"Days and nights
are the travelers
of eternity. So are the years that pass by. I myself have been tempted
for a long time by the cloud-moving wind, filled with a strong desire
I walked through mists and clouds, breathing the thin air of high
altitudes and stepping on slippery ice and snow, till at last through a
gateway of clouds, as it seemed, to the very paths of the sun and moon,
I reached the summit, completely out of breath and nearly frozen to
death. Presently the sun went sown and the moon rose glistening in the
Narrow Road to the Deep North).
During 2000-2001 I traveled
independently as a Watson Fellow, to pursue a topic that had long been
fascinating me: the sacred significance of the mountains. I explored
pilgrimage sites in Nepal, Central Tibet, India and Peru, lived with
local mountain people, and learned from them and their mountain Gods.
You can view the whole essay, Sacred Mountains: Myth and
Morphology, a story
of my walking through these places, with excerpts from my diaries and
reflections on mountain rituals and pilgrimage. Alternatively, use the
links at the bottom of this page to go to the essays I wrote for each
part of the travels.
You can also view a powerpoint presentation on Sacred
Mountains in the Andes and the Himalayas: Climate change, tourism and
conflicts with mountain rituals (Presented at the Rocky
Mountain Summit: Sustaining Ecosystems and Their People, Whitefish, Montana, 2002).