Mount Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve in Tongren
Mount Fanjing is located in the northeast of Tongren in Guizhou Province at an elevation of 2572 meters. It is the main peak of Wuling Mountains, the National Nature Reserve, and a member of Man and Biosphere Reserve of the United Nations, covering an area of 567 square kilometers.
Primitive vegetation is the major feature of Mount Fanjing,with mountains standing majestically, peaks rising one after another, streams crossing and waterfalls overshooting. Its famous attractions include Golden Summit with red clouds, Yuejing Mountain, Sleeping Buddha, Mushroom Stone,Jiulong Pond, Layers of Mountains,Phoenix Mountain, etc.
Mount Fanjing becomes a rare global biodiversity base because of its complex terrain and environment. According to research data, there are about 2000 kinds of existing plant species in the area. 31 of these species have been included to the National Protection List, including 6 species of national first-class and 25 species of national second-class protected plants. There are 44 different types of forests like dove trees, hemlock,beech forest,yellow polar etc. Mount Fanjing is also a habitat for endangered animals,like golden monkeys,Tibetan macaque,clouded leopard,serow and black bears. And among them golden monkeys which are also called the only children of the earth with only 800 remaining are key animals under direct state protection.
Buddhism on Mount Fanjing dated back to Tang Dynasty and became prosperous in Ming Dynasty. Ceci Stele established during the reign of Emperor Wanli describes Mount Fanjing which stands without being destroyed and stays famous and unique from ancient to modern times as the ancestor of all the mountains. Mount Fanjing called as the residence for Maitreya by Buddhists since ancient times makes the golden summit with rising moon and sun its center and 4 royal temples and 48 Buddhist convents scattered like stars the base to greet all people.The main hall, Chengen Palace and four or five other small palaces between Golden Summit and Yuejing Mountain protect the two Buddha from two sides.
Golden summit is the center of the mountains. The construction of two palaces on the summit facing each other, two Buddha waiting beside the emperor’s honor guard, boundless field, and the blissful heavenly palace is the striking masterpiece made by White Lotus Community in the Southern Song Dynasty, a miracle in the history development of famous Buddhism mountains and an exotic flower blooming above Golden Summit.
The miraculous natural phenomena and sacred human remains on Mount Fanjing are regarded as “the treasure of the earth and human beings”by the field of science and “the reflection of the merciful Bodhisattva’s spirit” by Buddhist.
Master Yicheng, the chairman of Chinese Buddhist Association inscribed “Maitreya Residence” for Mount Fanjing. Master Xuecheng, the vice chairman and secretary-general of Chinese Buddhist Association once said : “Mount Fanjing is the fifth largest Buddhist mountain in China, which is as famous as the residence of the Manjusri Bodhisattva on Wutai Mountain, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva on Emei Mountain, Earth Store Bodhisattva on Jiuhua Mountain as well as Guanyin Bodhisattva on Putuo Mountain in China.
The light of Buddha is one of the most exotic wonders on Mount Fanjing. People can often see colorful huge holo flying towards them with a picture of sitting Buddha’s shadows in a solemn atmosphere in the clouds the moment when the sun rises from the east and sets from the west. The scene is surprising and the light is so gorgeous.
According to the authorities, Mount Fanjing is the place where Buddha’s light appears most in all of China’s famous mountains.
Guizhou is a mountainous province. The blocked mountains make it form diverse ethnic cultures. On the foot of Mount Fanjing , many ethnic groups live here, such as the Tujia, Dong, Miao, Kelao nationalities, etc. Mount Fanjing is like a sentimental but brave woman whose charm comes from the ethnic groups living a content and comfortable life here, the beautiful stories and numerous festivals based on these stories, and the peaceful life hidden in the customs.
Nuo Culture passed down in Wuling Mountains is very typical as a mysterious culture on the middle and upper reaches of Yangtze River .This barbaric culture which regards awing nature as its soul is only well-preserved on Mount Fanjing. No matter where you go here, you will be touched and intoxicated in its mysterious, strange, beautiful and sincere natural folk customs.
Nuo drama known as a “living fossil” in the drama is a kind of religious sacrificial drama with the performers wearing masks. Having developed for two or three thousand years , there also appears some stunt shows like climbing a ladder of knives,jumping into the sea of flames, offering a sacrifice by pricking forehead to get blood,walking on the ploughshare, swallowing nails, etc. Masks of Nuo drama are mostly made of white poplar or willow. White polar is light and less prone to be cracked with fine texture, while willow is a thing used to counteract evil force so that the artists use it to ward off evil and bring good fortune. The carving on the masks is rough but also delicate and ancient but also meaningful, which make these become perfect tourist souvenirs.