on top of the Lake and the Mountain….

on top of the beautiful West Lake in Hangzhou is a pagoda with a rich history.

The story of White Snake and the Leifang Pagoda appears here 

a small hall leads the way to the zigzag bridge, atop West Lake

nearby the Lake is a hill, a small mountain, with winding paths through a forest. one of those paths leads to a little cave, hidden away from view, off the beaten track.



from atop the hill where the cave is, looking down, a gathering of musicians.

one man stikes up a tune on his erhu – two-stringed fiddle …

and his friends come to join in…

Whilst i loved looking down over this scene, listening to the lilting then melancholic tunes, played by a group of friends relaxing on a sunday morning,

my favourite spot atop the hill was the little mountain cave

where an altar to the Bodhisattva Guan Yin  is hidden away.

观音 –  she who hears the cries of the world.

观  –guan   the character used for Daoist temples. it also means “observation” or “contemplation” and the character was originally referring to the comtempative view from a mountain top temple.

音 yin means sound.

观音guan yin she who hears the cries of the world.


( a little note on phonetics: across the world wide web you will see the Goddess’s name spelt as “quan yin” – this is incorrect and makes absolutely no sense in Chinese. the sound “guan” and “quan” are completely different. the ‘q’ sound is quite a difficult sound for non-Chinese speakers to make – why use it, when it is not correct? a grand mystery.)

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