zhuan also describes the location:
 On top of the Central Terrace is the Great Flower Pool, with a
 circumference of two li. Heaven created the nine bends. Its water is
 deep, the color of vaidurya, and so clear one can see to the bottom.
 The inside of the pool is level, with piles of fallen rocks. Among
 the clumps of rocks are famous flowers of a hundred kinds brightly
 intertwined. This is the location of the palace of the divine
 dragons. People see them occasionally, and the frightened spirits are
 startled. The clouds and mist shine auspiciously. It is difficult to
 describe in detail, but the size and depth of the pool and the
 transformations of the spirits are uncertain. For this reason,
 visitors pay reverence by throwing their jewels and girdle ornaments
 into the water before departing. (92)

The Golden Sand Bank may refer to the bank of the Golden Sand River, a mythical Indian river which appears in the Nirvana sutra. The Qingliang shan zhi briefly describes a Jinshan quan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Golden Sand Spring) located on the side of the Dragon Gate on the Central Terrace. (93) It may also allude to the Hiranyavati River, the gold river, next to which Sakyamuni Buddha attained nirvana, (94) or to the golden sands of the Jambu River, which ran through the continent of Jamabudvipa. (95)

According to Yanyi, the Qiannian bingku [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Thousand-Year-Old Ice Grotto) was one of the four numinous traces on the Central Terrace. (96) Ennin describes it as an area of ice so protected by the valley that it cannot melt:
 To the northeast, gazing far off to the bottom of a deep valley, is a
 silvery white area almost a mile long. People say this is the
 thousand-year-old ice. Year after year the snow does not melt, and
 collects as ice. The valley is deep, its back in shadow and its front
 concealed by a cliff that protects it from the sunlight. This is why
 from ancient times there has never been a period when even a tiny bit
 of snow has thawed. (97)

The five-colored auspicious clouds allude to the five colors of Buddhism, each of which corresponds to one of the five directions and symbolizes an ideal. (98) Five-colored clouds are mentioned countless times in the pilgrimage literature, besides being found in the poetry of Mount Wutai. The Guang qingliang zhuan records the visit of Mount Wutai of a meditation master, who "climbed to the top of the southwestern terrace and gazed at the five peaks. All had five-colored clouds covering them." (99)

In this song of the Central Terrace, after visiting several beautiful sites and perhaps experiencing his own visions of the bodhisattva, the poet is finally moved to make a vow, presumably to follow the Buddhist path. After he makes his pledge, the mountain responds with three manifestations of the five-colored clouds, as if they signal their approval. The "three times in one day" echoes a similar line in "I Ascend the Northern Terrace," where the poet either meditates or circumambulates three times per day.

Next the poet comes to the Western Terrace:
 I Ascend the Western Terrace (100)

 I ascend the Western Terrace,
 Truly a holy region.
 By the side of Anavatapta Lake,
 Seems to be an image of a golden bridge.
 Two nimbi are shining as bright as mirrors.
 One Fragrant Mountain,
 Rocky bare peaks are worth singing about.
 The footprints of the lion
 Are deeply and permanently imprinted.
 Beside the Pool of Eight Virtues,
 The sweet dew is always clear and pure.
 The [Tathagatha of the] Dragon Assembly is asked to lead the
 The devotee converses with him,
 So that the devas and men listen.

The Western Terrace is designated as the truly holy region of Mount Wutai. Perhaps it is because this was the location of Manjusri's most famous manifestation, which is described in the second half of this song. Anavatapta Lake, the sacred lake of the five-peaked mountain range of Manjusri's Indian residence, was usually represented on Mount Wutai by the Great Flower Pool on the Central Terrace. We can only speculate that the poet is gazing into the distance at this pool, from the summit of the Western Terrace. He looks far off at the image of a golden bridge, a divine manifestation which appeared from time to time to pilgrims.

