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Home >> Buddhism & Daoism

Secret Pathways to Dao
118 Taoist Sacred Sites

18 September 2006

Suspended Temple of Three in One (悬空寺)

The temple is located in the sacred Daoist site North Supreme Mt. Heng (Shanxi Province), the fifth Minor Celestial Grotto of Total Mystery.

Originally built during North Wei Dynasty (386 – 534), it is set into the cliff face 60 metres above the ground level. When Tang Poet Li Bo (李白) paid his visit, he couldn’t help but to exclaim "How magnificent" (壮观), and he got his exclamation inscribed on the rock next to the architectural wonder.

Its magnificence and wonderment, in fact, are beyond the physical expression but extend to the spiritual essence: it is the only surviving temple in China that hosts all three doctrines and follows all three teachings, namely Confucius, Buddhism and Daoism.

In the mystic world of Daoism, there are 118 sacred sites that are said to be either administered or dwelled by Daoist immortals, and thus considered as the secret pathways to reach the formless realm of Dao.

Of 118, ten are called Great Celestial Grottoes (十大洞天), 36 are dubbed Small Celestial Grottoes (三十六小洞天) and 72 are named Blessed Fields (福地).

Following is complete list of Daoist sacred sites.

Ten Great Celestial Grottoes – Top 10 Secret Pathways to Dao:

1, Mt. Wangwu (王屋山)─ Celestial Grotto of Small Pristine Void (小有清虚洞天 )

2, Mt. Weiyu (委羽山)─ Celestial Grotto of Great Transparency and Brilliance (大有空明洞天 )

3, Mt. Xicheng (西城山)─ Celestial Grotto of Supreme Wonder of Ultimate Reality (太玄极真洞天 )

4, Mt. Xixuan (西玄山)─ Celestial Grotto of Three Wonders of Ultimate Reality (三玄极真洞天 )

5, Mt. Qingcheng (青城山)─ Celestial Grotto of Nine-Room for Precious Immortality (宝仙九台洞天 )

6, Mt. Tiantai (天台山)─ Celestial Grotto of Highest Clarity and Jade Peace (上清玉平洞天 )

7, Mt. Luofu (罗浮山)─ Celestial Grotto of Shining Reality in Golden Red (朱明耀真洞天 )

8, Mt. Juqu (句曲山)─ Celestial Grotto of Lustrous Golden Purple Sun (金华紫阳洞天 )

9, Mt. Linwu (林屋山)─ Celestial Grotto of Hidden Spirit of Left Supreme Being (左神幽灵洞天 )

10, Mt. Kuocang (括苍山)─ Celestial Grotto of Hidden Wonder of Heavenly Virtue (神德隐玄洞天)

Thirty-sit Minor Celestial Grottoes - Sacred Fields on Earth that Are Actually in the Charge of Celestial Beings:

1 Grotto in Mt. Huotong (霍桐山):
Area: 1500 sqkm
Title: Huoling Celestial Grotto (霍林洞天)
Administer: immortal Wang Weixuan (仙人王纬玄)

2, Grotto in East Supreme Mt. Tai (东岳泰山洞)
Area: 500 sqkm
Title: Celestial Grotto of Mysterious Canopy
Administer: Revered Mr. Shantu (山图公子)

3, Grotto in South Supreme Mt. Heng (南岳衡山洞)
Area: 360 sqkm
Title: Celestial Grotto of Red Hill (朱陵洞天)
Administrator: Immortal Shi Changsheng (仙人石长生)

4, Grotto in West Supreme Mt. Hua (西岳华洞)
Title: Celestial Grotto of Cardinal Immortal (总仙洞天)
Area: 150 sqkm
Administrator: True Man Huichezi (真人惠车子)

5, Grotto in North Supreme Mt. Heng (北岳恒山洞)
Area: 150 sqkm
Title: Celestial Grotto of Total Mystery (总玄洞天)
Administrator: True Man Zheng Zizhen (真人郑子真)

6, Grotto in Central Supreme Mt. Song (中岳嵩山洞)
Area: 150 sqkm
Title: Celestial Grotto of Sima (司马洞天)
Administrator: Immortal Deng Yunshan (仙人邓云山)

7, Grotto in Mt. Emei (峨眉山洞)
Area: 150 sqkm
Title: Celestial Grotto of Virtual Hill (虚陵洞天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Tang Lanzhi (真人唐览)

8, Grotto in Mt. Lu (庐山洞)
Area: 90 sqkm
Title: Perfect Heaven of Grotto Spirit (洞灵真天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Zhou Zhengshi

9, Grotto in Mt. Siming (四明山洞)
Area: 90 sqkm
Title: Liquid Heaven of Red Hill (山赤水天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Diao Daolin (刁道林)

10, Grotto in Mt. Guiji (会稽山洞)
Area: 175 sqkm
Title: Great Yang Heaven of Ultimate Wonder (极玄大亢天)
Administrator: Immortal Guo Hua (仙人郭华)

11, Grotto in Mt. Taibai (太白山洞)
Area: 250 sqkm
Title: Celestial Grotto of Wondrous Virtue (玄德洞天)
Administrator: Immortal Zhang Jilian (仙人张季连)

12, Grotto in West Mountain (西山洞)
Area: 150 sqkm
Title: Mysterious Heaven of Precious Tip of Celestial Pillar (天柱宝极玄天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Tang Gongcheng (真人唐公成)

