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Hanging Monastery

hanging-temple01Hanging Monastery stands at the foot of Mt. Hengshan, 5 kilometers (3 miles) south of Hunyuan County, and 65 kilometers (40 miles) from downtown Datong City.

hanging-templeIt is called hanging Monastery because of its precarious placement on steep cliffs above a canyon. It dates back more than 1400 years and was built in harmony with the natural outcrops and hollows of the cliffs. Buildings are connected with corridors, bridges, and boardwalks. Bronze, iron, and stone statues of gods and Buddhas can be seen throughout. The most notable of these buildings is the Hall of Three Religions, where Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism are venerated together.

Hengshan, is one of China's five Sacred Mountains of Taoism. The. Hanging Monastery, which is called the wonder of the Hengshan Mountain, is suspended half way up the cliff in the Golden Dragon Valley at the foot of the mountain. The Monk Liaoran of Northen Wei Dynasty built the Monastery. Hanging over the cliff stand over 40 halls and towers side by side.

Why was the Hanging Monastery built over the high cliff? In former times this was the main route to the Wutai Mountain (Famous Buddhist Shrine) in the south and to Datong City in the North. The monastery built along this route was, of course, very convenient for passing pilgrims. However, Hunhe River, which then flowed past the foot of the cliff, was capricious; whenever there was a storm there would be a terrible flood. In those days, people believed that a Golden Dragon was the cause of all this trouble, so they thought of enlisting Buddha's aid and built the temple up here to ward off the influence of the legendary beast.

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