The golden bridge is a heavenly bridge the buddhas cross when they attain nirvana. It is mentioned in several other poems about Mount Wutai that are found in the Dunhuang manuscripts, among them the "Wutai shan zanwen" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], which describes a golden bridge within the Tiancheng si [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Temple of the Heavenly City) on the Eastern Terrace where the buddhas come and go. The bridge, floating upon a five-colored cloud, also appears in the wall painting of Mount Wutai found in Dunhuang cave no. 61, near the Clear Cold Temple on the Central Terrace. (101)

It is unclear if the golden bridge is associated with the Golden River, where Sakyamuni Buddha attained nirvana. Yanyi recorded two famous visions of the golden bridge on Mount Wutai; each was associated with the appearance of Manjusri to the Tang Buddhist monks Fazhao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and Daoyi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], respectively. In Fazhao's vision of Zhulin si [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Bamboo Grove Temple), which he later had built on the Central Terrace, he "saw a tower with a golden door, possibly one hundred feet high, connected to two side towers. When he reached the entrance, he saw a temple. In front of the monastery was a large golden bridge." (102) Daoyi also saw the golden bridge as part of his vision of the Jinge si [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Temple of the Golden Pavilion), which was built on the Central Terrace in 767. (103) Zhang Shangying writes that he thought he saw a golden bridge and a wheel of light by the side of the Southern Terrace. He was at the Temple of the Golden Pavilion when the vision occurred. (104)

Nimbi, shining wheels of light or glowing clouds of one or more colors, also often appeared in the mountains, and they were also believed to be manifestations of Manjusri. The Manjusri-parinirvana sutra portrays the bodhisattva as surrounded by a magnificent nimbus within which appear five-colored jewels and lights. Ennin described an experience of his own with these balls of light, which appeared at any time of the day or night:
 The heavens were beautifully clear and the sky was azure blue. There
 was not a single patch of shadow. Together with Isho, Igyo, and
 several monks from the cloister, from the courtyard I saw a shining
 colored could, radiant and glorious, in front of the cloister
 pavilion. Its colors were extremely beautiful. Luminously it floated
 in the air above the summit, and after a long time, it disappeared.

Yanyi quotes from Chengguan, the Fourth Patriarch of the Huayan sect who described these nimbi as a natural part of the mountain landscape, much like the birds or clouds:
 Delicate and auspicious plants appear at dawn amidst hundreds of
 flowers. Sometimes ten thousand sages are spread out across the sky,
 and five-colored clouds congeal in the caverns. Nimbi glow in the
 mountain azure. Auspicious birds soar in the misty heavens. Whoever
 but hears the name of the Great Sage never again experiences the
 anxieties of mankind. Whoever enters the holy region follows in his
 footsteps. (106)

The Fragrant Mountain has been previously mentioned as Gandhamadana, the place of Manjusri's parinirvana. Yanyi lists Fragrant Mountain as one of the numinous traces of the Western Terrace. (107) Zhencheng says it is between the Central Terrace and the Western Terrace. (108) Ennin describes it as three steep and tall peaks on the Western Terrace. (109) The poem now begins to deal with sites actually associated with this terrace.

Yanyi lists the Shizi zong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Footprints of the Lion) as one of the numinous traces of the Western Terrace. (110) It refers to the impressions made by Manjusri's mount, which were deeply imprinted in the ground near another numinous site, the Ersheng duitan shi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Rock of the Conversation of the Two Sages). Ennin visited the rock and described it in his diary:
 Down a slope west of the terrace about five or six li, in a nearby
 valley is where Manjusri and Vimalakirti conversed. Two great cliffs
 face each other, rising on the north and on the south about thirty
 feet high. The cliffs are flat on top, with great stone seats.
 Legends say this is where the bodhisattva Manjusri and Vimalakirti
 conversed. Below these two seats, on the rocks below, are the
 footprints of a lion, stamped into the face of the rock about one
 inch deep. (111)

