In 1999 Ted Burger moved to China in order to learn Chinese, and with the hope of getting to opportunity to meet some living Buddhist masters.
It took a long time but by 2003 he had made contacts and was heading to the Zhongnan mountains, where he had heard a Master was living.
In fact the mountains have many recluses living on them, both male and female, usually in remote hermitages living on natural and grown food.
This film records his meetings with several of them and the wisdom they embody, which is very down to earth and natural wisdom, rather than book wisdom.
The hermits remain, as they would surely prefer, mostly anonymous, so their names are unknown but their presence is memorable and their commitment to the Buddhist path is inspiring.
I’ve lived on old mountains so many years,
following the way of forests and springs,
no one will visit,
just clouds floating by,
grass for a bed,
blue sky for a quilt,
happy with a rock for a pillow,
let the world go about its changes.
– Hanshan, Tang Dynasty Monk and Poet