Pilgrimage to Tiantai Mountain &Offering the Eng trans of MoheZhiguan to Ven. Zhiyi's Stupa)

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FromTheEarth
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Re: Pilgrimage to Tiantai Mountain &Offering the Eng trans of MoheZhiguan to Ven. Zhiyi's Stupa)

Post by FromTheEarth » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:01 pm

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Not far from the Stupa Hall is the Prajna Stupa established by the Japanese Tendai School situated.
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Also the monuments of 灌頂 Guan'ding, the recorder of Zhiyi's teachings, 湛然 Zhan'ran who revived the Tiantai School in the 8th century, and 傳燈Chuan'deng who revived Tiantai in the 16-17th centuries.

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Re: Pilgrimage to Tiantai Mountain &Offering the Eng trans of MoheZhiguan to Ven. Zhiyi's Stupa)

Post by FromTheEarth » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:11 pm

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Not far from the stupa is the huge rock where Zhiyi and his disciples often gathered. On this rock, Zhiyi would lecture on the sutras and solve the questions raised by the disciples.
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On the rock, one may see a valley and a creek. The creek is called You Xi 幽溪. And in the valley there is another monastery to be introduced later in this thread. According to the records, one day Ven. Zhiyi was lecturing on the Vimalakirti Sutra and suddenly a wind blew pages of his sutra downside to the valley. When he found the sutra pages there, he had a feeling that it was a nice place to establish a monastery. So there came the You'Xi Bodhimanda/monastery.

The above are the pictures I took at the stupa. This year I've given Dr. Swanson's translation to the Headmaster of the Stupa/True Enlightenment Lecture Monastery to be offered before Ven. Zhiyi's stupa.
To be continued.

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Re: Pilgrimage to Tiantai Mountain &Offering the Eng trans of MoheZhiguan to Ven. Zhiyi's Stupa)

Post by Meido » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:39 am

Another thank you for these inspiring posts.
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one’s true nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly [according to this understanding], in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - Torei

The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice

Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org

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如傑優婆塞
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Re: Pilgrimage to Tiantai Mountain &Offering the Eng trans of MoheZhiguan to Ven. Zhiyi's Stupa)

Post by 如傑優婆塞 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:40 am

This thread has been useful for my upcoming plans to start a next wave of pilgrimage plans in China.
On another note, from my past experience of visiting various Confucianist, Daoist and Buddhist temples in China, I was wondering on how did you managed to snap photos in the inner sanctum areas? Unless one has official permission, signages and reminders are usually all over the place to prohibit all forms of media recording & I have oft been told by guides to avoid photography in the inner shrine halls and even iconography that are placed outside like in cave temples for instance. I have seen in some temples where they have plain clothes volunteers to stop such activity. In addition, there's a local belief there that purports 'bad karma' in snapping pictures of the deities or Buddhas... So, I oft end up buying their souvenir books where sanctioned official photography is done for momentos.

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Re: Pilgrimage to Tiantai Mountain &Offering the Eng trans of MoheZhiguan to Ven. Zhiyi's Stupa)

Post by FromTheEarth » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:39 pm

如傑優婆塞 wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:40 am
This thread has been useful for my upcoming plans to start a next wave of pilgrimage plans in China.
On another note, from my past experience of visiting various Confucianist, Daoist and Buddhist temples in China, I was wondering on how did you managed to snap photos in the inner sanctum areas? Unless one has official permission, signages and reminders are usually all over the place to prohibit all forms of media recording & I have oft been told by guides to avoid photography in the inner shrine halls and even iconography that are placed outside like in cave temples for instance. I have seen in some temples where they have plain clothes volunteers to stop such activity. In addition, there's a local belief there that purports 'bad karma' in snapping pictures of the deities or Buddhas... So, I oft end up buying their souvenir books where sanctioned official photography is done for momentos.
Hi 如傑! It's a complicated story and I will try to explain it briefly.
1. According to my knowledge, there is no doctrinal reasons against taking photos in the halls, which is, after all, a modern behavior that has not been foreseen by the sutras or the vinaya. Surely you cannot use a flash, for it may cause damage to the ancient statutes and paintings. Moreover, during the process of the liturgies, most liturgy masters and lay participants will require you not to take the photo. Nevertheless, in most of the time, despite the local belief you've just mentioned, there should be no principled opposition to photography in the buildings.
2. However, partly due to their holding the local belief, partly due to their being afraid that tourists may show disrespect to the Buddhas/deities, many monks/nuns/temples have banned photography inside the halls. So in these cases, I've seen many times that monks would not intervene if you take the photos standing right out of the door.
3. Even in situations like 2 (Guoqing seems to have such regulations), if you act like an authentic Buddhist ,like prostrating to the Buddhas first, before taking the photos, once the monk(s) recognizes it, they tend to ignore your behavior. I think this is the best explanation for my case (or a part of it, for sometimes when I took the photos, there were no guarding monks on duty.)
I do think even if in your next trip you are interfered, you may tell the monks/volunteers that you are an international Buddhist and negotiate, they should be thrilled to talk with you and grant you exemptions.
4. Of course, if negotiation doesn't work, one should respect the particular samghas and their decisions. However, if one really wants to take photos, you know, being a bad boy is not that unacceptable.
5. My impression is that many Tibetan temples dislike tourists' taking photos. And in Quanzhen Daoism, in almost every hall, there would be a priest guarding the hall. However, in the main Chinese area, the photography prohibition is not that strict. One of my best friend is super-interested in traditional religious rituals. With the permission from the lay people who request the religious services, he has taken thousands of pictures during Daoist liturgies. So it seems photography is not to be understood as inherently disrespectful.

