Mountain energy is an age old custom of North East Asia that stretches back to the very origins of Taoism and Feng shui some 5000 years ago. Although Feng shui focuses on the placement of important sites within nature, the Koreans practiced their own forms of Taoism and Feng shui as well. There version of Feng shui, which also focuses on the coordination of objects with nature, was also able to identify more holistically the surce of all its mountain energy. They call this Pungsu-jiri in Korea. During the late Silla period, Buddhist Master Doseon-guksa during his explorations throughout the Korean peninsula developed the geomantic (science of nature) ideal of Pungsu-jiri. A kind of belief that Korean mountain topography held dynamic energetic forces, much like China’s Feng-shui, that transported itself through the mountain ridges and valleys. Its source was the mighty sacred peak of Baekdu-san 2744m, on the current day border with China. Baekdu-san has also been referred to as the mythological birthplace of the Korean people in relation to the legend of Tangun. The energy from Baekdu-san runs down Korea’s Baekdu Daegan Mountain system forming the main central nervous system for the energy, and then spreads out via its main subsidiary ridges, the 14 jeongmaek, and then through its thousands of spurs and smaller ridges called Ji-maek, and then into its valleys and waterways. This life giving energy force is what empowers the Korean peninsula and its people. Some say for example, that to walk Korea’s Baekdu-Daegan is to immerse oneself into the very energy of the Korean peninsula. This mountain energy force was recognized by the early 20th century Japanese colonialists whom impaled Korea’s main ridges and places of deep natural energy with iron spikes in a tactic to curb the patriotic will and national vitality of the Korean people.
It’s more than likely that mountain energy was recognized before Doseon-guksa wrote of it in the form of San-shin worship, as many of Korea’s Buddhist temples were built in places where these significant energy forces permeated heavily from. But it was Doseon-guksa who nationalized the telluric forces in the form of the Baekdu-daegan and its subsidiary Jeongmaek.
Hike Korea loves to take its pilgrims into places that purport this energy. As we walk the ridges and valleys of Korea, open your mind to embrace this vital mountain energy and watch and practice it with the people of Korea. Absorb it through the ridges and open rocky summits. Feel it pass through you in the twisted branches of Korean native pine and forest. Drink it in the cool clear mountain streams that filter through human like forms of mountain cliff and rock. Taste it in the mountain foods from the temples, small farms and villages we pass through. Meditate on a mountain ledge, temple, or shaman shrine, and revitalize your natural energy forces in the Mountains of Korea.