Henry David Thoreau and Han-Shan share a similar perspective towards their lives, mankind, and nature, though the means by which they acquired their appreciations differ. Whether intentional or not, both authors found themselves disconnected from society and used their circumstances to make observations about their lives and of mankind.
Thoreau deliberately sought a change in his life. He moved to Walden Pond to spend time with his thoughts and to observe society by escaping it. By the end of his time at Walden, he had discovered the importance of nature and a simple life. His experience at Walden allowed him to remove himself from society and return to the basic principles of life: Shelter and food. Walden Pond offered him exclusion from Concord, just as Han-Shan's permanent hermitage on Cold Mountain gave him a solitary environment to concentrate. However, Han-Shan's poverty kept him from the basic essentials that Thoreau readied for himself. He struggled to find food, relying on his friend, Shih-te at his temple to save portions for him from the dining hall. Thoreau's calculated decision to leave society and begin his experiment at Walden Pond gives his writings a definitive beginning and end, whereas Han-Shan remains secluded at Cold Mountain throughout his life.
Han-Shan and Thoreau were not concerned with wealth and shared a distaste for the materialism of man.
I have to laugh at him,.
He misses the point entirely,.
Men like that.
Ought to stick to making money.
Han-Shan lived in poverty on a secluded mountain, spending his time writing poetry and observing nature. Han-Shan's life would be unknowingly echoed by Thoreau when he devised a plan to work only six weeks a year, and devoted the remaining months to writing and observation. Both authors' introverted lifestyles and disregard for common comforts allowed them time to reflect on themselves and their surroundings.
Nature is a reoccurring theme between Thoreau and Han-Shan.