This manifestation is based on an episode from the fifth chapter of the Vimalakirti sutra. Vimalakirti was the most brilliant lay disciple of the Buddha, equal to the bodhisattvas in his spiritual attainment. In the sutra's most famous chapter, he manifests himself as a sick person in order to teach others about the Buddhist doctrine. When the Buddha hears of his illness, he instructs each of his five-hundred disciples to inquire after Vimalakirti, but each in turn refuses, having been previously intimidated by his enlightened mind. The Buddha then asks the bodhisattvas to visit Vimalakirti, but all resist except for Manjusri. The episode inspired numerous writings preserved in the Dunhuang manuscripts. (112) The conversation between Vimalakirti and Manjusri is also portrayed in the wall-painting of Mount Wutai in Dunhuang cave no. 61, in which the lay devotee is dressed in the robes of a Chinese scholar-official. This event is depicted in several other Dunhuang wall-paintings as well. (113)

Ennin describes a Pool of Eight Virtues, about one hundred paces from the site of Vimalakirti and Manjusri's dialogue. (114) Yanyi lists it as one of the numinous traces of the Western Terrace. (115) It was named after a pool near Mount Sumeru, which contained holy water with eight virtues, and tasted like sweet dew, or ambrosia.

Manjusri, the Supreme Tathagatha of the Dragon Kind, was considered to be the leader of the bodhisattvas. In the Vimalakirti sutra, when others hear that Manjusri is to visit Vimalakirti, they become excited at the spiritual possibilities of such a visit and follow him to Vimalakirti's sick bed:
 The bodhisattvas, the chief disciples of the Buddha and the rulers of
 the four heavens who were present, thought to themselves: "As the two
 Mahasattvas will be meeting, they will certainly discuss the profound
 Dharma." So, eight thousand bodhisattvas, five hundred sravakas and
 hundreds of thousands of devas wanted to follow Manjusri. (116)

The last three lines of the poem refer to this event. The devotee of the song is none other than Vimalakirti. While Manjusri and Vimalakirti discussed profound doctrines, all heavenly and human beings could not help but listen.

In this song, the poet seems closer to the divine than he did in the previous verses. He has a vision of the golden bridge, which leads to nirvana. He sees two circles of light, possibly representing Manjusri and Vimalakirti, and then he praises the Fragrant Mountain, Manjusri's home after his parinirvana. He visits the site of the legendary conversation between the enlightened layman and the bodhisattva. For the Chinese Buddhist, Vimalakirti was a truly inspirational figure, more akin to the traditional model of the enlightened Chinese scholar-official. The lay devotee was such an important figure on Mount Wutai that he even appeared in visions of pilgrims, at the side of Manjusri and Samantabhadra.

Finally, the poet arrives at the Southern Terrace:
 I Ascend the Southern Terrace (117)

 I ascend the Southern Terrace,
 Its woods and peaks are set apart,
 A pure region, solitary and high,
 Below whose cliffs I look at the stars and moon.
 I gaze at a distant place, with joyful emotions and thoughts.
 Perchance I hear the divine bell,
 Feeling ashamed, I grasp the burning incense.
 Shu brocade flowers,
 Silver silk knots,
 I offer to the devas.
 No one plucks the water lilies.
 The dust and toil of the past are now extinguished.
 May my good fortune and longevity be prolonged,
 So that I can see the true bodhisattva.

The Southern Terrace was unique among the five peaks. The Western, Central, Northern and Eastern Terraces cluster close together, whereas the Southern Terrace lies isolated and remote, a considerable distance to the south of the other four. This gave it a special aura among peaks at no loss for magic and mystery. Huixiang noted: "it is a numinous region of isolation. This is why people rarely pass through it." (118) Yanyi seemed especially intrigued with the Southern Terrace, describing it in more detail than the other terraces:
 The Southern Terrace is isolated and inaccessible, and a great
 distance from all the terraces. The forest at the foot of the
 mountain is dense and lush, and the cliffs lean to one side. It is
 the most gloomy and lonely place. Long ago, the Meditation Master
 Sengming dwelled here for more than thirty years. He also encountered
 a divine immortal who flew in the air and then departed, only a
 cicada shedding his skin. Famous flowers bloom everywhere on the
 mountain peak for thirty li. It is commonly called Xianhua shan
 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Immortal Flower Mountain). One
 frequently experiences a transformation temple, and from time to time
 the sound of a bell. Long ago, someone encountered a strange man in
 the guise of a great official. In the midst of speaking, he leaped up
 and soared away into the distance. (119)

