Re: Mountain peoples

Philip Deitiker (
7 Sep 1995 21:00:08 GMT

Iain (Iain Walker) wrote:
>I'm looking for any input people might care to offer regarding peoples
>living in mountainous regious, anywhere in the world. In particular if
>they interact in an interesting way with mountains (culturally, that is),
>be it on a daily basis or as a focal point for religious beliefs or

Asian cultural studies would be a good place to start. There is
evidence that certain southeast asian languages segregate based upon
elevation (tibeto-burmese family representing the highlands), indicating
a cultural alignment with mountainous regions. In addition, of the
several sects of buddism in Japan, I know of at least two sects which
focus on a particular mountain temple, one of which isn't particularly
easy to get to (Mt. Kurama sect.). Many consider the climb to the temples
height symbolic of the challenge of spiritual enlightenment. In fact many
of the more renouned temples of Japan are located either on the tops of
mountains or on the slopes bordering the populations center (kyoto, for
example). All I got when I went up mount kurama was light-headed so I
don't think that qualifies. At the time that I was in Japan their was
much discussion about the role of the sects, and their temples in
everyday life. Many urbanites are not compelled to make the journey to
their required temples, and many are too out of shape to climb the often
difficult passages to those temple. In kyoto, the business community
complains because the temples serve more as tourist stops than as
functional temples and they desire these temples to pay temple taxes for
the tourist dollars they take in. Many japanese have made or bought
minature copies of their favorite temple for use as a household shrines
circumventing the need to go to the temples. Thus, I think if your really
interested in conducting social studies of mountain reveration you need
to do so quickly, its importance in these societies may be on the