FRIENDS: I have taken a couple days since my return from China to process and absorb the extraordinary things I saw and experienced and the wonderful people I met. That’s going to take awhile. I will be returning for more trips in the future, courtesy of the generosity and enthusiasm of the remarkable Chinese publisher who wishes to bring many of my books—both new and already existing—and my message of connecting children (and adults) to Nature, to his country. In an ironic twist, my long-time interest in Taoism, Zen, and ancient spiritual philosophies that harmonize humanity with Nature (tributaries of my own philosophy) seems to fulfill a thirst and longing in the land from which such thoughts came. More on that, perhaps, and on wonderful opportunities the future may hold, at a later time.
For now I thought I’d post some images from the place that perhaps touched me most deeply. Here you will see scenes from the great Rock Carvings of Dazu, on Baoding Mountain near Chongqing. On a misty day in the mountains, we strolled among enormous yet delicate carvings nearly a thousand years old, made during the Song Dynasty. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dazu Carvings represent spiritual teachings blending Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. To wander among and below these depictions of sacred art, on a misty mountain day, to touch the rock and the moss and to gaze in wonder, is an experience not soon to be forgotten. The gold leaf, Thousand Hand Guanyin, in a limestone cave, is a representation of the princess Miaoshan, who because of a great personal sacrifice of her own hand and her eye, was rewarded by Skakyamuni Buddha with 1,000 hands and eyes, enabling her to see far and help many. There really are 1,000 hands, each with an eye, in this fantastic sculpture, taller than four men on each other’s shoulders, like a great golden peacock. Here also we find numerous depictions of Shakyamuni, including my favorite, the ‘Sleeping Buddha,’ awaiting entrance to Nirvana. Also the Great Wheel of Life, with its recurring karma and reincarnations. What a day! I am no expert guide, and will not try to explain further, but will let you stroll along the mountainside with me, absorbing what you will. More to come soon!