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The Mystery of the Dervish

  The so-called “ascetic monk” now generally refers to “a monk who achieves the purpose of abstinence by torturing himself”. Today, any country where Buddhism is prevalent, such as Thailand, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal and other countries, will have a group of ascetic monks.
  In fact, “ascetic” did not originate in Buddhism, but originated in Brahmanism in India. “Asceticism” is an important tradition of Indian indigenous culture. Tapas in Sanskrit, meaning “hot” and “fire”, is usually understood to be the mysterious “heat” obtained through excessive body movement and self-torture, so that the “sacred fire” is in the Your body burns.
  At the time when Sakyamuni founded Buddhism in India, the wind of ascetic practice had already prevailed in the middle and lower reaches of the Ganges. To this day, there are still some people on the banks of the Ganges who pursue the realm of existence in their hearts through penance. They stand in the shallow waters of the Ganges river at waist level, fold their hands together, and whisper prayers to the sun. They are not necessarily ascetic, but But “ascetic”.
  After Sakyamuni founded Buddhism in India, because of his belief that “all living beings are equal”, it was not acceptable to Brahmanism. In the end, Buddhism was expelled from India, but the practice of “asceticism” in Brahmanism was accepted by Buddhism, and was taken away. Out of India, “ascetic monk” has now almost become synonymous with “holy monk” among Buddhist monks.
  However, to this day, India is still the center of ascetic practice in the world. 90% of the people in India are Brahmins, and they are deeply influenced by Brahmin teachings, so they have produced many “ascetic people”. Brahmanism believes that the highest goal of human life is spiritual liberation. To achieve this goal, practice is the only way. Through cultivation, the soul of man can be combined with the soul of the universe to achieve the highest state of “Oneness of Brahma” or “Oneness of Man and God”.
  In India, many ascetics have given up their original superior life, and regard the desire for material things as a “sin” that must be abandoned, and find their own way of survival in nature. They are penniless, rely on begging during the day to feed their hunger, and sleep in the wild at night, where they experience harmonious coexistence with nature.
  Ascetics believe that when the human body suffers from pain, it will generate heat due to its physiological response, which in turn stimulates a powerful inner force to achieve the purpose of purifying life. Therefore, they expect to obtain the power of self-purification by torturing their bodies, restraining their desires, controlling their eating, and even going on hunger strikes.
  In the process of cultivation, ascetic people sometimes have a feeling of being in a trance and other times as if they have been transcended. Therefore, Indians who believe in Brahmanism believe that this person has practiced to a very high level and acquired the ability to “go to the gods”. The ascetics always put their place of practice in the wilderness and forests, and because they often gather in groups to practice asceticism, they form groups of ascetics. These ascetics practice in various ways, lying on thorns, walking naked, walking with heavy objects hanging from their nostrils and ears, lying on cow dung, staring at the sun for a long time, raising one hand frequently, never landing on one foot for life, etc. .
  The will and perseverance embodied in the ascetic practice from Brahmanism has won the respect of many Indians. For the strict Indian caste society formulated by Brahmanism, ascetic people can also use tough ascetic methods to get out of the lower castes and gain a higher social status. To this day, on important festivals in India, those ascetic always appear in the crowd. They are either topless or wearing tattered clothes, and perform their ascetic stunts in the crowd, such as handstands and somersaults. , rings, etc.
  There is a 55-year-old ascetic in India named Rudkan Baba, who is as thin as a skeleton, and his hair is so dirty that lice can jump out. For more than 20 years, he has never walked, but rolled on the ground. In 1994, he set a Guinness World Record for rolling 4,023 kilometers in a row.
  According to him, he has never had an accident or suffered any personal injury during his more than two decades of tumbling journeys. On January 28, 2006, he started his sixth long-distance journey from Madhya Pradesh, India, rolling to the border city of Lahore in Pakistan. In his own words, he is engaged in a cause of peace that has never been seen before in human history. Although he does not have a passport or a visa, based on his previous experience, no border in any country will stop him. He expects to meet Basstan President Musharraf and urge India and Pakistan to achieve permanent peace.
  Ludkan Baba doesn’t eat during the day, but only occasionally drinks tea, smokes a few home-made cigarettes, and eats fruit and cakes at night. He believed that the true ascetic must give up the same enjoyment as ordinary people. But he doesn’t refuse new things. In a rag bag he carries with him, there is actually a mobile phone. Rudkan Baba was born in a small town in Madhya Pradesh, India. At the age of 12, he rescued a dying teenager by rubbing his hands. Since then, he began to believe that there is a magical power in himself, and determined to become an ascetic.
  In 1973, he came to a cave to practice cultivation, and faced the wall in the cave for 12 years, during which he only lived on water and grass. After he came out of the cave in 1985, he told people that it was the “Great God” (the highest god in Brahmanism) who inspired him to use the rolling method to pray for human peace. His first roll was 40km, and the distance has gotten longer since then. In 1994, he rolled from India to the UK for a total distance of 4023km. He rolled past country by country, and no country stopped him. He rolled all the way to the port of Normandy in France, and from there landed in the port of Dover in England by ferry, and then rolled from the port of Dover to Buckingham Palace in London. Queen Elizabeth II ordered the gates of Buckingham Palace to be opened wide, let him roll in, and came out to speak a few words with the guests lying on the ground, praised his hard work spirit, and took pictures with him. Since then, he has been Carry that photo with the Queen with you.
  In Buddhism, there are also some ascetic monks who practice by facing the wall. For example, the fifth ancestor of Zen Buddhism, Dharma Master, was in the cave and faced the wall for 9 years.
  Today, Rudkan Baba’s daily routine is to hit the road at 7am, rest at noon, and then roll from 4pm to 7pm. Two of his female followers accompanied him. To clear the way for him, first pick up the dangerous objects such as iron nails and glass fragments along the way. After that, whether it was garbage or cow dung in front of him, he rolled forward without any hesitation.
  Some ascetics practice standing by facing the wall, never sitting or lying down, whether they are eating or sleeping, they are all standing. However, those who are ascetic believe that only this kind of body and mind that has undergone ascetic cultivation can enter the highest realm of life.
  Some ascetics never speak, they express their thoughts with their eyes and body. They believe that only the eyes can convey the innermost thoughts.
  The appearance of the ascetics is also different from that of ordinary people, no matter where they appear, they only wear a pair of shorts, a blanket, and slippers or bare feet. At the waist is a straw mat that is more than one meter long. They firmly believe that the simpler life is, the easier it will be for body and mind.
  The spirit of asceticism has had an extraordinary impact on Indian society. Indians believe that Mahatma Gandhi, the founding father of India, was an ascetic. In addition to being a complete ascetic in appearance, his lifestyle and style also resembles that of an ascetic. When he fought against the British colonists for independence, he resolutely adopted non-violence, such as not wearing the “foreign cloth” produced by British spinning mills, and called on the whole people to weave home-made cloth by themselves. Not going to work for any British company and taking pride in living a hard life has a strong ascetic overtone.

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