Bud­dha’s skull now crowns two horn-shaped peaks

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TRAVEL | LIFE - By YANG FEIYUE in Nan­jing

Niushou Moun­tain plays host to Bud­dha’s mind — both his thought man­i­fested and the cra­nium that ware­housed his brain.

It claims to pre­serve the world’s only pari­etal relics of Bud­dha Sakya­muni.

The other two Chi­nese sites said to con­tain the first Bud­dha’s bod­ily relics are Fa­men Tem­ple in Shaanxi prov­ince’s cap­i­tal, Xi’an, and Bei­jing’s Ling­guang Monastery.

Peaks, pago­das and tem­ples peer through Niushou Moun­tain’s mists. Over 30 Bud­dhist tem­ples sprang up there be­tween AD 420 and 907.

The des­ti­na­tion in Jiangsu prov­ince’s cap­i­tal, Nan­jing, is a place of pil­grim­age for Buddhists — the Ni­utou sect was cul­ti­vated there — and for peo­ple who ven­er­ate voy­ager Zheng He. The moun­tain hosts the Ming Dy­nasty (1368-1644) mar­itime-ex­plorer ex­traor­di­naire’s rem­nants, too.

Much of its his­tory has sur­vived.

The area opened as a re­sort in Oc­to­ber 2015, fol­low­ing a mas­sive in­fra­struc­ture up­grade.

More than a mil­lion tourists have vis­ited since, the re­sort’s pub­lic­ity of­fi­cer He Ming says.

Flora is di­verse and in­cludes such rare man­i­fes­ta­tions as Nan­jing lin­den and tianque tea trees.

Fod­ing Palace spans 136,000 square me­ters on the moun­tain’s west­ern edge. The larger dome is said to re­sem­ble a kasaya, or a monk’s outer vest­ment. It tow­ers over a smaller dome said to re­sem­ble Bud­dha’s hair that’s perched atop a lo­tus plat­form fea­tur­ing 56 cloud pat­terns.

Cor­ri­dors are lined with cop­per­plate and white-jade art. Mist of­ten swirls around a re­clin­ing Bud­dha in the Chan­jing Hall that por­trays the story of Sakya­muni trans­form­ing into a Bud­dha.

Red, yel­low and gold dom­i­nate the Thou­sand-Bud­dha Hall.

A 22-me­ter-high stupa sym­bol­iz­ing pu­rity and solem­nity stands in its cen­ter .

he re­sort has signed deals for five de­vel­op­ment projects that to­tal 25 bil­lion yuan ($3.6 bil­lion).

So, travelers can ex­pect a “zen town” and med­i­cal tourism soon.

It’s worth won­der­ing what Bud­dha would think of the des­ti­na­tion to­day.

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