Are there any Daoist holy places?
Membership, Community, Diversity
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Mountains are the most prominent of Daoism’s sacred sites, but they were sacred to the Chinese long before Daoism. Four mountains marked the cardinal directions of ancient Chinese symbolic geography, and a fifth was eventually added at the center, perhaps in connection with the notion of five elements (earth, air, water, fire, and metal). Each mountain has its chief deity who discharges his own distinctive duties. A number of individual mountains in addition to the main five also possess special properties and are connected with particular deities or Daoist sects and schools. Mount He Ming (Szechuan province) is famed as the place where Zhang Dao Ling inaugurated religious Daoism. Daoists share Mount Zhong Nan (Shensi province) with Buddhists as a sacred site. The Celestial Masters school established its center on Mount Long Hu (Kiangsi province). Hundreds of Daoist and Buddhist temples have stood on dozens of such sacred peaks. Two related features of Daoist sacred geography are the system of ten great and thirty-six lesser Grotto-Heavens and seventy-two Blessed Spots, some of which are located on famed mountains. These sites, mostly caves, are so designated because they are foci of sacred energy. They are often associated with religious figures believed to have found meditative solitude there and are likened to heavenly dwellings.