The Marathon Monks of Mount Hieiby John Stevens
The greatest athletes in the world today are not the Olympic champions or the stars of professional sports, but the "marathon monks" of Japan's sacred Mount Hiei. Over a seven-year training period, these "running buddhas" figuratively circle the globe on foot. During one incredible 100-day stretch, they cover 52.5 miles daily—twice the
The greatest athletes in the world today are not the Olympic champions or the stars of professional sports, but the "marathon monks" of Japan's sacred Mount Hiei. Over a seven-year training period, these "running buddhas" figuratively circle the globe on foot. During one incredible 100-day stretch, they cover 52.5 miles daily—twice the length of an Olympic marathon. And the prize they seek to capture is the greatest thing a human being can achieve: enlightenment in the here and now.
This book is about these amazing men, the magic mountain on which they train, and the philosophy of Tendai Buddhism, which inspires them in their quest for the supreme. The reader will learn about the monks' death-defying fasts, their vegetarian training diet, their handmade straw running shoes, and feats of endurance such as their ceremonial leap into a waterfall. Illustrated with superb photographs, the book also contains the first full-length study in English of Mount Hiei and Tendai Buddhism.
John Stevens lived in Japan for thirty-five years, where he was a professor of Buddhist studies at Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai. Stevens is a widely respected translator, an ordained Buddhist priest, a curator of several major exhibitions of Zen art, and an aikido instructor. He has authored more than thirty books and is one of the foremost Western experts on aikido, holding a ranking of 7th dan Aikikai. Stevens has also studied calligraphy for decades, authoring the classic Sacred Calligraphy of the East. Other John Stevens titles that are likely to be of interest include Extraordinary Zen Masters and The Philosophy of Aikido.
- Echo Point Books & Media
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.35(d)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei is the awe-inspiring story of the trials and triumphs of the Running Buddhas of Tendai Buddhism. The severe conditions under which these monks trained cannot but lead the reader to see life in an entirely new perspective and question superficial self-imposed limitations. The story of these monks—running distances surpassing a marathon daily in handmade straw sandals—attest to the power inherent in the unification of mind, spirit, and body. These marathon monks stretch endurance to its limits to achieve enlightenment—the highest state of human existence. Ultimately, this book emphasizes that great potential exists even in the most tremendous undertakings. A delightful and powerful read unlike any other spiritual athletic account. I’ve included the Table of Contents for your convenience: Part One: The World of Tendai Buddhism The Treasure of a Nation: Saicho, Founder of Japanese Tendai The Magic Mountain: The History of Hiei Study and Practice: The Way of Tendai Buddhism Mount Hiei Today Part Two: The Marathon Monks Mountain Pilgrimage: So-o and tge History of the Hiei Marathon The Path of the Spiritual Athelete Running Buddhas: The Men Themselves Epilogue Notes Bibliography Glossary Index
Treasure of a nation I found this book completely engrossing. John Stevens does a great job at describing the secrets of the "running buddhas" through their pursuit of the 1,000-day mountain marathod on Hiei. I see here that some people complain of the photo quality or design, but from my perspective, this is no issue. The photo documentation of the Doiri (nine-day fast) shows most beautifully how Utsumi transformed physically and even mentally by the radiance found in his eyes. It's actually quite the miracle that the book even exists, for I heard that the author lost its original files in a move. All in all, I am so inspired!