Saturday, January 9, 2016

The secrets of Yueyang Tower


  The Yueyang Tower 岳阳楼, located in Yueyang city, Hunan province, i
s one of the three great towers in south China, along with Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan and the Pavilion of Prince Teng in Nanchang.

The first time I visited Yueyang Tower was in the winter of 2000, together with some qigong and Buddhist friends. The managing director of the tower complex was a local friend, and he showed us around, revealing some truly fascinating stories about the ancient building. He said that not long ago the ‘needle’ on the top of the roof started emitting strange smoke. The fire brigade was called, but nothing that could cause the smoke was detected. A group of scientists were asked to come as well and check the situation, but they also could not find any explanation. The smoke was generated by something invisible and miraculously disappeared few weeks later.

Yueyang Tower was built 1700 years ago and had been damaged and reconstructed a number of times. Since Tang dynasty it became a big attraction and many poets, artists and scholars have visited this impressive place. Great poets in the history of China, such as Li Bai, Du Fu,Meng Haoran, Bai Juyi, and Ouyang Xu left poems and articles on Yueyang tower.  Fan Zhongyan (989 - 1052) from Song dynasty wrote:
"On top of the tower the mind relaxes, the heart delights;
All honors and disgrace are forgotten.
What pleasure, what joy to sit here and drink in the breeze!"
  I still remember very clear, as soon as we climbed the second floor of Yueyang Tower, an energy cloud in bright orange color floated around us. And the most amazing thing was that it had 
an undescribeable sweet fragrance, like nothing else on this world! When such phenomenon 
happens in front of you, there is nothing else you can do but just stay quiet and appreciate 
it with great respect and joy. You cannot say even a word!

Next to Yueyang Tower is the Thrice Drunken Pavilion, dedicated to Lü Dongbin, one of the legendary Eight Immortals in Daoism. It is said that he often visited and still visits the Yueyang tower and its area.  
The famous painting "Immortal Lü Dongbin Appearing over the Yueyang Pavilion" 
(Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY) depicts Lü Dongbin (in the upper right corner) flying above Yueyang tower,
 and the visitors looking at him with astonishment.
Later the same day, after departing Yueyang, already in the train, I suddenly felt sleepy and 
had a wondrous dream. I was taken 1000 years back in time, visiting Yueyang tower, which 
then was brown wooden style building with different architecture and blue roof tiles. Inside, the center of the tower was open empty space from the bottom to the top. It  was filled with orbs - spherical representation of souls - all shining with beautiful colors: pink, yellow, lavender, 
light blue, red... Most of the orbs were floating at the first and second floor, while only a 
few could reach the top of the building. But if you gently press the orbs with your hands, 
they would bounce up to the 3rd floor.  What a delightful way to play!  

The ceiling of Yueyang Tower had the most amazing secrets. It had a hidden cabinet, locked with a 
silver dragon padlock (have never seen such before!). The drawers contained ancient 
scrolls with beautiful calligraphy and sacred writings. A true blessing to be able to see and 
read them! And, imagine,  at this very special and sacred moment, the train conductor opened 
the door of our compartment and uttered loudly: “show your tickets, please!”. That’s how 
ended one of the most marvelous dream journeys I have ever had.  Yet, the subtle connection 
with Yueyang tower continues till today. It teaches that all living beings (and orbs) shine in their own beautiful way, and all need love, gentle care and kind attitude, in order to 
thrive vigorously and advance.

Yueyang Tower overlooking Lake Dongting
and Junshan 君山 island (one of the 72 Blissful Lands 福地 in Daoism).