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Awen

Revival of the Chinese Hermit Tradition

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I came across a few related clips on  youtube yesterday which I found extremely interesting- as they seem to suggest a revival amongst millennials of hermit traditions in the Zhongnan mountains. I had seen Amongst White Clouds before, so I was aware that there was a still-existing, historic hermit tradition in the region- but I thought it was a wholly buddhist phenomena and was also surprised to learn of a number of ostensibly quite young people in their midst. I suppose it is inevitable to find a trickle leaving society given the population levels and stresses of life in modern China. Nonetheless, from an outsider's perspective, its nice to learn of initiatives to pursue the Tao that are not the result of government tourist initiatives or created with a view to charging $10,000 for a weekend workshop (including certificate and t-shirt with course logo).

 

anyway here are a few links for those inclined to view them:

 

 

 

Edited by Awen
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The following was a really interesting talk given by Bill Porter. Its longer than the above short clips but gives some context to the hermit lifestyle in China.

 

 

Of note to this thread, he states at around 43 minutes that in one section of the Zhongnan mountains, he had noted around 200 hermits living in a particular area- whereas a few years later there were over 600.

 

Then at the Q&A at 1.01.00, he makes the following very interesting comment:

“When I wrote my book Road to Heaven, which was published in 1993…. It’s never sold more than a thousand copies a year here in the States. It came out in Chinese (language) about 8 or 9 years ago and it sold nearly 400,000 copies…. As I said earlier, in the same area where there were 200 hermits there is now 600 and the kind of people who are now hermits are very different… the kind of hermits that I met in 1989- highschool education was rare, but now college graduates are a dime a dozen amongst the monks. Because you are getting people who have finally had a chance to pursue the goals that we think are worth pursuing in our societies- and they are finding them lacking something, so they are all going off to the mountains.”

 

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Go into yourself and see how deep the place is from which your life flows.
 

 

Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.
 

 

The highest form of love is to be the protector of another person’s solitude.
 

 

If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.

 

 

To be here is immense.

 

Rainer Maria Rilke

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