Friday, November 26, 2010

Marathon Monks

Which is the toughest, institutionalized, human endurance test?

If you thought it was the ultra-marathon, here is something you should see -

These marathon monks (Kaihōgyō) are Tendai Buddhists and followers of Fudō Myōō (aka Achala-natha or the `immovable-lord` in Sanskrit) - the protector and aide in attaining goals. For them, the ultimate achievement is the 1000-day challenge in which they cover 40 to 84km per day for 100 days a year, for seven years!

Only 46 men have completed the 1,000-day challenge since 1585 AD.


Tibetan Buddhism has a similar practice called Lung-gom-pa ("Wind Meditation", lung = “wind, gom-pa = “meditation") which allows a practitioner to run at an extraordinary speed for days without stopping. Milarepa is said to have been one of its exponents.

Yantra Yoga - Tibetan yoga of movement

Hōnen (法然 1133-1212) -  religious reformer and founder of the first independent branch of Japanese Pure Land Buddhism called Jōdo shū (浄土宗?, "The Pure Land School").

Tendai Marathon Monks - The Run of A Lifetime by James Davis, The London Observer

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