Chinese monks and their spiritual world

March 11, 2012 8:15

Chzhunnanshan mountains, the abode of hermits.  Photo from

Chzhunnanshan mountains, the abode of hermits. Photo from

In China, the ancient land of the great sages, there are still people who do not consciously use the fruits of civilization, trying to enrich their spiritual world more than the material. This hermits who live in the mountains, doing spiritual practices and almost no contact with the outside world.

More than 20 years ago, the translator of the Buddhist canon, the American Boat Bier specially came to China to find hermits. His journey he described in his book "Orchids empty canyons", so many know about these extraordinary people, about their lives and aspirations.

Estimated Botha, now China has more than five thousand hermits who live in the mountains, valleys and canyons.

Most of them are in the mountains Chzhunnanshan, in the central province of Shaanxi. The height of these mountains over 2600 meters, but no matter how steep and steep slopes are normally not there anywhere you can see the narrow paths, stone steps or specially cut through the tabs. But this is not tourist trail.

Since ancient times, these mountains were considered living area Taoists and Buddhists engaged in mystical practices and gains wisdom.

Recently, local edition of Shaanxi Province, the electronic newspaper "Huashan" said the 35-year-old by the name of Xian Zhang Jianfeng, who inspired the book Biera Botha also went into the mountains in search of Chzhunnanshan hermits.

For three years he was on the steep mountain passes of more than 400 kilometers, and met with more than 600 hermits and even he almost became one of them. According to his calculations, only in these mountains sits more than five thousand mystical practice.

"Before, I worked as a literary editor and editor of moonlighting in a fashion magazine. I is in contact with all of this content of modern literature and articles. I was constantly tormented by the question of why people are thinking only about money and so relentlessly chasing them? Of course, there's nothing wrong, but it seems that the nature of man and his horizons become very narrow and very limited. That's why I wanted to come into contact with other life "- says Zhang.

The first time he went into the mountains in search of Chzhunnanshan hermits in 2008, together with his friends. They had a long and tiring journey, but found no one.

Zhang said that at the time when China was published book Botha, many people wanted to go to these mountains to meet a hermit, but virtually no one reached the goal. They did not found any of the inhabitants of the home.

But, according to Zhang, for the people it was just fun. They walked through the mountains, shouting into a megaphone, which include music and otherwise entertained, leaving a lot of debris and a loud echo. Hermits do not like these people.

"Everyone wanted to meet in the mountains elderly old man with a long gray beard, but in the end only the curves meet the trees' — jokes Zhang.

Hermitage in the mountains Chzhunnanshan.  Photo from

Hermitage in the mountains Chzhunnanshan. Photo from

After a failed first attempt, he decided to go into the mountains alone, and do not adhere to any route, just go aimlessly. And this time, luck smiled at him.
"Hermits live in tents or in caves, their homes are scattered for miles. Usually, if the knock, then they open the door, but there are those who do not accept strangers guests "- says Zhang.

They do not have cell phones or any other means of communication with the outside world. Those who live close to the villages, sometimes in contact with the peasants, but in general, they do not come down from the mountains.

"Those who are in their cultivation has reached a high spiritual level, does not communicate with the outside world, and to communicate only in a narrow range of hermits," — says Zhao.

"Recently, I spoke with one of these mountain people, — he said. — This person is interested in astronomy, as well as studying Buddhism and Taoism. The results of his research, he writes, cutting text on the stone "

They eat very simple and meager food. Something they can grow, they also collect nuts and meager benefits. Some help from time to time with the sustenance farmers.

Zhang said that the thinking of these people is very different from ours. They are not addicted to material things. Even food and clothing, which they bring from the outside world, they see with indifference, and it turns out that he brings are very pleased of my action than the one to whom it supposedly helps.

"For them, there is no difference, you are bringing them food or not" — said Zhang.

Frequent visits to the hermits and communication with them has turned from a simple Zhang curious observer cultivator.

"Talking to them, I saw with my own eyes and feel the results of their practice, so could no longer remain a mere observer. Gradually, I also began to learn to meditate. It really helps to always stay in a sober state of consciousness would be as a permanent observer of himself, it is clear to see all the feelings and emotions that are often completely managed by our actions. I have a feeling that all my previous job was as a preparation to what I'm doing, "- he said.

In 2010, Zhang, along with ten other associates built in the mountains for more than ten wooden houses, designed for anyone who wants to live a life of a recluse.

"During this time I had changed. I have completely changed their attitude to things and events taking place. I think people need to look more widely at all this and pay more attention to their spiritual life. To get a sense of happiness and satisfaction, people are fighting with each other, trying to capture some things relentlessly chasing them, wasting their strength and health. When I live in a tent, there are no so-called wealth, but I feel very happy, "- said the newly hermit.

In Zhang has a wife, who works as a designer, and two children. Under his influence, his parents also began to engage in spiritual practice. His wife supports him. In the summer it often comes to him in the mountains with the children, and they live there all along.

In Chinese history, there were many famous people who were first hermit in the mountains Chzhunnanshan. One of them — Jiang Ziyang, who was at the foundation drains the Western Zhou Dynasty. He came down from the mountains at the age of 80 years and helped the U-Wang, the founder of the Zhou dynasty, the war on Chou-Wan. He became a famous person of his time.

Four dignitary — Dun Yuangun, Huangun Xia, Li and Zhou Qi Lizi, who lived in the late Qing Dynasty and early Han Dynasty, were first hermit in the mountains, Shanshan, and then in Chzhunnanshan. They were more than 80 years, when they returned to public service. In the story of how they got "four gray-haired of Shanshan."

Such famous Chinese saints, as Lu Dongbin, Lee Teguay, Litsyuan Zhong, Liu Haychan, and founder of the school, "Quan Zheng Tao" ("School of absolute truth"), Zhongyang Wang and many others as well, being a hermit, engaged in spiritual perfection in the mountains .

Throughout the history of China in the mountains were three kinds of hermits: sages, who did not want to cooperate with the authorities, the people who waited there war and unrest, and those who were completely alien to the madding crowd.

The well-known Chinese writer and researcher culture Chzhunnanshan named Lu Jianli said that most of the hermits — are elderly elders, but there are also young people, graduates of a Buddhist school in Amoy and the Faculty of Literature at Peking University.

According to Lu, these people lead a very simple life. Some came there to comprehend the Tao and Buddhism, others to learn qigong, while others simply found it comfort and peace for the independent study of science.

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