This program has given me more opportunities than I every expected.
I didn’t know anything about China or Chan Buddhism going into this. Over the past 4 weeks I’ve learned more about China, its people, its language, and Buddhism than I ever thought I would. I have fallen in love with the country because of its beauty and its culture. It is so different than America in so many different ways and every day I am here I find something new to appreciate, whether it be the people, the traditions, scenery, or the tea.
The people are so polite and peaceful, every one of them wants to help me as much as they can, and I rarely come across this kind of attitude in America. My jacket got torn up by some dogs and the tailor couldn’t fix it so she gave me a new one that was used by her son but he had out grown it, how wonderful is that?!?
The language is nothing like English and that keeps me challenged and interested. I’ve never been interested in learning language least of all Chinese which is considered by many one of the most challenging languages to learn. But as I spend my time studying, I recognize new things and new excitements about it that keep me interested and make me want to continue studying it.
And the Buddhism, there are a lot of aspects that I love and I will take home with me after I leave. The meditations are enjoyable and I was doing them before I got here, but the environment here allows me to spend more time doing them, which is nice. I love the concept of mindfulness, compassion towards all beings, and not having attachments to things. Even the prostrations and sutra readings have grown on me during this time.
I am grateful for everything this program has provided me with so far, the friendships, the learning opportunities, and the peaceful environment. I am very thankful to everyone who is involved in making this program a success. I hope to come back in the future and participate in this and other Woodenfish programs in the future.
I think if you are interested in Buddhism, Chinese culture and language, pushing your comfort zone. And if you’re a person who is flexible, open minded, willing to be challenged, willing to doing hard work, and put in a lot of effort this program could be for you.