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Road to Heaven: Encounters With Chinese Hermits
Road to Heaven Encounters With Chinese Hermits
Author: Bill Porter
Bill Porter (Red Pine) trekked through China's remote Chungnan Mountains in search of hermits. Lessons of spiritual wisdom emerge from his interviews with more than twenty male and female hermits.
ISBN-13: 9781562790417
ISBN-10: 1562790412
Publication Date: 6/1993
Pages: 240
  • Currently 4.7/5 Stars.

4.7 stars, based on 3 ratings
Publisher: Mercury House
Book Type: Paperback
Members Wishing: 0
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phowa avatar reviewed Road to Heaven: Encounters With Chinese Hermits on
chinese hermits who would guess that exist today but they do and have they got it down tao,zen; wow; now read the book!!!!!
charliebear avatar reviewed Road to Heaven: Encounters With Chinese Hermits on + 26 more book reviews
For the literate person, reading Bill Porter is the equivalent of passing through the stages of hell. Porter writes with three distinct voices, all so very different and one so very annoying that it takes every ounce of energy not to throw his books into the trash.

Given that, Road to Heaven is readable only in that much of what Porter conveys is material that is translated from other sources and organized into groups of stories. These are old stories, long known and often told. As long as Porter sticks to translating and organizing the writings of others, the material he presents tends to hold together.

Unfortunately, in this book, Porter tries to glue material together into bigger chunks using his own voice, which plods along in a second-by-second narrative of what he does or sees. Mindfulness is a valuable practice and experience for the Buddhist as long as it is one of personal life. Turning the second-by-second experience of "then we turned north and took five steps, then we turned east and walked until we reached the ...." into literary narrative is akin to aggravating a reader for no purpose. Further maddening readers, Porter displays an inability to respect or understand the purpose of time and place in his writings.

Actually, Porter has very few encounters with Chinese hermits in this book. When he does, he introduces his third voice -- that of a journalist. Despite his artlessness in questioning, the hermits he interviewed do have some interesting things to say. Again, because Porter is translating what is said to him, the material is readable.

Despite all the horror of having to pass through these pages, a student of China can find some interesting tidbits herein. I read the entire book (something I couldn't even do with Porter's book ZEN) and would even acquire it as a reference as it does place many of the old stories related to the Tao, Buddhism, Zen and hermits all between two covers. However, there is no joy in reading this manuscript. It is a trial.