Three Years on the Great Mountain

A Memoir of Zen and Fearlessness

By Cristina Moon


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- Paperback
Shambhala Publications
Pages: 280
Size: 5.5 x 8.5
ISBN: 9781645472827

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An invigorating memoir about a young woman pushed to her limits at a Zen monastery in Hawai‘i, where she learns that the key to unlocking the ultimate breakthrough is igniting her fighting spirit.

At twenty-five, activist Cristina Moon faced an impossible task: preparing for the possibility of arrest and torture inside military-ruled Myanmar. Her response? Learning Buddhist meditation. So began what would become a decades-long spiritual path—eventually leading her to a Zen temple and martial arts dojo in Hawaiʻi with a timeless method of warrior Zen training.

Offering a bracing account of three years of mind-body-spirit training at Daihonzan Chozen-ji, a Rinzai Zen temple and martial arts dojo, Moon powerfully captures the rigors and realizations that finally shaped her into a Zen priest whose highest directive is to give fearlessness.
Told with immersive detail and an unique Asian American female perspective, Three Years on the Great Mountain chronicles Moon's straight-up-the-mountain training regimen at Chozen-ji, conducted every day and often through the nights. Through the spiritual forging of daily Zen meditation, manual labor, swordsmanship, and Japanese tea ceremony, she discovers a newfound conviction that self mastery and spiritual growth can take fierce form. Embraced by local Hawaiʻi and Japanese culture, and a community of discipline, respect, and discovery, she discovers a profound sense of home.


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