Journey to Emei Mountain

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to take a weekend trip away from the city with some of my close friends. My friends’ study abroad on-site advisor invited me along for their program’s excursion to 峨眉山 (Emeishan, or Mt. Emei).

Previously, I had heard about Emei Mountain from my kungfu master; namely, because it is known as the birthplace of a specific style of kungfu based off of the movements of monkeys that live on the mountain. The mountain is also known for its vast amount of Buddhist temples and a location at its peak called “The Golden Summit”.

On our way to Mt. Emei, we stopped to visit 乐山大佛 (Leshan Dafo, or Leshan Giant Buddha). The moment I finally laid eyes upon the sheer size of the stone statue made over one thousand years ago, I felt the weight and magnificence of the Buddha upon myself. It was breathtaking to behold and wonder about how such an enormous statue could have been conceived so long ago.

The morning after we arrived at Mt. Emei, I woke up around 5:00 A.M. to meet our group leader outside of the hotel to walk to a nearby temple and witness an early-morning Buddhist prayer session. As I listened and watched intently, I realized how amazing it was to have the opportunity to see something so special and unique in real life.

During the coldest part of the journey, the group took a bus ride up the side of the mountain to reach one of the highest points at Mt. Emei. From there, we had hike along a winding trail—with a very lively gang of monkeys causing mischief at certain times—until finally we saw The Golden Summit. Sadly, the weather at the top of the mountain wasn’t too clear; it was really wet and foggy in the atmosphere. However, we were still able to catch a glimpse of the massive golden statue on the summit for a few moments when the sun shone through the fog. My trip to Mt. Emei is truly an experience I will never forget.

Scott Knowles
Chengdu, China
Fall 2013