‘A Mountain in China’ is the fascinating account of an English woman’s travels to the sacred Song Mountain in Henan Province, China. Part memoir, part travelogue, Veena Schlegel takes us to the heart of what has made this mountain a place of pilgrimage for millennia. The peaks and valleys of Song Mountain gave refuge to Taoist mystics long before it became known as the home of Shaolin Kungfu. In the first century AD, Buddhism came to this area from India. In the sixth century AD, the mountain also gave birth to what we now refer to as Zen Buddhism, known in China as Chan, after the enlightened Indian master, Bodhidharma, meditated here alone for nine years in a secluded cave on one of its peaks.
Living in a small village in the mountain’s foothills, the author explores this little-known part of China over several years, and uncovers much of its historical and spiritual heritage as well as its ties to her own spiritual master, Osho. She learns about the local customs and traditions, and shares the turmoil and joy of daily life in the village. She encounters Qigong and Kungfu masters, students and seekers − many of whom have never met a westerner before − and felt the heartbreak many travellers will recognise as modern China inevitably clashes with its ancient heritage. In 2010, the mountain and the religious and historical monuments connected to it, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
‘A Mountain in China’ is a story of a love affair with a mountain − an intimate and sometimes hilarious glimpse into the world of a traveller and a seeker who has been on the path of Zen for more than forty years.