Finally after 7 years, i had the chance and time to go back to Mt. Wudang and spend some wonderful days over there! Shortly after i arrived at my hotel, close to the famous Nanyan Palace 南岩宫, i couldn´t wait to go straight to one of my most special places in the mountains, the prince cave. The place where according to the legend Zhen Wu 真武 cultivates for 40 years. Before he became a follower of Dao, Zhen Wu was a prince who refused to inherit the empire. In honor of that important event, the cave is called prince cave.
Since more then 20 years now it is the home and place where the daoist hermit Jia Yongxiang 贾永祥, who lovingly also is called by his followers "The Bee Daoist" lives and cultivates himself. The way down the street from my hotel to the cave takes around 20 minutes by walk and is quite easy nowadays to reach. New stairs guiding the way from the street up to the cave.
After all these years i was more then happy and excited to be back and spend so much time has possible at this place. When i entered the terrace in front of the cave, he was sitting as usual at his seat and had a short rest. Two other people, a student of him, a man around his 50´s and a lovely lady around the same age stayed with him all the day long.
How looks like a normal day at the prince cave?
A normal day at the prince cave his quite simple and looks really relaxed from the outside! When there are no visitors, which usually come and visit the cave at the late morning or in the afternoon, it follows mostly the same routine, wake up is early in the morning or should i say night :). Around 5.30 is the morning ceremony, after that breakfast normally with some Zhou 粥 (rice porridge) with Mantou 饅頭 (chinese steamed bun). Then normally daoist Jia listen some radio or reading newspaper, meanwhile his student is taking care and cleaning the cave and the surrounding. Around 12.00 to 12.30 is lunch time, the food is vegetarian and simple. Everything what is done at the prince cave dosn´t matter what it is cleaning, cooking, or washing dishes etc. all is done mostly quietly and with the utmost care, nothing to waste, not even a drop of water!
After lunch, daoist Jia continuous focuses on his writings, which he literally does most of the day. All his thoughts and experiences are written down, which in this way are preserved for the next generations who feel inspired and attracted by his person and teachings. Around 17.00 - 17.30 is the evening ceremony, afterwards dinner which is again quite simple and then slowly the day comes to an end.
Why i said at the beginning the normal day looks from outside quite relaxed, is, that in truth and at least for me it is absolutely not relaxed in the way that he will let you and everyone who is around him, ALONE, when you sit there for a while you start immediately to calm down, you start to observe what is going on inside of you, your crazy monkey mind has no other choice to obey and to fall silent.
When there where no visitors or you yourself has no question, then most of the time nobody talks, everything is done in silence for hours, here and there a little joke made by him, a short laughter and then ... silence again! Some people came and can´t stand that nothing happens, they became so restless that they leave already after just a few minutes, the silence weighs so heavily on their shoulders that they can´t withstand it.
Here the saying "SILENCE SPEAKS" fits 1000%. Everything arises from silence and returns to silence, easy to say, hard to do!
Since all these years people come from all around the world to him for all kinds of reasons, to ask for help, for guidance in particular questions and so on. But what really surprised me was that also some people come to him, to bring trouble, to start arguing, to show off, to use him, or behave in very rude manners, i didn´t expected that this can happen at such place and to him, specially when he is already in "old age". Anyway when people tried to offend him, daoist as well as normal visitors, he always kept relaxed and welcomed them friendly. When they try to force him to talk about specific topics like ... what kind of internal practice he does or other personal things, he simply answered "i don´t know".
On the other hand and luckily there are more people like this, they come with deep faith, paying respect to Zhen Wu, burning incense and making offerings. He in turn likes to give visitors small gifts in form of fruits or pendants with the image of Zhen Wu on it or just simply his heartfelt smile. These moments made the biggest impression on me and made me feel happy, i could learn a lot from them!
One of the main slogan of the prince cave is ... "The door is open, everyone is welcome"
... to be continued!