The Southern Terrace was famous for the Shengzhong ku [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Grotto of the Holy Bell), from which was heard the spontaneous tolling of a bell. Ennin wrote that it was thought to be a manifestation of Manjusri. (120) The "strange man" was probably considered to be the bodhisattva as well.

The peaceful and contemplative tone of this poem is unlike the others, and not just because the Southern Terrace is far away from the other terraces. There are no descriptions of visits to numinous traces, of which Yanyi lists nine on this terrace. The poet seems different too; he looks, listens, and sits. He has reached the end of his pilgrimage and has joyful feelings and thoughts about his experiences. The poet of this song has completely left behind the ordinary world and has embraced the pure land of Mount Wutai, and prays to live long enough to see the bodhisattva himself. He has had some visions, such as those of the five-colored clouds and the golden bridge, but not the one he apparently longs for. This particular song has a unity of theme and clarity of vision missing from the other five songs. As the most personal poem of the six, it greatly contrasts with "The Hall of the Great Sage," which celebrates the mountain as home of the divine beings and has no individual voice. It serves as an appropriate coda to the set of six songs.


The poetry of Mount Wutai from the Dunhuang manuscripts reflects the fullest development of the Manjusri cult on the mountain, and its complete transformation into a Buddhist sacred site. The poems owe a great debt to medieval Chinese Buddhism, particularly to the philosophy and symbolism of the Huayan sect. The aesthetic of these poems very much reflects the elaborate language of the Avatamsaka sutra. As the sutra teaches the simultaneity of all phenomena, the poems of Mount Wutai are crowded with sensation. As the sutra expounds upon the interdependent nature of all phenomena, the poems of Mount Wutai see relationships between seemingly disparate events. As the sutra propounds the theory that all things can be perceived within a single thought, the poems of Mount Wutai leap easily from concept to concept.

The "Songs of Mount Wutai" omit some of the most important numinous traces of the individual terraces, and not one Buddhist temple is mentioned by name. For example, "I Ascend the Northern Terrace" does not mention the Palace of the Dragon King, the most significant site on the terrace, and while the poet mentions the Narayana Grotto, he neglects to visit Vajra Grotto, the most famous cave on Mount Wutai. Another oddity is that not one person or divine being is specified, except for Manjusri. In these omissions, this set of poems greatly contrasts with the other Mount Wutai poems in the Dunhuang manuscripts, which name temples, monks, bodhisattvas, and other figures from the pilgrimage and sutra literature.

Despite their unique genres and themes inspired by the Buddhist scriptures and their relationship to the pilgrimage and sutra literature about the mountain, the "Songs of Mount Wutai" share some of the conventions of classical Chinese poetry. The goal of all Buddhist literature is essentially didactic, and the Mount Wutai poems are no exception. Unlike the Chan gong'an, these poems are not paradoxes producing sudden enlightenment. Their intention is to generate feelings of faith and devotion, to plant a seed that may eventually lead to enlightenment. The Mount Wutai poems encourage the listener to visit Mount Wutai; one set exhorts him to chant the name of Amitabha. Some of the poems are more strident than others, but all continuously remind the listener that he has the rare opportunity to experience Manjusri's pure land on Chinese soil.

