Working hard

I’m finding it harder to remember what my impressions of China were before I first came here… very different from the reality, anyway! I’m still surprised all the time, though (one of the reasons I love it here, I guess).

When it comes to religion, I really thought that most of it was gone. Of course, so much is – see my post on Pingyao’s Dragon Temple. A lot still remains, though, to my great relief.

One thing I thought would be gone is the eremitic tradition. I’d seen Bill Porter’s 1993 book, Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits on Amazon, and had thought that this must surely document the last hermits of their kind.

It seems not, however! I’ve just found out about Amongst White Clouds, a film released last year, which shows that the tradition lives on.

Here are two trailers. The voiceover is the same, but the film is different.

[if the embedded clip doesn’t show, go here]

[if the embedded clip doesn’t show, go here]

Reading interviews with, or profiles of, the author, it’s inspiring that he came to China to learn more after reading Porter’s book. He didn’t speak Chinese, so he learned it. He didn’t know where to find any hermits, so he just wandered around the mountains till he found some. Incredible. So there’s really no excuse for me. And if I feel that I have too much to do, so I can’t spend enough time on my meditation and martial arts… just remind me to go back and re-read this post from Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert.

Hmmm. Dilbert and Chinese Buddhist hermits, together at last…

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