There are more than 200 mountains in China, which have associations with Buddhism. Among them are the famous Buddhism’s Four Mountain Sanctuaries. They are the domains of Buddhism’s four most venerated Bodhisattvas.
Mount Wutai of Shanxi Province is the domain of Manjusri, or the Universal Great Wisdom Bodhisattva. Mount Emei is Sichuan Province is the domain of Samantabhadra, or Bodhisattva of Universal Benevolence (Universal Worthy Great Conduct Bodhisattva). Mount Putuo of Zhejiang Province is the domain of Avalokitesvara or Guan Shi Yin Great Compassion Bodhisattva (Goddess of Mercy). Mount Jiuhua of Anhui Province is the domain of Ksitigarbha or Earth Treasure King Great Vow Bodhisattva (Guardian of the Earth).
In the course of the spread of Buddhism in China, worships of the Bodhisattvas gradually emerged. Specifically, according to Buddhist legends, these four Bodhisattvas descended upon this mundane would with the task of delivering the multitude to another world. They established themselves in these mountains (their relative domains) to preach their doctrines, thus helping establish the position of the four mountains as the Buddhist sanctuaries in China.
These four Buddhist mountain sanctuaries are endowed with a venerated history of Buddhist cultural legacy, with treasures of Buddhist art and cultural relics. Here, one can always hear the Buddhist music and incantations and smell the burning incense. The noble images of the mountains, soaring over the mortal world and into the blue sky, act as symbols of the Buddhist belief in rebirth and introvert meditation. The clean and profound environment of the mountains is an expression of the Buddhist outlook of simple life, and the solitude of the mountain sanctuaries symbolizes the Buddhist philosophy.