Why the Mountain?

First published at KungFuMagazine.com on December 14, 2017

(Photo by Jonathan Chang)

There is a long history of Asian mountain asceticism that chronicles the pursuit of individual personal cultivation far away from the rhythms of mundane and materialistic-focused living. Ascetic living and a reverence for mountains is not specific to Asian culture. Throughout the world, many indigenous cultures hold mountains to be sacred and as potential portals through which one can be closer to sublime energies, if not the Divine itself. Having knocked on heaven’s door, one can then choose the path of enlightenment that often requires renunciation or the path of devotion by coming down the mountain to help uplift others who seek the Way.

Zhou Yu, author of Bai Yun Chen Chu (Deep in the Clouds), said, "If you don't have peace and quiet in your heart, you cannot have tranquility even if you live deep in the mountains...Start with the simplest practice: To get to know your needs and desires, and find a proper position for yourself. If you can do that, you can find peace and quiet even if you live in the city." So, what are the purpose and benefits of the YMAA Retreat Center’s martial arts program, and why is it located near Bear Butte in Humboldt County in Northern California? Could not these goals be accomplished in any urban city of the United States?

Read full article at KungFuMagazine.com

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