Saints Be With You Handmade Medal - Runners & Walkers Medal: The Marathon Monks of Mt. Hiei
Hank Schlau carve the original of each medal in clay. Cast by hand in lead-free pewter. Can be pendants or used on a key chain. Each comes in a pouch with a history card stating the following:
The Marathon Monks of Mt. Hiei are Buddhists who undergo extreme physical and mental training. To simplify: over seven years, they run 1000 marathons and maxi-marathons: 800 25-mile runs, 100 37-mile runs, and 100 52-mile runs. The runs take place in cycles of 100/200 consecutive days, over mountain paths, in all weather (much snow). They never take a day off or fail to finish a run: never. They run wearing white robes, handmade paper sandals, and an unusual straw hat. Why? Simplifying again: they run in order to be “awakened” (it works), the running a type of meditation. The front of this medal bears an image of one of the monks in stride (people who’ve watched the monks say they seem to effortlessly “sail” across the landscape). The back bears the word “Mu,” which in Japanese means “no,” “not,” but for Buddhists the word, in a way, means to “cut off the mind road.” When one is running (or simply living day to day), one can become so enmeshed in thought (“I’ve run 4 miles, 3 to go,” “my foot hurts,” “did I...?”) that one experiences only one’s thoughts, not the world, not even one’s “true nature” (a Buddhist concept). When one cuts off the mind road and calms the mind or stops thinking, whether through meditation, walking, or running, one finds that a natural pace, stride, and gracefulness are there underneath. Thus, in a nutshell, the meaning of the monks’ practice for us might be: first, persist; and, second, try cutting off the mind road and joining the “primary, nonconceptual world,” and sail across the landscape. The medal was handmade by Hank Schlau and cast in lead-free pewter.
Dimensions: 1 inch high