Mountain of Five Peaks
One of the many monasteries that have survived on
Wu Tai Shan
Wu Tai Shan is the best established of the four Buddhist
mountains. Here development has been controlled, and the
monasteries and their environment are better protected
than on the other three sacred mountains. Indeed ARC has
recommended that Wu Tai Shan should be seen as a model
of how all sacred mountains in China can be managed.
Tai’ means ‘five terrace’ and describes the five flat
peaks of this sacred area in Shanxi province in northern
China. It is a huge site, and very spread out – meaning
that the impact of pilgrims and tourists is dispersed
across the landscape. The area is remote, and because it
is associated with Mongolian rather than Chinese
Buddhism it has been better protected, even during the
worst Cultural Revolution purges, under the Ethnic
The first temples were built
here 2000 years ago, and today 58 temples and
monasteries survive relatively unscathed in the area.
All are dedicated to Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of
wisdom and virtue.
An important part of ARC’s
work is not only to find ways of solving problems but
also to find successful models that can be used on other
projects: Wu Tai Shan will be one of them.