Jake traveled Taiwan 345 kilometers by foot

mountain bridge near Wulu Kaohsiung TaiwanThe slowest journey on the high speed railway

Jake visited me to study in June 2008. He is responsible for very important safety work on Taiwan's 'bullet train', the High Speed Railway (HSR). Most people's trip on the 300 km/h High Speed Rail takes less than 90 minutes. But for Jake, the journey took weeks. He traveled by foot.

He walked from the very first station of the HSR, to the last stop of the line. Under 36°C (97°F) tropical heat, through steep mountains and long dark tunnels, Jake walked all 345 kilometers (220 miles) of the rails. He had to make sure that there were no tiny errors in the construction. The safety of our lives is greatly relying on Jake.

It's hard to imagine how someone can just walk along the rails and sense any construction problems.

I have heard of an interesting Buddhist practice. The nuns or monks travel all the way to some distant destination by foot, sometimes bare foot. Actually, the purpose is not really travel, it's mediation. Instead of daydreaming and casually gazing at the scenery, they focus deeply on their breathing, or chanting.

mountains south taiwanThe result of this continuous deep concentration is that the mind becomes extremely sensitive. The meditators actually become very aware of the outside world. This walking meditation is a way to sharpen the mind. I imagined Jake walking along the rails. Like the walking meditating monks, he becomes very sensitive to his surroundings.

Jake told me he has been practicing concentration since he was in college. He was in a sports team. Apart from the normal physical practice, his coach taught the boys how to use concentration and visualization practice to win a battle. Since then, Jake always uses the method to practice his mind.

Jake's coach often referred to the writer Charles F. Haanel who said, “Harmony in the world within means the ability to control our thoughts and determine for ourselves how any experience is to affect us.”

I seem to understand that better now. Meditation is a way of practicing or exercise the mind. Like we exercise a muscle so it will become stronger. When our minds are powerful, certainly we can surely create our own path.

Although Jake took my class, I felt I had learned a greater lesson from him.

mountain pagoda taiwan 

Taiwan High Speed Railway

My other guests, Peter and Karen from Washington DC, made a video of Taiwan High Speed Railway and put it on Youtube.

The photos were taken by Jake. This bridge is on the road between Kaohsiung and at a place called Wulu, and there is a hotel at the base of this bridge. He said the views from the bridge were quite amazing; He hiked for hours in the area without seeing another person.


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