Saturday, April 28, 2007

First Gate of Heaven -- An Interlude

This is Yi Tian Men, the First Gate of Heaven, at the beginning of the long climb up Mount Tai (Tai Shan) in Taian, Shandong Province, China. Tai Shan is the first (Di Yi Shan) of the Five Sacred Mountains of China -- that is, the five original sacred mountains, often called Taoist -- when Buddhism came to China, the Buddhists selected another five mountains, so there are two sets of five sacred mountains. But Tai Shan is the only one that counts for me, because (a) the first time I was there, I climbed halfway up (to the Midway Gate of Heaven -- Zhong Tian Men) and took the cable car to the top, and (b) my father-in-law, his two brothers, and three of his four sisters were born in Tai An at the foot of the mountain.

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