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Re: Pilgrimage to Tiantai Mountain &Offering the Eng trans of MoheZhiguan to Ven. Zhiyi's Stupa)

Post by FromTheEarth » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:08 pm

In the valley aforementioned is the Gaoming Monastery, which originally was established by Ven. Zhiyi. The wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaoming_Temple
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On the screen wall are the four words 正法久住 carved, which literally mean "May the Dharma be longstanding."
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The gate of the Gaoming Monastery, where we stayed for one night.
The thing is, most Chinese monasteries have lodging facilities for lay Buddhists and tourists at a very low price. If you'd like, you may also have vegetarian meals there if you're accustomed to having dinner before 5 p.m. However, usually the facilities are quite outdated and uncomfortable.
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The Main Hall.

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Re: Pilgrimage to Tiantai Mountain &Offering the Eng trans of MoheZhiguan to Ven. Zhiyi's Stupa)

Post by FromTheEarth » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:26 pm

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When we arrived, the monastery was holding a 7-day Liberation Rite of Water and Land (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberatio ... r_and_Land ). This rite is supposed to be the longest and the most highly-ranked religious service in Chinese Buddhism. Supposedly, more than 100 monks are required to participate in order to complete the whole rite, not to mention the lay people. As a part of the rite, lengthy sutras such as the Lotus Sutra would be chanted at least 24 times, short sutras such as the Diamond Sutra 120 times during the 7 days.
This year I have also participated in the rite held at Guoqing Monastery for my father. Over 160 monks in total were contributing together to the completion of the rite.
In the first picture, you may see the long flag (dhvaja/ketu) which functions as an announcement to the rest of world that the monastery is holding the rite and all sentient beings are invited.
In the second picture, you may see the lay people were participating in the rite.

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Re: Pilgrimage to Tiantai Mountain &Offering the Eng trans of MoheZhiguan to Ven. Zhiyi's Stupa)

Post by FromTheEarth » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:30 pm

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In the Main Hall.
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Scene from the residence for lay people.
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The Ksitigarbha Hall.

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Re: Pilgrimage to Tiantai Mountain &Offering the Eng trans of MoheZhiguan to Ven. Zhiyi's Stupa)

Post by FromTheEarth » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:56 pm

Gaoming Monastery is also on the mountain, not far from Ven. Zhiyi's Stupa. The transportation is somehow inconvenient unless you're accustomed to climbing the mountains.
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Finally we returned to Guoqing Monastery before leaving the mountain. Here is the Lecture Hall at Guoqing.
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Hall of 500 Arhats. According to the medieval legends, a 4th-century Dunhuang monk has witnessed the manifestation of 500 arhats on the Tiantai mountain. Since then, years before Zhiyi's arrival, Tiantai has already got its reputation among Chinese Buddhists for being a sacred site.
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The Life Release Pond (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_release). Life release remains a popular Buddhist practice in contemporary China among the lay people, despite the criticisms of its being misinterpreted and abused. You may buy fishes from the markets and then release them to the pond.
Historically, Ven. Zhiyi was mainly responsible for the popularization of the practice. Inspired by the Golden Light Sutra, he built the first Life Release Pond in China. Because the gain of enormous merits is associated with the practice in the Golden Light Sutra, considered as an expedient way to accumulate merits, it became increasingly welcome as lay people are usually not able to finish other sophisticated practices as deep meditation.

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Re: Pilgrimage to Tiantai Mountain &Offering the Eng trans of MoheZhiguan to Ven. Zhiyi's Stupa)

Post by FromTheEarth » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:58 pm

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The Sui Pagoda.
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Paddy fields again. You may see the water buffaloes.

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Re: Pilgrimage to Tiantai Mountain &Offering the Eng trans of MoheZhiguan to Ven. Zhiyi's Stupa)

Post by FromTheEarth » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:03 pm

Nearby is one famous Daoist Temple. Just as the Guoqing Monastery is considered to be the origin of Tiantai School, the Tongbai Palace is considered to be one of the origin places of the Quanzhen Daoism.
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The Tongbai Palaces (Daoist temples.)
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View of the Tiantai county from the mountain.

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Re: Pilgrimage to Tiantai Mountain &Offering the Eng trans of MoheZhiguan to Ven. Zhiyi's Stupa)

Post by FromTheEarth » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:05 pm

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The end with pictures of a lovely cow we encountered on the way back and its child.

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