posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 01:50 PM
In some branches of traditional Chinese Daoism, certain remote and beautiful locations deep within the mountains have been given particular
metaphysical and spiritual significance. Among them, the so-called Ten Great Celestial Grottoes (十大洞天) have been recognized as primary since
at least the medieval era.
It was thought that such places were the domains of the Immortals, ancient masters who had penetrated the secrets of the Dao and were thus able to
live virtually forever. (Much of Chinese Alchemy
involved the pursuit of immortality, either in the
form of actual elixers or on a more metaphoric level, through spiritual and mental exercises.) Practitioners believed that they could access the
realms and wisdom of these ancient entities more easily at such locations, allowing them to penetrate the core teachings of their spiritual path.
To me personally, the question of whether this is “true” is not really all that interesting. Rather, I’m more interested in the hows, whys, and
wherefores of people’s perceptions and behaviors. (I also love the names
of these places on a purely aesthetic level, and the concepts behind
the Celestial Grottoes are appealing for numerous reasons.) But I assume many ATSers would be more interested in grappling with the bigger issues, so
feel free to go either way. Or any other way.
Possible topics for consideration: Is it correct to say one location is more “spiritual” or otherwise metaphysically different than another, or is
this a form of misplaced romanticism? What, if any, are the metaphysical and/or psychological mechanisms that seem to imbue certain places in nature
with a numinous quality? Any personal experiences with location and spirituality? Any and all comments welcome…
Below, then, pictures from the Great Celestial Grottoes and/or their nearby environs.
Celestial Grotto of Small Pristine Void (小有清虚洞天 ), Mt. Wangwu (王屋山)
Celestial Grotto of Great Transparency and Brilliance (大有空明洞天), Mt. Weiyu (委羽山)
Celestial Grotto of Supreme Wonder of Ultimate Reality (太玄极真洞天), Mt. Xicheng (西城山)
Celestial Grotto of Nine-Room for Precious Immortality (宝仙九台洞天), Mt. Qingcheng (青城山)
Celestial Grotto of Highest Clarity and Jade Peace (上清玉平洞天), Mt. Tiantai (天台山)
Celestial Grotto of Shining Reality in Golden Red (朱明耀真洞天), Mt. Luofu (罗浮山)
Celestial Grotto of Hidden Spirit of Left Supreme Being (左神幽灵洞天), Mt. Linwu (林屋山)
Celestial Grotto of Hidden Wonder of Heavenly Virtue (神德隐玄洞天), Mt. Kuocang (括苍山)
Note: Pictures are unavailable for two of the ten grottoes: the Celestial Grotto of Three Wonders of Ultimate Reality (三玄极真洞天) on Mt.
Xixuan (西玄山) and the Celestial Grotto of Lustrous Golden Purple Sun (金华紫阳洞天) on Mt. Juqu (句曲山).
edit on 6/11/11 by silent thunder because: (no reason given)