People started carving statues of Buddha out of the rock on Thousand Buddha Mountain during the Sui Dynasty (581-618, A.D.), and since then many more have been added.  Here’s Wikipedia has to say about the legend of the mountain (more like a hill).  For the full Wiki article click here.

“According to a legend related in the Youyang Zazu (Youyang Miscellanies) by the Tang Dynasty writer Duan Chengshi (800-863), the Thousand Buddha Mountain was originally located by the sea and the sea god had locked it in place there by a large lock in order to prevent the god in charge of the mountains from moving it around. However, eventually the lock broke and the mountain was hurled through the air into its present position. An artwork shaped as a large lock and a piece of chain has been placed on the summit of the mountain as a reference to the legend.”

I went there last Saturday with two friends to check it out.  Most of the tourist destinations I’ve been to in China end up disappointing me in one way or another.  More often than not the desire to make money overrides the desire to preserve the aesthetic integrity of a place.  This tends to be true at most tourist destinations, but in a country like China with such a massive population and gap between rich and poor, the economic atmosphere is incredibly competitive and tactics for making tend to be rather reckless.

Luckily enough, Thousand Buddha Mountain was from a disappointment.  There was no crowd, which meant less people trying to sell stuff, less trash on the ground (practically none!), less people turning the three white dudes into the main attraction.  But beyond that Thousand Buddha was wonderfully peaceful and refreshing.  I hope to go back and finish looking over the entire mountain.