The Mount Wutai poems are poems of a spirit journey. The buddhas and bodhisattvas descend from the clouds, the mountain trembles with thunder caused by the dragon spirits, and pilgrims wander at dizzying and dangerous heights in search of the bodhisattva Manjusri. Mount Wutai is essentially a Buddhist Kunlun, the abode of the Buddhist gods and goddesses. Its shamans are realized monks who wander freely throughout the mountain, communing with the divine.

The Mount Wutai poems are also poems of pilgrimage. The "Songs of Mount Wutai" contain verses which are clearly the pilgrimage of an individual climbing the mountain in search of enlightenment. Some of the Mount Wutai poems seem to refer to a personal journey, such as "I Ascend the Southern Terrace," which ends with the pilgrim's desire that he may accumulate enough merit and live long enough to see Manjusri.

Finally, the Mount Wutai poems are poems of reclusion. "I Ascend the Southern Terrace" states, "The dust and toil of the past are now extinguished." The pilgrim has ascended the last of the five terraces and has decided to leave the world behind and perhaps become a monk.

The Mount Wutai poems teach a valuable lesson about Buddhist poetry in China. It is complex, varied, and not easily defined. It shares some of the universal themes of traditional Chinese poetry, but it has its own unique poetic genres and literary motifs. These poems, together with other Buddhist poems in the Dunhuang manuscripts, are extremely significant not only for the study of medieval Chinese Buddhism, but also for understanding the development of poetry in medieval China. They both enrich our knowledge of the tradition we already know and reveal a little-known aspect of Chinese traditional literature.



I wish to acknowledge the generous support of the Fulbright Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Research Foundation of the City University of New York during various stages of my research.

1. The other groups of poems appear in a variety of versions in over thirty manuscripts preserved in the Pelliot, Stein, Leningrad, and Beijing collections. "Wutai shan zan" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Eulogy on Mount Wutai) is found in S. 4039, S. 4429, S. 5456, S. 5473, S. 5487, S. 5573, P. 3563, P. 4608, P. 4560, P. 4625, P. 4627, P. 4645, P. 4647, L. 0278, L. 1009, L. 1269, L. 1362, L. 1369, L. 1398, and Beijing/xian 18. "Wutai shan zanwen" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Eulogy on Mount Wutai) shares the title of the previous set, but is entirely different in content. This eulogy celebrates the pilgrimage of the Pure Land Buddhist monk Fazhao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] to Mount Wutai in 770. It appears in S. 0370 as "Wutai shan zan," but it is called "Wutai shan zanwen" in P. 3645 and P. 2483. "Wutai shan shengjing zan" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Eulogy on the Holy Regions of Mount Wutai) is attributed to the monk Xuanben of the Golden Terrace [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] This set of eleven poems includes a poem on each of the five terraces, two poems on Indian figures associated with Mount Wutai, and two poems on bodhisattvas. It appears in P. 4641, P. 4617, S. 4504. See Mary Anne Cartelli, "The Poetry of Mount Wutai: Chinese Buddhist Verse from Dunhuang" (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1999), for a detailed study of the entire corpus of poems.

2. Huixiang, Gu qingliang zhuan (hereafter cited as Gu QLZ), T. 2098: 51.

3. Yanyi, Guang qingliang zhuan (hereafter cited as GQLZ), T. 2099: 51.

4. Zhang Shangying, Xu qingliang zhuan (hereafter cited as XQLZ), T. 2100: 51. Robert M. Gimello has translated a portion of this work in his article "Chang Shang-ying on Wu-t'ai Shan," in Pilgrims and Sacred Sites in China, ed. Susan Naquin and Chun-fang Yu (Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press, 1992).

5. Ennin, Nitto guho junrei gyoki, in Ono Katsutoshi, ed., Nitto guho junrei gyoki no kenkyu, 4 vols. (Tokyo: Suzuki gakujutsu zaidan, 1964-69; hereafter cited as NGJG). The work has been published in English as Ennin's Diary: The Record of a Pilgrimage to China in Search of the Law, tr. Edwin O. Reischauer (New York: Ronald Press Co., 1955; hereafter cited as ED).

