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Running as Meditation

There are monks on Mount Hiei whose meditation exercise consists of running, running all through the night, in any weather, running until the mind itself is empty of any awareness. Perhaps I have been running the whole time I have been in Japan, perhaps I run only when I run. But in some way I sense a kinship with the monks of Hiei. In daily life, running is both my means of exuding awareness and enhancing awareness, and I now know that this is no contradiction.

Running the Seven Continents, Clint Morrison

I’m beat to the punch, in the sense that someone has already written a book about the philosophy of running a marathon in Japan and running marathons across all seven continents, and, not only that, but an entire sect of Buddhism has been in existence since AD 788 advocating running as a way of achieving enlightenment.

Mount Hiei (比叡山) is just outside Kyoto. To learn more about the running philosophy of these monks, I’d recommend The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei, by John Stevens.