Zhongnan Mts. monastic cluster, (towards) Xi'an, Shaanxi, CN

Raw data

"The Zhongnan Mountains (simplified Chinese: 终南山; traditional Chinese: 終南山), sometimes called the Taiyi Mountains (Chinese: 太乙山) or Zhounan Mountains (Chinese: 周南山), are a branch of the Qin Mountains located in Shaanxi Province, south of Xi'an, China that extend from Wugong County in the east of the province to Lantian County. At 2604 meters the range's highest point is the Cui Hua Mountain. Other notable peaks and places in the Zhongnan mountains include Lou Guan Tai, (where Taoist sage Laozi is said to have dwelt and conveyed the Dao De Jing), as well as Nan Wutai (simplified Chinese: 南五台; traditional Chinese: 南五臺) and Guifeng (Chinese: 圭峰).
The Zhongnan mountains have been a popular dwelling-place for Daoist hermits since at least the Qin Dynasty. Buddhist monks began living in the mountains after Buddhism's introduction into China from India in the early first millennium AD. “ - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhongnan_Mountains

Guifeng Zongmi (圭峰 宗密) (Wade-Giles: Kuei-feng Tsung-mi; Japanese: Keiho Shumitsu) (780–841) was a Tang dynasty Buddhist scholar-monk, installed as fifth patriarch of the Huayan Chinese: 華嚴; pinyin: Huáyán; Japanese: Kegon; Sanskrit: Avatamsaka) school as well as a patriarch of the Heze (WG: Ho-tse) lineage of Southern Chan. […] Zongmi withdrew to Mount Chung-nan [= Zhongnan Mountain - tmciolek], southwest of Chang’an, in 816 and began his writing career, composing an annotated outline of the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment, and a compilation of passages from four commentaries on the sutra. For the next three years Zongmi continued his research into Buddhism, reading the entire Buddhist canon, the Tripitaka, and traveling to various temples on Mount Chung-nan. He returned Chang’an in 819 and continued his studies utilizing the extensive libraries of various monasteries in the capital city. In late 819 he completed a commentary (shu) and subcommentary (ch’ao) on the Diamond Sutra. In early 821 he returned to Ts’ao-t’ang Caotang temple beneath Kuei Peak and hence became known as Guifeng Zongmi (WG:Kuei-feng Tsung-mi.[6]” - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guifeng_Zongmi

“In the first month of 816 Tsung-mi [Guifeng Zongmi, Kuei-feng Tsung-mi -tmciolek] withrew to Chih-chü ssu on Mount Chung-nan. Part of the Ch’in-ling range, which, running east-west, separated the Wei and Han river valleys, Mount Chung-nan was situated some fifty miles southwest of Ch’ang-nan, and its “blue-shadowed” peaks could be plainly seen from the imperial capital on a clear day.” Gregory (1991:68)

“Zhongnan Mountains, also called Taiyi Mountain, includes Cuihua Mountain, South Wutai Mountain, and Guifeng Mountain, etc. It stands graciously and straightly in the southwest of Xi'an City, Shaanxi Province.      
Cuihua Mountain [Cuihua Shan] lies 30 km away from Xi'an City, and is known for its odd peaks and strange caves and clean pools as well as ancient temples. In the second year (109BC) of the Yuanfeng year in the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-8AD), the Taiyi Palace was constructed at the mountain pass (Dayu Pass), hence the name Taiyi Mountain. […]
The South Wutai Mountain [Nanwutai Shan] abounds in medicinal materials, and was referred to as the most mystical and beautiful scenery of Zhongnan Mountain. There stand five peaks on the mountaintop, namely Guanyin, Wenshu, Qingliang, Sheshen, and Lingying. The Baoquan Spring is located half way up the mountain. […]
Guifeng Mountain is commonly known as Jianshan Mountain, including Zige, Dading, Lingyun and Luohan peaks. It is gracious and high, with the shape of Guiyu (jade), hence the name. Its main scenic spot is the Gaoguan Waterfall, which is located on the northern side of Guifeng Mountain.[…]”

"141 Mt. Zhongnan (Zhongnanshan: 終南山), height 2604 meters, is also called Mt. Nan (Nanshan: 南山) and is located forty kilometers south of Xi’an (西安) (former Chang’an: 長安), the capital of Shaanxi Province (陝西省) in China. It is located in the middle of the Qinling Mountains, which run from east to west, and the region includes Mt. Cuihua (Cuihuashan: 翠華山), South Wutai (Nanwutai: 南五臺) and Mt. Li (Lishan: 驪山). In Sui and Tang times it was a focal region for Buddhism and many eminent monks including Daoxuan (道宣) [= Tao-hsuan], Zhiyan (智儼) and Zongmi (宗密) [= Guifeng Zongmi] practiced there. […] "
Input by: tmciolek, Feb 23, 2013

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 24 Feb 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The center of the cluster in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 20km from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Zhongnan Mts. monastic cluster, CN.

General location of the Zhongnan Mts. monastic cluster, CN.
Lat 33.9608 Long 109.029
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://www.fallingrain.com), 2013.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Zhongnan Mountains monastic cluster

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • China:Shaanxi Sheng

3. Monastic cluster's alternative/historical names

3a. "Component" mountains' alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx. Lat 33.9608 Long 109.029 - based on visual identification of the Cuihua Mountain peak in terrain/satellite imagery, maps.google.com - tmciolek, 23 Feb 2013.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Mahayana

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

  • MBM chrono-tag <=0200 - tmciolek 23 Feb 2013
  • <=0200 0200-32c 0233-66c 0267-99c 0300-32c 0333-66c 0367-99c 0400-32c 0433-66c 0467-99c 0500-32c 0533-66c 0567-99c 0600-32c 0633-66c 0667-99c 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99c 0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32c 0933-66c 0967-99c 1000-32c 1033-66c 1067-99c 1100-32c 1133-66c 1167-99c 1200=> dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

  • [missing data]

13. Date-late

  • The area around the Zhongnan mountain range still has active monasteries in it, for instance the Caotang monastery - tmciolek, 23 Feb 20013
  • MBM chrono-tag 1200=> - tmciolek 23 Feb 2013

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • [missing data]

16. Additional notes

  • [missing data] (incl. details of the size of the monastic population)

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

18. Available Printed Literature

  • Porter, Bill. 1993. Road to Heaven: encounters with Chinese hermits. Rider: London Sydney Auckland Johannesburg.
  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 2]
  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 3]

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