Buddhism Baoshan
Wendi Adamek
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 October 2020
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195393521-0264


Baoshan 寶山 (Treasure Mountain) is a Buddhist site in the Taihang 太行 mountain range in Henan 河南 Province; it includes neighboring Lanfengshan 嵐峰山 (Misty Peak Mountain). It is a network of cave-shrines, devotional and memorial inscriptions, reliquary niches with portrait-statues, and references to buildings and restorations. Most notably, the memorial inscriptions on Lanfengshan are the single largest extant in situ collection of records of medieval Chinese Buddhist nuns. It is claimed that Baoshan was first marked as a Buddhist place by the monk Daoping 道憑 (b. 488–d. 559). Daoping’s disciple Lingyu 靈裕 (b. 518–d. 605) won imperial recognition for the site and probably led the design and construction of the main cave-shrine. Both monks belonged to the southern branch of the Dilun 地論 (Stages treatise) lineage that began in the Northern Qi 北齊 (550–577) capital of Ye 鄴. Two rock-cut cave shrines on Baoshan and Lanfengshan constitute the devotional foci of the site, and a restored temple stands in the valley between them, in what is believed to be its original location. The site’s main cave-shrine Dazhusheng 大住聖 (Great Abiding Holy Ones) is located midway up Baoshan and about five hundred meters west and further up the valley from the restored temple. Mortuary niches for monks and laymen fan out on several levels above the cave to the east and west. An earlier, smaller cave attributed to Daoping was renamed Daliusheng 大留聖 (Great Remaining Holy Ones), establishing correspondence with Dazhusheng. It is situated partway up Langfengshan, overlooking the lower part of the valley. Mortuary niches for nuns and laywomen are carved into cliff-faces above, below, and to the east of the cave. In Lingyu’s Xu gaoseng zhuan 續高僧傳 (Continued biographies of eminent monks) biography, it is said that the temple in the valley between the peaks was designated Lingquansi 靈泉寺 (Ling’s Spring/Numinous Spring Temple) in 591 by Emperor Wen of the Sui. This was meant to honor Lingyu, who that year conferred precepts on the imperial household. One of Lingyu’s disciples, the eminent monk Huixiu 慧休 (b. 547–d. 646), also had a formative influence at the site.

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