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193 Daoist Cultivation in the Zhongnan Mountains GERHARD MILBRAT & KNUT GOLLENBECK The Zhongnan mountains 鍾南山, southwest of Xi’an, are a major center of Daoism. Not only do they contain the place where Laozi transmitted the Daode jing, but the area also brought forth the Longmen lineage 龍門 派 of the school of Complete Perfection (Quanzhen dao 全真道) with its particular combination of Daoist thought, ways of nourishing life, and internal alchemy. For over a thousand years, wise men, hermits, monks, priests, and healers have lived in this Daoist holy land, inspired by its heritage and inspiring their followers. Master Li Jiacheng 李佳诚, a 22nd gen‑ eration Longmen Daoist, is one of the key figures there today. Receiving Daoist in‑ struction from childhood, he finds himself increasingly in the public eye, especially in his spread of the esoteric practices of Jin Dan Dao 金丹道(Golden Elixir Dao‑ ism). The abbot of a small yet ancient temple called Anle gong 安樂宮(Palace of Peace and Happiness), his work centers on self‑cultivation, Daoist medicine, espe‑ cially qigong treatments, and meditation. He is creating a new dimension of Daoist practice today. 194 / Journal of Daoist Studies 6 (2013) The Zhongnan Mountains Southern Shaanxi is divided east to west by a mountain range approxi‑ mately a thousand miles long, known as the Qinling range 秦嶺山. Its mountains form a natural barrier and create a watershed between north and south china. Blessed by a rich flora and fauna as well as ample de‑ posits of jade, gold, and other metals and minerals, the peaks reach up to 9000 feet: the main summit is Mount Taibai 太白山 at 11,300 feet (3767 m). The foothills of the Qinling range begin about thirty miles southwest of Xi’an, to rise from there into a lesser range known as the Zhongnan mountains. Ranging for a length of over 150 miles, they contain many Daoist centers and have housed innumerable hermits over the millennia (see Porter 1993). Many important masters lived and practiced here. Laozi transmit‑ ted his philosophy here, at Louguantai 樓觀台, on his emigration to the west. Wang Chongyang 王重陽(1113‑1170), the founder of Complete Per‑ fection, began his ascetic career here before venturing into Shandong to spread his teachings. The Xiyou ji 西遊記 (Journey to the West) has Faxian stop first at the Jinxian guan 金仙觀 (Temple of the Golden Im‑ mortal) with its terraces dating back to the Han. Jinxian guan Milbrat & Gollenbeck, “Daoist Cultivation” / 195 The temple is, moreover, the root location of Korean Daoism: a Korean monk 金可记 reached immortality here before bringing Daoism to his homeland. Today Daoism is increasingly popular in China, in the various areas of religion, health enhancement, and tourism. Many temples are being restored and expanded. In the Zhongnan mountains, these include espe‑ cially the Yuquan yuan 玉泉院 (Jade Spring Monastery) at the foot of Mount Hua, the Zongsheng guan 宗聖觀 (Monastery of the Ancestral Sage), occupying several hectares of a new Daoist Culture Area near Longuantai, and the Danyang guan 丹陽觀 (Monastery of Ma Danyang), about twenty miles west of Louguantai, where the Complete Perfection master Ma Yu 馬鈺 (aka Danyang; 1123‑1183) worked. Danyang guan The Chinese government supports this expansion, encouraging Daoist groups to restore historic areas and develop new, modern facili‑ ties such as spas, hospitals, and sanatoria, which increasingly make use of Daoist methods of life cultivation. This overall development is also affecting smaller and lesser known temples. Among them is particularly the Anle gong, in the early middle ages founded as a Buddhist temple by the name of Baoning si 寶寧寺 196 / Journal of Daoist Studies 6 (2013) (Monastery of Treasuring Peace). It became a Daoist temple in the early years of Complete Perfection, when Qiu Chuji 邱處機 (aka Changchun 長 春; 1148‑1227), the senior and most famous of the founder’s disciples, settled nearby on Mount Longmen. Anle gong Its name derives from Prince Anle, the third son of emperor Yang Jian 楊 堅, the first emperor of Sui Dynasty. After many years of war, wished his son to grow up in “peace and happiness” (anle). The temple honors all major Chinese religions: its main hall has a stone statue of the Buddha in the center, with Confucius and Lord Lao on his right and left. Surrounded by mountains covered with pine trees...


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pp. 193-202
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