13, Grotto in Little Gui Mount (小沩山洞)
Area: 150 sqkm
Title: Mysterious Supreme Heaven of Pro-life (好生玄上天)
Administrator: Immortal Hua Qiulin (仙人花丘林)

14, Grotto in Mt. Qian (潜山洞)
Area: 40 sqkm
Title: Mysterious Heaven of Celestial Pillar Supervision (天柱司玄天)
Administrator: Immortal Ji Qiuzi (仙人稷丘子)

15, Grotto in Mt. Ghost Valley (鬼谷山洞)
Area: 35 sqkm
Title: Perfect Heaven of Noble Mysterious (贵玄司真天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Cui Wenzi (真人崔文子)

16, Grotto in Mt. Wuyi (武夷山洞)
Area: 60 sqkm
Title: Mysterious Heaven of Perfect Transcendence (真升化玄天)
Administrator: Perfect man Liu Shaogong (真人刘少公)

17, Grotto in Mt. Si (笥山洞)
Area: 60 sqkm
Title: Paradise of Ultimate Mysterious Law (太玄法乐天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Liang Boluan (真人梁伯鸾)

18, Grotto in Mt. Huagai (华盖山洞)
Area: 20 sqkm
Title:Heaven of Great Jade and Guaranteed Accomplishment (容成大玉天)
Administrator: Immortal Ping Gongxiu (仙人平公修)

19, Grotto in Mt. Gaizhu (盖竹山洞)
Area: 40 sqkm
Title: Heaven of Precious and Eternal Illumination (长耀宝光天)
Administrator: Immortal Shang Qiuzi (仙人商丘子)

20, Grotto in Mt. Dujiao (都峤山洞)
Area: 90 sqkm
Title: Celestial Grotto of Precious Wonder (宝玄洞天)
Administrator: Immortal Liu Gen (仙人刘根)

21, Grotto in Mt. White Stone (白石山洞)
Area: 35 sqkm
Title: Heaven of Perpetual Actuality and Elegant Joy (秀乐长真天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Bai (白真人)

22, Grotto in Mt. Goulou (岣漏山洞)
Area: 20 sqkm
Title: Heaven of Precious Tablet and Jade Palace (玉阙宝圭天)
Administrator: Immortal Perfect Man Qian (仙人饯真人)

23, Grotto in Mt. Suspect (疑山洞)
Area: 1500 sqkm
Title: Heaven of Great Void and Approaching Truth (朝真太虚天)
Administrator: Immortal Yan Zhenqing (仙人严真青)

24, Grotto in Mt. Observing Yang (洞阳山洞)
Area: 75 sqkm
Title: Heaven of Observing Yang and Discerning Yin (洞阳隐观天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Liu

25, Grotto of Mt. Mufu (幕阜山洞)
Area: 90 sqkm
Title: Heaven of Ultimate Origin and Mysterious Truth (玄真太元天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Chen

26, Grotto of Mt. Dayou (大酉山洞)
Area: 50 sqkm
Title: Heaven of Dayou Glorious Sublimity (大酉华妙天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Yin (尹真人)

27, Grotto of Mt. Golden Court (金庭山洞)
Area: 150 sqkm
Title: Heaven of Golden Court and Lofty Sublimity (金庭崇妙天)
Administrator: Immortal Uncle Zhao

28, Grotto of Lady Ma (麻姑山洞)
Area: 75 sqkm
Title: Heaven of Red Cloud (丹霞天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Wang (王真人)

29, Grotto of Mt. Immortal Capital (仙都山洞)
Arae: 150 sqkm
Title: Heaven of Capital of Immortal (仙都祈仙天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Zhao (赵真人)

30, Grotto of Mt. Green Field (青田山洞)
Area: 22.5 sqkm
Title: Heaven of Green Field and Great Crane (青田大鹤天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Fu (付真人)

31, Grotto of Mt. Zhong (钟山洞)
Area: 59 sqkm
Title: Heaven of Red Sun and Great Nourishment (朱日太生天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Gong (龚真人)

32, Grotto of Mt. Consistent Virtue (良常山洞)
Area: 15 sqkm
Title: Celestial Grotto of Consistent Virtue and Endurable Life (良常放命洞天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Li

33, Grotto of Mt. Purple Cover (紫盖山洞)
Area: 40 sqkm
Title: Heaven of Purple Wonder and Penetrating Brilliance (紫玄洞照天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Gong Yu (公羽真人)

34, Grotto of Eye Mount (目山洞)
Area: 50 sqkm
Title: Heaven of Sky Cover Purifying Black (天盖涤玄天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Jiang (姜真人)

35, Grotto of Mt. Peach Source (桃源山洞)
Area: 35 sqkm
Title: Heaven of White Horse and Black Light (白马玄光天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Xie (谢真人)

36, Grotto of Mt. Golden Splendour (金华山洞)
Area: 25 sqkm
Title: Heaven of Golden Splendour and Penetrating Origin (金华洞元天)
Administrator: Perfect Man Dai (戴真人)

Seventy-two Blessed Fields

Reference: Noble Mountains with Celestial Grotto and Blessed Field (《洞天福地岳渎名山记》), by Daoist Du Guangting (杜光庭) of Five Dynasties (907 – 960)


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