By Sonia Ahmed | 27 July 2020
Sikong Mountain, also known as Sikongyuan, is one of the most authentic religious sites in Chinese Buddhism. It’s a sacred place, and holy center for the believers of the Chan (Zen) sect of Buddhism, and its history dates back to 1500 years.
Located on the southwest of Anhui, Sikong mountain trails were home to Erzu, also named Master Huike (the second Patriarch of Chinese Buddhism). He was the student of Bodhidharma, the first patriarch of the Chan sect of Buddhism and the founder of Shaolin Kung Fu.
Following the Misty Trails of Sikong Mountain
Sikong isn’t only renowned for its religious and historical importance. It’s a perfect tourist destination for those who wish to discover new places, relax in seclusion, and enjoy trekking the mountaineering trails.
These misty trails are not for the faint of heart. It’s a challenging hike but one that you don’t want to miss. The fresh flowing chi and the peace and quiet provide an excellent opportunity to examine your thoughts and attain tranquility of mind.
You can trace the path of Master Huike, who took seclusion in this very mountain. Camp in one of its many mysterious caves and hike up to one of its ancient temples at the very top.
Sikong mountain is a perfect destination to spend a warm weekend and admire its splendid scenery, refreshing waterfalls, and amazing peaks, cliffs, and stones. The best time to visit is from February to November. July and August get a lot of rain, not so great for hiking, but it’s the best time to enjoy the lush and captivating greenery of Sikong.
You can stay at the foot of the hill at Sikong Mountain Scenic Area, at Er Zu, one of the holiest temples of Buddhism.
Erzu Temple – Experience Buddhist and Chinese Culture
Erzu Temple is named after Erzu Huike, the second patriarch of the Chan sect of Buddhism. The legend has it that Master Huike approached Bodhidharma to embrace wisdom and knowledge from him, but he refused to take him as a disciple. However, Huike persisted and won Bodhidharma’s acceptance.
After a while, Master Huike returned to Sikong Mountain, where he built the Erzu Temple and spent years meditating and flourishing the Chan sect of Buddhism.
The temple is almost 40 km away from Yuexi County. It takes one hour to reach the temple by bus, but you can also rent private cars for a more comfortable and quick journey.
Due to its religious and historical significance, the Erzu temple is in the protection of the Anhui state. Every year, thousands of pilgrims and tourists from all around the world visit this holy site to see the religious artifacts and experience the authentic Buddhist Chinese traditions.
Erzu temple has been playing a pivotal role in passing on the Buddhist culture, traditions, knowledge, and language over generations.
Learn Authentic Kung Fu from Warrior Monks
Xinglin is a traditional Shaolin Kung Fu Academy located within Erzu Temple. People from all over the world come here to learn real Kung Fu and immerse themselves in the Buddhist Chinese lifestyle.
Living and training in a historical temple of such caliber have great rewards. It’s a unique experience spending the days and nights with dedicated monks. You get a candid view of their everyday life and follow in their stead.
Resident students and tourists alike get to take part in different religious ceremonies going on within the temple. It increases their knowledge of Buddhism and learning the discipline and calm ways of the monks.
Unlike many other kung fu institutes, the atmosphere at Xinglin academy makes it easier and faster to impart the pure Kung Fu techniques to the students. The learners have the opportunity to get training directly under the mentorship of warrior monks.
Master Shi Xinglin, the 32nd generation warrior monk, is the senior mentor at Xinglin academy. He often visits training sessions and teaches the disciples himself.
The students who achieve perfection and excellence are honored with discipleship as the 33rd generation of Shaolin Warrior Monk. The academy organizes a sacred ceremony called Baishi in Chinese to honor those deserving students.
Traditional Buddhist Arts at Xinglin Academy at Erzu Temple
Erzu Temple has much more to offer than martial arts. You can take multiple courses such as Chinese Mandarin, calligraphy, medical acupuncture and massage, traditional tea ceremonies, and meditation.
At Xinglin, all students perform meditation in the sacred hall of the Erzu temple, which helps them connect the mind and body to achieve inner peace and focus.
You can stay in the shared or private accommodations within the temple itself. The rooms are comfortable with modern fixtures and free Wi-Fi, so they’re quite comfortable. And, of course, the views and the pristine environment are the caviar!
True to its authentic routines, you’ll also get introduced to a rational monk style diet plan. However, if you have any specific dietary intolerances, they are happy to accommodate your needs.
Kung Fu Xinglin belongs to everyone without any age, belief, and community barriers. Since there are no classes on the weekends, you can rest and relax or visit the nearby Dianqian town with your new friends. Many students take a trip to the city or explore the Sikong mountain in search of its mysterious caves and hot springs nearby.