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Buddhism and Chan Culture

Niushou Mountain has been a famous Buddhist mountain, with over 30 temples from southern dynasty to the Tang Dynasty. During the Liang period of  southern dynasty, temples flourished in Nanjing. Niushou Mountain was core area of Buddhist culture in Nanjing. Niushou Mountain, together with Mount Wutai in Shanxi, Mount E’mei in Sichuan, is considered as the one of the three famous preaching sites.

In the over 1000 years from Liang Dynasty of the Five Dynasties period, monks and talents gathered here. It is said that Mañjuśrī has led 10,000 bodhisattvas to live here in winter. Emperor Daizong of Tang Dynasty dreamed of Pratyeka-Buddha from Niushou Mountain, thus having the pagoda established here. The eminent monk called Pizhi once practiced here during the Liu Song Dynasty(420 AD~479AD). Later, he became a Buddha, hence the origin of Pizhi Pagoda.

The first temple here, Foku Temple, was built in the Liang Dynasty. Hongjue Temple Pagoda was established in the Tang Dynasty. According to various records, Buddhism in Niushou Mountain originated from the Southern Dynasty and came to peak in the Tang Dynasty. Later on, the Buddhist relics and sites as well as numerous celebrities’ influence on Niushou Mountain is rather critical for inheritance and development of Buddhism. Especially, the Niutou Sect, established by Master Farong, is rather influential in development of Zen Buddhism.

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