Pronounced “poo tuoh shan”, meaning beautiful white flower in Mandarin, Putuoshan is the Buddhist holy mountain in the east. Putuoshan is located on a small island off the coast of Zhejiang province in the East China Sea. It is easily (and best) accessible from Shanghai.
The island is a national park and the temples are dedicated to Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, or Guanyin, the goddess of mercy and compassion.
While there are many legends surrounding the establishment of Putuoshan as a Buddhist sanctuary, the most-repeated is that during the ninth century, a Japanese monk making his way from China back to Japan carrying a statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, was caught in a storm. The Goddess appeared and told him to leave the statue and guided him to safety at Putuoshan where he erected a temple (Puji Si) in her honor.
Currently about one-third of the population of 3,000 are nuns and monks.