6. Daoxuan, Ji Shenzhou sanbao gantong lu, T. 2106: 52, and Daoxuan lushi gantong lu, T. 2107: 52.

7. Fazang, Huayan jing chuanji, T. 2073: 51.

8. Chengguan, Dafangguang fo huayan jing shu, T. 1735: 35.

9. Zhencheng, Qingliang shan zhi, ed. Li Yumin (Taiyuan: Shanxi renmin chubanshe, 1989; hereafter cited as QLSZ).

10. Foshuo Wenshu shili ban niepan jing, T. 463: 14.

11. Wenshu shili fabaozang tuoluoni jing, T. 1185A: 20.

12. This sutra was first translated by Buddhabhadra between 418 and 421 as the Dafangguang fo huayan jing [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (T. 278: 9). It was retranslated by Siksananda between 695 and 699 (T. 279: 10).

13. Etienne Lamotte, "Manjusri," T'oung Pao 48 (1960), 34-35.

14. Wenshu shili fabaozang tuoluoni jing, T. 1185A: 20, 791c.

15. A monk of the Huayan sect. He was of Korean origin, and also known as Yuanxiao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (fl. 617).

16. GQLZ, 1104a.

17. Dafangguang fo huayan jing, T. 279: 10, 241b. See also T. 278: 9, 590a.

18. Lamotte, 61.

19. Birnbaum, "Secret Halls of the Mountain Lords: The Caves of Wu-t'ai shan," Cahiers d'Extreme-Asie 5 (1989-1990): 115-40; Studies on the Mysteries of Manjusri (Boulder: Society for the Study of Chinese Religions, Monograph no. 2, 1983); "Thoughts on T'ang Buddhist Mountain Traditions and Their Contexts," T'ang Studies 2 (1984): 5-23; "The Manifestation of a Monastery: Shenying's Experiences on Mount Wu-t'ai in T'ang Context," JAOS 106 (1986): 119-37.

20. Legends associating Mount Wutai with ancient rulers are summarized in QLSZ, 66-67.

21. This fourth-century legend credits him with bringing Buddhism to China and erecting stupas there.

22. One of the ten great disciples of the Buddha, and the subject of a Dunhuang bianwen translated in Victor Mair, Tun-huang Popular Narratives (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1983), 87-121.

23. This legend is recounted in detail by Daoxuan, Daoxuan lushi gantong lu, T. 2107: 52, 437a-b. A partial English translation appears in Birnbaum, "The Manifestation of a Monastery," 125-26.

24. Gu QLZ, 1093c.

25. Lamotte, 61.

26. Sun Qifang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "Ci, fu foqu" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], in Zhou Shaoliang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], ed., Dunhuang wenxue [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Lanzhou: Gansu renmin chubanshe, 1982), 196-216.

27. S. 2985 also appears as T. 2830B: 85, under the title "Daoan fashi nian Fo zanwen" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

28. Ren Bantang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], ed., Jiaofang ji jianding [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Shanghai: Zhonghua shuju, 1962), 109.

29. Ren, Dunhuang geci zongbian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1987; hereafter cited as DHGCZB), 1705-6.

30. Ibid., 1703-4.

31. Jao Tsong-yi and Paul Demieville, Airs de Touen-houang (Touen-houang k'iu): Textes a chanter des VIIIe-Xe siecles (Paris: Editions du Centre National de la recherche scientifique, 1971), 191-92.

32. Xiang Chu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Dunhuang geci zongbian kuangbu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Taibei: Xinwenfeng, 1994), 294-95.

33. My translation is based on collations of the various manuscripts in DHGCZB, 1711. Emendations are noted.

34. I read [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] for [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], following Jiang Lihong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Dunhuang bianwen ziyi tongshi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 4th ed. (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1988), 599.


