Snow-Capped Mountains

Shakyamuni Buddha left home to tread the path of cultivation. He practiced asceticism for six years in the snow-capped mountains. Isn’t it true that one can practice as well at home and in the city? Why is it necessary to go to the snow-capped mountains?

That is because snow is cold. Snow falls in the last month of the year, when the myriad beings go into hibernation. The mountains, the rivers and the great earth all turn into a silvery world, with the thousands of colors in hiding. The state of nature as such is just like the state of a cultivator treading the Path.

If moment after moment throughout the day, one’s mind is as cool as ice so that the myriad thoughts turn into dead ash, and one ceases to be moved by the caprices of the phenomena, this is called “the snow-capped mountains”; to surpass the worldly is called “leaving home”; to disentangle from illusory thoughts is called “shaving one’s head”.

Hsu Yun


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