Kim Gyo-gak (A.D. 696-794), a prince of ancient Silla country (current Korea), visited China in A.D. 719 when Buddhism attracted many followers from Japan and Korea in the Tang Dynasty. He went through the Yangtze River and was attracted by the vast basin, winging streams, dense vegetation and towering Jiuhua peaks which maybe agreed with his philosophy of cultivation place “magnificence, comeliness, nourishment and tranquility”, he built a simple temple in the present Huacheng Temple and cultivated himself for 75 years. He passed away at the age of 99, and his flesh body didn’t rot. And he was regarded as incarnation of Ksitigarbha Buddhisattva by his followers who built a flesh body tower in Shenguang Ridge for worshiping him. Kim Gyo-gak adhered to the spirit of perseverance “I will not become a Buddhist until I deliver all living creatures from the hell” and benevolent emotion “May all wishes come true”, these ideas are still of universal significance nowadays.
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Dizang Pusa is called as Ksitigarbha in Sanskrit. The earth can take on everything, including magnificent mountains and precipitous ridges, which are compared to merits of Ksitigarbha that bear various sufferings of Beings. Zang inherits the earth and is of the earth’s merit. Ksitigarbha possesses all kinds of merits just like the earth and liberates all beings from tough austerities. Kim Gyo-gak, as the incarnation of Jiuhuashan Ksitigarbha Buddhisattva, was born in royal family of Silla, so the Chinese character King was added to respect him.
The oldest extant Buddhist temple in Jiuhuashan Geopark was built in the Eastern Jin Dynasty. The temple numbers reached to three hundred to four hundred in the heyday of Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty. So far, only 104 temples exist, including 9 national key temples and 30 provincial key temples as well as 75 abandoned temples. Jiuhuashan temples expand around with Huacheng Temple as the center.
Nine temples in Jiuhuashan are the national key temples in Han nationality regions.
Temple Name: Founding Time
Huacheng Temple: the Jin Dynasty (A.D.401)
Flesh Temple: Zhenyuan period in the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 797)
Tiantai Temple: the Song Dynasty
Baisui Palace: Wanli period in the Ming Dynasty ( A.D. 1579)
Qiyuan Temple: the Ming Dynasty
Shangchan Hall: the Ming Dynasty
Ganlu Temple: Kangxi period in the Qing Dynasty (A.D.1667)
Zhantan Forest:Kangxi period in the Qing Dynasty
Huiju Temple: the Late Qing Dynasty
As one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains in China, Jiuhuashan is tranquil, solemn and sacred. The Flesh body Bodhisattva is the most typical feature of Jiuhuashan Buddhism. About 20 flesh bodies of Bodhisattvas are recorded in the documents in Jiuhuashan, only 9 of which can be visited.
More Readings: why have numerous flesh bodies been produced in Jiuhuashan which are featured by the subtropical monsoon climate of warm and rich rainfall? It is still a mystery. Scientists have given some clues: the first reason is the unique vat-burial mode here. The details are to put charcoal and lime in a vat for absorbing water and keeping the vat and corpse dry, and then to seal the vat with mud to prevent oxygen entry and bacterial reproduction; after these, the flesh body is possible to be made and preserved. The second is the unique cultivation virtue of the departed Bodhisattvas. They are vegetarians throughout the year and the food they eat are all from Jiuhuashan where soil and water are of alkalescent produced from granite, and strengthen their alkaline body. They would not take any food or water for ten days or half a month just before death in order to keep their stomach empty with the least fat and water in the body. It is these conditions that provide possibility to form a flesh body in a vat after death.
When the glacier disappeared, some of the glacial remains would be left. The most typical glacial relic in Jiuhuashan is the cirque with semicircular bucket shape. The cirque has an area of about 4 km2 and a north entrance, faces Furong Ridge in the south, Chaxiao Peak in the east, and flat bottom in the middle. A winding toruliform stream flows around the cirque.
People began to cultivate in about A.D. 401 (the Eastern Jin period). Meanwhile, Bei Du, a Buddhist from the Tianzhu (ancient India), built up a simple temple at the foot of the Furong Ridge, and began the Jiuhuashan Buddhist activity.
Kim Gyo-gak, a prince of the ancient Silla country (Korea), came to Jiuzishan for his Buddhist career in about A.D. 741 (the Tang Dynasty), and then, the Huacheng temple was built up. His body was not rotten after he passed away. The descendants built a flesh body temple to worship him as the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva. The Huacheng temple has become an ashram of Ksitigarbha Buddhisattva worldwide since then. Li Bai, a famous poet of the Tang Dynasty, came here and created the name of Jiuhuashan instead of Jiuzishan, which made the Jiuhuashan more popular.