36. GQLZ, 1105c. This interpretation is reinforced by Jiang Lihong's understanding of the fifth line, which he reads as "the rugged peaks guard the center," as if the terraces are leaning on each other as part of their effort to protect the Central Terrace, which contained a hall dedicated to the bodhisattva. He reads [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] for [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] of S. 2985; Jiang, 599.

37. NGJG, 3: 48.

38. GQLZ, 1106a.

39. Ibid., 1108c.

40. QLSZ, 60.

41. Fazang, Huayan jing chuanji, T. 2073: 51, 157a.

42. GQLZ, T. 2099: 51, 1106a.

43. Dafangguang fo huayan jing, T. 279: 10, 241c. In Buddhabhadra's earlier translation, reference is made to Narayana Mountain. See T. 278: 9, 590a.

44. Gu QLZ, 1093a.

45. GQLZ, 1101b-c. The actual reference is found in Kumarajiva's translation of the Suramgama-samadhi sutra: Foshuo shoulengyan sanmei jing [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], T. 642: 15, 644a. Zhi Qian's earlier translation is no longer extant.

46. GQLZ, 1106b. Fragrant Mountain is actually located between the Western and Central Terraces.

47. NGJG, 3: 28.

48. See Lamotte, 84-91, for a discussion of Indian pilgrims beginning with Buddhapalita. Also see Richard Schneider, "Une moine indian au Wou-t'ai chan: Relation d'un pelerinage," Cahiers d'Extreme-Asie 3 (1987): 37-40; and Paul W. Kroll, Dharma Bell and Dharani Pillar: Li Po's Buddhist Inscriptions (Kyoto: Italian School of East Asian Studies, 2002), 41-42.

49. Gu QLZ, 1098c-1099c.

50. Fazang, Huayan jing chuanji, T. 2073: 51, 157a-b.

51. DHGCZB, 1716-17. The name of the festival was changed in the second year of the Tianbao era (743). Ren uses this allusion to support his argument that these poems date to the High Tang.

52. Kenneth Ch'en, Buddhism in China: A Historical Survey (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1964), 218.

53. DHGCZB, 1719.

54. GQLZ, 1106a.

55. QLSZ, 37.

56. Daoxuan, Ji Shenzhou sanbao gantong lu, T. 2106: 52, 422c.

57. GQLZ, 1109a.

58. Ibid., 1119c.

59. Xiang Chu, 295. He believes since Yanyi mentions a Gu Huayan si (Ancient Flower Ornament Temple) located on the Eastern Terrace, that this song might refer to this manifestation. Based on the date of this incident, he claims that these songs must date to the Late Tang, and not to the High Tang as Ren Batang supposed. There are two problems with this theory. First, Yanyi clearly calls the monastery of Jin Guangzhao's vision the Great Flower Ornament Temple, which was the new name for the Temple of Great Faith of the Numinous Vulture, located on the Central Terrace. The name was adopted between 695 and 704 during the reign of Wu Zetian, predating Jin Guangzhao's vision by over seventy years. Second, the manifestations appeared to Jin Guangzhao on the Western and not the Eastern Terrace, near Mysterious Woman Cliff.

60. GQLZ, 1112a.

61. Ibid., 1117a.

62. Ibid., 1117b.

63. Ibid., 1106a.

64. NGJG, 3: 58.

65. A county in present-day Fujian province.

66. Referring to the true image of Manjusri, considered the closest to the bodhisattva's likeness.

67. GQLZ, 1126b-c.

68. DHGCZB, 1722.

69. From naihe [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "no alternative." The Chinese is both a pun and the transliteration of the Sanskrit Niraya, or Naraka, for Hell, or Purgatory. It is the river which all souls must cross.

70. Ren reads [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] as [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ("sorrowful"), based on a similar poem by Zhang Shangying. Jiang Lihong believes [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is a loan word for [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ("angry"). See DHGCZB, 1725-26, and Jiang Lihong, 600.

