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The Beautiful Land of Qingcheng

http://www.chinese.cn 15:51, October 18, 2010 CRI

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The Beautiful Land of Qingcheng
The Beautiful Land of Qingcheng

Mount Qingcheng is located northwest of Sichuan's capital, Chengdu. It's an hour's drive from Chengdu to Mount Qingcheng.

Qingcheng means "green town" in Chinese and the mountain has without a doubt lived up to its name. Seen from a distance, the mountain is surrounded by countless peaks and densely forested. Its front face is celebrated in a series of ancient temples, which are closely associated with the Taoist faith.

Mount Qingcheng is the birthplace of China's indigenous religion—Taoism. It's one of the most influential religions in East Asia with a long history. Hundreds of Taoist monks and nuns currently practicing in Mount Qingcheng follow austere Taoist doctrines. Our tour guide Kang Yu says things were quite different when the Taoist religion was founded here some 1,800 years ago.

"Taoists used to practice Taoism at home. They were allowed to get married and have children. They could also drink alcohol and eat meat. Taoists did good deeds whenever they had an opportunity. But now, they have to become monks or nuns and are denied alcohol and meat and deprived of marriage and offspring."

You can feel a strong Taoist atmosphere here in Mount Qingcheng. Taoist temples and pavilions are mostly shrouded in the exuberance of trees. This is in accordance with Taoist principles of respecting and advocating nature. With Taoist classics by renowned ancient Chinese philosophers Laozi and Zhuangzi attracting more earnest readers and followers, Mount Qingcheng has attracted an increasing number of visitors. A temple named Shangqing Palace is the most popular one. This is the place where the founder of Taoism, Laozi, is enshrined. Pilgrims from both home and abroad come here in an endless stream.

The sight is quite different in the back of Mount Qingcheng. There aren't as many tourists and pilgrims, so it's quieter and offers more to see in the way of nature. The ancient town of Taian is seated right here. It's a pretty comfy place to take a rest.

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