Zen Hermits

Zen Hermits

Postby Beatzen » Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:44 pm

Lots of people talk about hermits, tantric yogis in the tibetan and ancient indian traditions.

Does anyone know about examples of this kind of solitary retreat in the history of the Zen tradition, preferably Soto?
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Re: Zen Hermits

Postby Mr. G » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:15 am

Sorry, not Zen, but Chan:

Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits by Red Pine - The writing is a bit dry and disjointed, but it had stories of Chan, Pure Land and esoteric practitioners. Life is a bit rougher for these practitioners than people realize.

Also, the documentary "Amongst White Clouds" which was inspired by Road to Heaven.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
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Re: Zen Hermits

Postby kirtu » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:24 am

Hsu Yun, at least for many years. Don't know of any Soto hermits although there have been some.

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Re: Zen Hermits

Postby Jikan » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:37 am

Not Soto but Soto-friendly:

George Bowman (or Bo Mun sunim), the "resident hermit" at Furnace Mountain:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Bowman
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Re: Zen Hermits

Postby SamBodhi » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:41 pm

I know that there is a story that Bodhidharma sat facing the wall in meditation for nine years. Please correct this if it is just a story, but I always thought that this had something to do with the reason why Soto Zen practitioners sit facing the wall. So, even though he was not a Soto Zen person, it would seem to have relevance to that tradition.

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Re: Zen Hermits

Postby Paul » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:52 pm

Mr. G wrote:Also, the documentary "Amongst White Clouds" which was inspired by Road to Heaven.


That is an incredible film.
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Re: Zen Hermits

Postby Mr. G » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:15 pm

Yup, good stuff!

:thumbsup:
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Zen Hermits

Postby Huifeng » Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:53 am

Beatzen wrote:Lots of people talk about hermits, tantric yogis in the tibetan and ancient indian traditions.

Does anyone know about examples of this kind of solitary retreat in the history of the Zen tradition, preferably Soto?


In Chan, I can think of a fair few Dharma brothers and sisters, and other friends and acquaintances.
Won't find these on the internet, thank goodness! :P

~~ Huifeng
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Re: Zen Hermits

Postby Indrajala » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:23 am

Beatzen wrote:Lots of people talk about hermits, tantric yogis in the tibetan and ancient indian traditions.

Does anyone know about examples of this kind of solitary retreat in the history of the Zen tradition, preferably Soto?


Ryōkan Taigu 良寛大愚 (1758-1831) comes to mind.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ry%C5%8Dkan

Not just as a solitary yogi in the wilderness, he also wrote a lot of poetry.
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Re: Zen Hermits

Postby Qian Zheng Yi » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:35 pm

http://www.hermetica.info/hanshan.htm

Han Shan - he was a Ch'an hermit:


"If I hide out at Cold Mountain

Living off mountain plants and berries -

All my lifetime, why worry?

One follows his karma through.

Days and months slip by like water,

Time is like sparks knocked off flint.

Go ahead and let the world change -

I'm happy to sit among these cliffs."


I know that is not exactly what you are looking for but I hope it is of some help.
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Re: Zen Hermits

Postby Adamantine » Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:33 am

Yeah Cold Mountain, Pick Up and Big Stick were three buddies that sometimes lived together in one retreat temple but often were on their lonesomes out in the caves and mountains... They all were poets, although Cold Mountain the most prolific, and they inscribed all the poetry we have records of on the sides of cliffs or caves, etc. This one is one of my favorites, -- of Pick Up(Shih-te) -translated by Red Pine-:

For a mud ball dropped in water
big plans make no sense
for a fragile dreamlike body
a hundred years are rare
unable to ponder deeply
and claiming they're immortal
people steal a ton of gold
then leave it all behind
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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