The Grandmaster Zhen Wu Ascends to the White Horse Mountain

  After leaving his family to dedicate himself to cultivation, the Grandmaster Zhen Wu voyaged around searching for the perfect place into which he would settle. As he went by the Yellow Dragon Beach, he was touched by the sight of the White Horse Mountain. Looking from a distance, the tall White Horse Mountain ascended all the way into the sky, surrounded by moving white clouds which felt like wild heavenly horses flying across the celestial sphere. The graceful scenery invited him into staying and cultivating on the White Horse Mountain. Holding the leash of his white horse, the Grandmaster went up along a rugged mountain road stamping a series of horse footprints on the stones that lied over it. Those stones were later called “Horse Steeped Stones”. As he entered the Gate of the Heaven Valley and arrived at the front of the Little Gate of Heaven, the Grandmaster accidentally trod loose a big and square stone. The stone rolled down the hill and laid down at the entrance of the Gate of Heaven Valley. This stone was named “Lan Men Shi” – the Gate Stone. The Gate Stone had been used to subdue a centuries-old demonic tortoise. At the moment the tortoise realized that the stone was gone, it immediately tried to escape and resume its old business of being evil. However, it was slower than the Grandmaster who, with one foot, stepped on it and said: “I’ll go up the mountain and cultivate, you shall stay here and be the guide to the heavenly gate of the entrance of the mountain!” The tortoise instantly turned into a huge stone. It stretched its long neck and laid on its stomach and there it lies in front of the Little Gate of Heaven. This scenery where the tortoise guides to the gate was named “Shou Men Shou” – Gate Keeping Animal.

            Having passed the Little Gate of Heaven, Zhen Wu continued towards the side of a waterfall where the mountain became even more precipitous so that he had to hold the leash of his horse with one hand and with the other grab the rocks of the cliff. His left hand made impressions into the rocks which can be clearly recognized as one sees the shapes of five fingers on the cliffs – this was named “Shou Pa Ya” – Hands Grabbing Cliff. Since then, when tourists walk by this point, they stop, touch the rocks and say: “Here I take a break and touch the hand prints on the rocks, demons will stay away from me.” They believe that by doing this they will disperse evil and keep their health.

Wudang Temple

Zhen Wu Temple at White Horse Mountain 100 meters above Five Immortals Temple.

The narrow road in the valley gradually grows wider after entering the Second Gate of Heaven. The Grandmaster tied the horse leash on a stone pillar – which is now called “Shuan Ma Shi” – Tying the Horse Stone. On the side of the road, his horse drank from a spring, which is now called “Yin Ma Cao” – Horse Watering Trough – after which he took a rest. He then continued his way, passing the Third Gate of Heaven, went via Eagle Mouth Stone and got to the Five Grain Slope. Following the Black Dragon Back, he came to a place later called “Horse Running Route”. The Horse Running Route was actually not a route but a place full of thorny plants. In order to cut out a road, the Grandmaster raised the leash of his horse and whipped on the thorns and vines that were blocking him. Before long, the plants blocking the way were whipped apart to both sides and a flat road appeared. It was about five Zhang (about 6.5 metres) in width and 1.5 kilometers long, surrounding the crest of the mountain. Having gone through all these difficulties, the Grandmaster finally arrived to the top of the mountain. He selected a flat spot, cut off the grass and there he built a temple where he began his cultivation.

No one knew how long had passed by the time Zhen Wu felt that he had achieved his goal. The night was suddenly awakened by a loud horse neigh. The body of the mountain crashed down completely and leant towards the east. Rocks were flying and rolling down its sides. While the Grandmaster acquired the great power of the Dao, his immortal body had gained so much celestial weight that the White Horse Mountain was no longer able to hold it and thus it crashed. Zhen Wu had to descend from the mountain with his white horse. In a pond on the hill of the White Horse Mountain he reluctantly washed his horse  and carried on to Wu Dang Shan.

The rocks that fell as the mountain was crashed by the Grandmaster’s immortal body form today’s “Luan Shi Jiao” – Chaos Stone Cellar – and the cracked and crooked golden saddle is still lying on top of the White Horse Mountain.

Later, to honor the fact that the Grandmaster had cultivated on the White Horse Mountain, a Golden Saddle Temple was built on the top of the mountain, in which a statue of the Grandmaster has been enshrined and is worshipped to this day.

Orally transmitted by Ceng Shou Zhou