Mount Gezao of Lingbao Sect

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Mount Gezao (閤皂山Black Pavilion Mountain), located in the southeast of Zhangshu City in Jiangxi Province, has 99 peaks and stretches for more than 100 km. It is regarded as the Thirty-sixth Blissful Realm.

Mount Gezao is the ancestral mountain of Daoism’s Lingbao (Numinous Treasure) sect. The Daoist priests of the Lingbao sect believe that Ge Xuan, their sect’s founder, set up an oven to make immortality pills in Woyun Nunnery which is on an eastern peak of Mount Gezao. Then he found Dao (the Way) and ascended to heaven from there.

The time when Mount Gezao flourished was during the Song Dynasty when lots of Daoist priests went there to cultivate themselves. Later it was frequented less and less. After being burned by fairly heavy fires, the mountain had been at low ebb since the early period of the Qing Dynasty.

Recently, with the support of the local government, many Daoist sites of historical interest and scenic beauty on Mount Gezao have been undergoing repairs and are beginning to take shape, such as the Temple for the Worship of Perfection (Chongzhen Gong 崇真宫), the main gate, Bridge for Receiving Immortals (Jiexian Qiao 接仙桥), Singing Water Pavilion (Mingshui Ting 鸣水亭), Singing Water Bridge (Mingshui Qiao 鸣水桥), Pool for Freeing Captive Animals (Fangsheng Chi 放生池), Garden of One Hundreds Flowers (Baihua Yuan 百花园) and Well for Making Immortality Pills (Liandan Jing 炼丹井). It is to be hoped that this “ancestral home” of the Lingbao sect will recover the elegance it once had.