71. GQLZ, 1106a. The Western Terrace also shares this distinction.

72. One of the four continents, which was located south of Mount Meru.

73. Referring to those who have turned away from, or are ignorant of, Buddhist practice.

74. Fannao (Skt. klesa), or afflictions, are evil passions that pollute the mind and body.

75. GQLZ, 1118b-c.

76. Gu QLZ, 1093b.

77. GQLZ, 1105c.

78. Ibid., 1106a.

79. QLSZ, 43.

80. ED, 244-45.

81. The equinoxes, solstices, and first day of each season.

82. NGJG, 3: 96.

83. DHGCZB, 1726.

84. GQLZ, 1105c.

85. About 350 acres.

86. Gu QLZ, 1094c.

87. Daoxuan, Ji Shenzhou sanbao gantong lu, T. 2106: 52, 425a. The Temple of the Great Faith of the Numinous Vulture was also called the Huayuan si (Temple of the Flower Garden).

88. GQLZ, 1109a-b.

89. QLSZ, 48. Liu Yao et al. believe that the temple was named for the Jade Flower Palace in Chang'an, where the Tang monk Xuanzang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] translated the Mahaprajna-paramita sutra from 660 to 663. See Liu Yao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] et al., eds., Wutai shan luyou cidian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Beijing: Tuanjie chubanshe, 1993), 76.

90. Ennin visits the Great Flower Pool but mistakenly calls it the Jade Flower Pool. He says it is on the summit of the Central Terrace, and that its other name is the Dragon Pool.

91. Gu QLZ, 1093b.

92. GQLZ, 1105b-c.

93. QLSZ, 44.

94. The Gold River is believed to be an actual river, corresponding to the Gandaki River of Nepal.

95. Kroll, 56 n. 70. He quotes from Buddhapalita's translation of the Foding zunsheng tuoluoni jing [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Usnisavijaya-dharani sutra), T. 967: 19, 351b: "... the Jambu river gold, brightly clean and mildly unassuming, which brings pleasure to those who see it, not being tainted or cloyed by pollution or evil." This sutra is closely associated with Mount Wutai. Also see Cartelli, 147-52.

96. GQLZ, 1105c.

97. NGJG, 3: 47-48.

98. Blue corresponds to the east and symbolizes meditation; yellow corresponds to the center and symbolizes memory; red corresponds to the south and symbolizes zeal; white corresponds to the west and symbolizes faith; and black corresponds to the north and symbolizes wisdom. Obviously this is a Buddhist overlay on the traditional Five Agents (wu xing) theory and correlates.

99. GQLZ, 1105c.

100. DHGCZB, 1729.

101. Dunhuang wenwu yanjiu suo, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ed., Dunhuang Mogao ku [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Beijing: Wenwu chu banshe, 1990), vol. 5, plate 59.

102. GQLZ, 1114b.

103. Ibid., 1113b.

104. XQLZ, 1127c. See also Gimello, 103-4.

105. NGJG, 3: 83-84.

106. GQLZ, 1104c. See also Chengguan, Dafangguang fo huayan jingshi, 859c.

107. GQLZ, 1106b.

108. QLSZ, 42.

109. ED, 240.

110. GQLZ, 1106b.

111. NGJG, 3: 29.

112. S. 6631 and S. 2454 contain the "Wu gengzhuan jianshi' ershi" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], a set of twenty-eight poems dating from the Tang which give highlights of the fifth chapter of the sutra in five-line verse. There are also several jiangjing wen [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] versions of the sutra.

113. Dunhuang Mogao ku, vol. 5, plates 74-75.

114. ED, 242.

115. GQLZ, 1106b.

116. Lu K'uan Yu (Charles Luk), tr., The Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra (Berkeley: Shambala, 1972), 49; Weimojie suoshuo jing, T. 475: 14, 544b.

117. DHGCZB, 1733.

118. Gu QLZ, 1095c.

119. GQLZ, 1106b.

120. ED, 265.
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Author:Cartelli, Mary Anne
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Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Oct 1, 2004
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