( chinadaily.com.cn )
Lingxu Cliff, very famous among the 36 cliffs in Wudang Mountain, is situated on Peach Wood Hill, to the east of the Five-Dragon Palace. Looking around, everything is green. The mountain streams flow in the valley like sea or thunder. Isolated from the outside world, it's an ideal place to self-cultivate. Visitors can't help being surprised by the stable belief and lasting willpower of former Taoists and hermits.
One stone palace is located in Lingxu Cliff. It contains many sculptures of the God of Origin, Emperor Zhenwu and heavenly officials. Looking through the dense woods, visitors will find a bluestone building which is the famous Pavilion to Read Scriptures.
The famous Taoist scholar, researcher and poet Chen-Tuan once cultivated himself and wrote books here. Lingxu Cliff was renowned in Taoism history. According to historical books, Chen-Tuan lived for more than 100 years (about 108 years). When he was young, he read many books and had outstanding intelligence. At 50, he left home and went to learn about gods and how to live a long time in Wudang Mountain. He lived in Wudang for years and developed a famous sleeping method, the Five-Dragon Sleeping Way. It is said that he could sleep for about 100 days without waking. He said his sleeping was different from common people's. The secular always seek fame and wealth and awake several times without any quietness, although they snore loudly. His sleeping method became a unique way to approach health care.
Chen-Tuan was given the names Qingxu Scholar, White Cloud Hermit and Xiyi Scholar by emperors of several dynasties. He lived in Wudang Mountain for more than 20 years and then moved to Hua Mountain after tiring of outside visitors.
The Hermit Cliff is a big cave among the 36 cliffs on Wudang Mountain. In the 10th year of Yongle rule of the Ming Dynasty (AD 1413), three temples were built to worship Emperor Zhenwu, God Deng and Lv-Dongbin (gods of Taoism). According to historical data, there were many hermits who attained the highest state of spiritual enlightenment in ancient times. A Taoist called Fang-Changxu planted trees on the mountains all year no matter how terrible the weather was. One day when he woke up, he found himself fully bearded and from then on he was invisible. It was said that he had become a god by the wish of the people. Therefore, it was understood that becoming a god was not difficult; if you do good deeds all your life, you will be considered a god by the people.
In the stone palace of Hermit Cliff, there are stone statues. The figures look very desolate and their clothes very distinctive. As a result of archive research, it was discovered that the two statues are the God of Sun and God of Moon, both worshipped by Taoists. Taoism believes in the Emperor of the Sun and the Emperor of the Moon. In ancient culture, legends about the sun and the moon and their applications were widely spread, creating an important cultural phenomenon. That the Emperor of the Sun and the Emperor of the Moon appeared in Hermit Cliff at the same time was reasonable enough to warrant further study of their cultural background and significance.
Huayang Cliff, a natural cave, is located to the east of Five-Dragon Palace, backed against a high cliff and facing a deep valley. It is a comfortable place for self-cultivation as the trees flourish in front and the falling vines resemble a green curtain. According to legend, a Taoist called Yang Huayang cultivated himself in this cave and lived for more than 100 years. As a result, the cave was named Huayang Cliff after the famous Taoist.
Huayang Cliff has a long history. Many Taoists and hermits cultivated themselves and set up small buildings on Wudang Mountain, one of which was Huayang Cliff. A self-made sculpture of Li Mingliang, a famous Taoist from the Yuan Dynasty, is preserved here. Li was famous for his contribution to the construction of Five-Dragon Palace in the middle-to-late Yuan Dynasty. His sculpture was built in 1345 and is valuable to the study of history and culture.
It is said in The Story of Huayang Cliff that Wudang Mountain has a long history and can remove calamity and bring good luck to people. There are numerous cliffs and caves that can be lived in, among which Huayang Cliff is the most beautiful.
The Five-Dragon Palace scenic zone is of great importance in the development of Wudang Taoism. It was called the palace of efficacy throughout history. Famous ancient Taoists such as Yin-xi, Yin-gui, Ma- Mingsheng and Chen-tuan all succeeded in cultivating themselves here. According to the Annals of Wudang Mountain, there was a heavy drought during the beginning of the seventh century BC, so Emperor Li-Shimin ordered Yaojian, the official of Junzhou, to pray for rain. Yaojian succeeded in dispelling the drought so the emperor issued an imperial edict to build Taoism temples. This was the starting point for the tradition for royal families to build temples in Wudang Mountain.
In this scenic spot, there are many temple, hall and palace remains along the ancient road. The view offers a sense of their broad scope and great significance during that time.
There are many places of historical interest in this scenic zone, including Five-Dragon Palace, Huayang Cliff, Hermit Cliff, Pray-Realizing Cliff, Lingxu Cliff, Temple of Kindness and Stateliness, and also the biggest clay statue and bronze statue of Zhenwu.
There is also a national forest reserve here. The numerous attractions make this area a place well worth visiting.