FAREWELL TO SONG MOUNTAIN
Alex Townley: Fascinating and Eye-opening
Veena Schlegel’s new book, ’Farewell to Song Mountain’ is a page-turning sensory adventure. It is captivating; informative but never pedantic, revealing but never over the top.
It beautifully weaves together several narratives-the author’s own insights and reflections on Zen, as well as descriptions of life in a small village in rural China. It is hard to categorise as it is more than a spiritual memoir, more than a travel book, and more than an exploration of the rich spiritual and cultural heritage the author so engagingly describes. It is also worth noting that a great deal of effort has gone into the beautiful design of this book, as well as the many fascinating photos which accompany the text.
The author describes her many visits to China, particularly the area around the Shaolin Temple — an area which has been home to Taoists and Buddhists for millennia and is known as the birthplace of Zen. For the more factually minded, there is also a short interlude where she explains the significance and lives of the first Zen ‘patriarchs’ — really the founders of Zen and the heirs of Bodhidharma.
We travel with her to other areas of spiritual significance such as the ancient Buddhist temples in Wutai Shan in Shanxi Province, and the magnificent Margao Caves in Dunhuang on the border of the Gobi Desert — legendary outposts along the ancient Silk Road.
Farewell to Song Mountain is written with such a light, lyrical touch that even if you know almost nothing of Zen, by the end you may feel you have touched something of its heart.
The book is subtitled ‘A journey from the mundane to the sacred’. The apparently mundane is glimpsed in the authors very personal account of how the rapid social change she observes affect the local villagers – and her own life there – as modern China transforms itself into one of the major economies of the twenty-first century. But the mundane also has something of a magical element, familiar to many travellers: the sense of the ‘spirit of place’.
Altogether this book is a ‘must-read’ and I would recommend it to anyone.
Pankaja Brooke: Travels in Mystical China
This is an absolutely beautiful book – celebrating the author’s love for one of the five sacred mountains of China, Song Mountain. Veena has been visiting this place for the more than a decade, becoming intimately involved with a traditional Kung Fu school as well as the inhabitants of the local village. You really get a taste of the day-to-day reality of living and travelling in China, without speaking Chinese!
But the real delight is how Veena manages to explore in these everyday encounters the ancient mystical traditions of China, still very present in spite of the efforts of the Communist government.
A MOUNTAIN IN CHINA
Amazon Customer: Such an inspiring, beautifully written book
Such an inspiring beautifully written book! As part of a personal quest to explore China’s ancient Buddhist culture Veena falls in love with a mountain and meets Kung Fu Master Wu Nanfang, who lives in a remote region of Song Mountain, home of the legendary 10,000 Buddhas. She makes many friends among the ordinary Chinese villagers as well as members of the Kung Fu school and with courage and determination sets out on the amazing adventures and discoveries described in the book. The generosity, warmth and wisdom of the local Chinese people shines through on every page.
GLIMPSES OF MY MASTER
Bodhi Heeren: Pure Beauty
Not that many books are written about the controversial mystic Osho (aka Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh) and not surprisingly the most popular are the ones filled with slanderous rumours, misunderstandings and downright lies.
Here we get something completely different, a moving, personal story by an intimate disciple who both worked as an editor of Osho’s book and later as chief designer of his often outrageously beautiful robes (and hats). Throwing light on the mysterious ways of an enlightened Master and his endless compassion for who ever comes close to him. Filled with funny episodes, profound transformations and glimpses of the beyond, although Veena mostly stays away from the esoteric.
The book is extremely well-written and entertaining and definitely one of the best ever portraits of Osho.
It is a must for anyone interested in the complex play between Master and disciple, or seriously into spirituality and transformation — and of course for anyone interested in Osho.
A VANISHED ROAD
Roelie van Ros: An adventurous journey overland to India
A Vanished Road describes Veena Schlegel’s adventurous journey overland, in 1970, starting in England, traveling through Europe, the Middle East, partly along the old Silk Road, through Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan and ending up in Goa, India. She was probably one of the first Western white women ever being seen by the inhabitants of the many countries she travelled through.
She is obviously a daring and courageous woman, undertaking this journey in the very early seventies. She was lucky to find some other Western travellers for a big part of her journey, heading in the same direction.
The use of her language is eloquent and vivid, but nothing is overly dramatized in any way. I truly could see what she has seen on this wonderful, intense journey through her very descriptive use of language. Since then so much has changed of course. Many countries are nowadays so modernized and also dangerous to travel through, often the beauty of those days being destroyed by wars of all sorts, hence the title.
Stan Mitchel: A Gem amongst a treasure chest of mostly worthless scraps
A beautiful, deep, and enlightening book, that’s worth every penny. I’m eagerly awaiting a (hopeful) follow up.
Cinnamen J: Completely brilliant!
A journey with this Master takes you to depths like no other. I’m so pleased to finally have a copy & to have spent 3 months training with this style and team in China. This is the real Kung Fu!