Five Immortals – Wudang Temple
The Five Immortals Wudang Temple is located in the Wudang Mountain Range, China. It is on the westerly edge of the range on a peak called White Horse. A mountain fortress was piled 1000 years ago in a time of war, and the place was known as “the sanctuary”. The people retreated here and were protected by five wise sages later refereed to as Five Immortals. The temple has existed in many forms on this mountain peak ever since.
The current temple structure is as old as 100 years. It is a humble temple, relatively unknown except to locals. It has rarely had more than 1-2 practicing Taoists residing at any given time. Mount Wudang master Li Shifu has been the residing Abbot for the past 15 years, serving as a keeper of the Wudang Temple, ringing the bell for pilgrims at the feet of the Five Immortals, exploring the Tao, the universe, and life. It has always been a quiet and powerful place to cultivate and possibly ascend to immortality. At 1048 meters elevation, looming over the Yellow Dragon River of Hubei Province, the temple grounds are about an hour hike upwards from the village at the foot of the mountain, and another hour bus to the closest city. Villagers have long used that Wudang temple as a central place of prayer, and they consider the Five Immortals to be themselves and their families’ heavenly protectors. They will hike up on special festival days to pay their respect, or haul daily necessities to the Taoists.
In the past that Wudang temple was extremely tattered. Only after Li Shifu arrived in 1995, the temple began its very slow and arduous renovation works, due to its extremely dilapidated state. In order to repair the temple and to improve the temple’s condition, we started a project to help Li Shifu’s renovation of the temple. Our next goal is to raise funds to build a bell and drum tower around the Guan Yin hall. To this day the temple is still in the midst of making improvements.
As China enters the year 2014, the number of pilgrims and tourists is now increasing and the once sacred place is changing slowly. People from the city now flock up into the mountain on weekends to get their body and mind a moment of tranquility. The Wudang temple remains quiet for most of winter, getting busier with tourists and pilgrims in the spring and summer months. For true cultivation the disturbances by worshipers and tourist are in fact a good source material for forming vast ties and to help one’s refinement. However if deeper dan dao (internal alchemy) practitioner as well as people cultivating themselves in stillness and meditation like to refine in seclusion ,we will provide pure, tranquil and isolated accommodation for their pursuit.
But as Li Shi Fu said, “Do not close the temple gates.” A Wudang temple is not only a place for cultivation, worshiping the spirits, and communicating with higher beings, but also a place for individuals to make connection with the universe; a place to pay respect to holy and more intelligent beings; a platform to find our true selves, to unify with heaven and earth as well as nature. People from all directions, who are meant to meet with the Tao, are welcome.