Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/251

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
195
OMEI SHAN, THE SACRED

there was no unseemly begging for contributions as at Wan-nien Ssu. It boasts an abbot and some twenty-five full-fledged monks and acolytes. All day long pilgrims, lay and monastic, were coming and going, and the little bell that is rung to warn the god of the presence of a worshipper tinkled incessantly. Some were monks who had come long distances, perhaps from farthermost Tibet, making the great pilgrimage to "gain merit" for themselves and for their monastery. Many of the houses on Omei gave to these visitors crude maps or plans of the mountain, duly stamped with the monastery seal, as proof that the journey had been made, and on my departure one such, properly sealed with the Chin Tien stamp, was given to me.

One day was like another, and all were peaceful and full of interest. I expect the weather was as good as one could look for at this season of the year; although the mists rolled in early in the forenoon shutting out the plain, yet there was little rain, and the night and dawn were glorious. Each morning I was out before sunrise, and standing on the steps of the upper temple saw the whole western horizon revealed before my enchanted eyes. A hundred miles away stretched the long line of the Tibetan snow-peaks, their tops piercing the sky. It seemed but a step from earth to heaven, and how many turn away from the wonderful sight to take that step. Two