Thursday, 27 March 2014


Mountain ango requires sangha. That's sangha, in the Buddhic sense: support, not supervision. In a better world Zen centres would supply this, but attached as they are to permission and rank, they seldom try. It takes comrades who know how long a day is; the dangers and fears; and why you must face them. Fellow hermits who will hit their mark, and whose response to a cry for help won't be to urge you to quit.

Show me a brother who wants to sit on the mountain, and I'll show up with the pickles. I'll help him prepare, visit reliably, and respect his vow. If he goes missing, I'll hike out and find his arse.

Because it takes a hermit. Backing without bullying. Assistance without control. Sangha. If the eremitical path can be reopened in the West, it will require that kind of brotherhood.

(Adapted from 100 Days on the Mountain, copyright RK Henderson.)
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