Chinese Idiom – Zhongnan Mountain Shortcut
[PureInsight.org] Sima Chengzhen left home to become a Taoist priest at age 21. He traveled extensively over famous mountains and great rivers. Later he dwelled in Tiantai Mountain in seclusion, cultivating Taoism. He became well known and people called him "Taoist among the White Clouds." Several emperors of the Tang Dynasty offered him high positions in their courts and he rejected all their offers.
Once, on the imperial edict of Emperor Ruizong, Sima Chenzhen came to the capital Changan for a short visit. A lot of people called on him. He left the capital to return to Tiantai Mountain three months later. Prime Minister Lu Cangyong came to see him off. Lu Cangyong used to cultivate in seclusion in Zhongnan Mountain south of Changan; he came out of the mountain and became a court official. Lu Cangyong pointed to the direction of nearby Zhongnan Mountain and said," There's infinite pleasure there, why do you need to go back to Tiantai mountain?" Sima Chenzhen replied, "It seems to me that it is nothing but a shortcut to high office".
Zhongnan Mountain Shortcut now means shortcut to high office.
From Xin Tan Shu - Biography of Lu Cangyong
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2004/8/20/28699.html