Art Vent

Letting the Fresh Air In

Marathon Monks

April 12, 2010 - 10:49pm -- Carol Diehl
From the Web: Copyright may apply

In the context of Marina Abramović (see posts below), my friend Alexandra sent me this link to a 20-minute documentary about the Marathon Monks of Japan--or you can read about them here.

Why do people take on such disciplines? Why does Abramović? Alexandra notes that regardless of the methods used to achieve a certain level of consciousness, everyone who does it says the same thing—that it’s a state of mind beyond differentiation, beyond the self, where it’s clear that we are all one.

So even though the Marathon Monks are celebrities in their country, hopefully by the time they get there, they’re beyond caring.

I’m off to New York, Philadelphia, and California (LA and Stanford) with the Berkshires interspersed, until the end of the month. I cannot predict blogability, will just have to see.

Note: All this time I've been curious about Abramović's "re-performers," and today this in the Times where, because it's the news media, the emphasis is on the negative (improper touching) and only briefly discusses what the performers are getting out of the experience, much apparently positive.


I was given The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei to read from my acupuncturist last year. It's a fascinating story with a lot of history that kept me thinking for a long time. The book is out of print and expensive when you find it, but well worth it for the bookshelf. I appreciate what John Stevens writes in the epilogue:
Since all of us are on pilgrimage in one manner or the other, the marathon monks of Hiei have much to teach us about treading the Path: always aim for the ultimate, never look back, be mindful of others at all times, and keep the mind forever set on the Way. "If you do this," the marathon monks are telling us, "there is nothing that cannot be accomplished."
Enjoy the left coast carol.

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