Introducing Jiǔhuá Shān
One of China’s four sacred Buddhist mountains, the 99 peaks of Jiǔhuá Shān form the precipitous domain of the Bodhisattva Dizang (Ksitigarbha), Lord of the Underworld. A significant place of pilgrimage for believers to bless the souls of the recently deceased to ensure them a passage to Buddhist heaven, Jiǔhuá Shān was identified in the 8th century as a worshipping place for Dizang by the Korean Buddhist disciple Kim Kiao Kak (Jīn Qiáojué). Exuding a palpable air of Buddhist mystery and devotion, Jiǔhuá Shān receives throngs of pilgrims for annual festivities held on the anniversary of Kim’s death, which falls on the 30th day of the seventh lunar month. The population of monasteries and nunneries has fallen since its Tang dynasty tally of 150, but they can still be found at almost every turn.