Close Contact with the Sangha of Longquan Monastery (II)

From:Voice of Longquan     Author:Dharma brother Mi Qiang     Time:2017-11-12 22:32:18
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It was so impressive how the experts and translators understood and do translation. The volunteers’ unselfish powerful contributions also made me touched and ashamed. But the really shocking part was the manner and spirit of the youngest members of the Sangha, which overwhelmed me completely. During these days, I benefited so much that I wished to share my journey. I hope my report would benefit all the friends who are curious or care about Longquan monastery.

Day 1 Sep. 30th Checking into our country home

I didn’t sleep well the day before. (P.s., I didn’t arrange my schedule of that day well too.) So, as exhausted as possible, I slept all the way to the monastery. Then I found out I didn’t bring my shampoo, suit for the ceremony, and slippers. And, I couldn’t remember what else I had left.

Actually, I haven’t been doing volunteer work for a long time. In 2014, one day, all of a sudden, I just wanted to stay in Longquan monastery. I stayed there for ten days as an editor doing proof reading. In May 1st, 2016, I joined the team of the Voice of Longquan( ) to undertake some editing task over the internet. Until August 2017, I was called by the director of this project and guaranteed to participate. Who could have known that this connection would become an unimaginable blessing?

Once seeing the volunteers, warm feelings came welling up. Chunjuan, from Harbin city, welcomed me to the nearest country-home inn. When I found I had to sleep with other three men, flesh close to flesh, on the same big bed, my heartbeat stopped for a second. Chunjuan understood my fear and told me his husband came too, and stayed in another room with bunk beds, and he could change his place with me. I was a little embarrassed to answer then. When the nightfall arrived, Chunjuan’s husband strongly asked me to change. In front of his forthrightness, my fear conquered my shame. I moved to his room and said hello to my new roommate, the German participant Sebastian.

Day 2 Oct 1st Foreign forum kicks off on National Day

Facing 60 participants with the great educational background and excellent English, I humbly handed off the English part of the host job to my outstanding partner. I just spoke Chinese.

There then appeared seven young venerables. Before they chose the monastic life, most of them were remarkable persons in worldly life. After the renunciation of the secular life, they stopped comparing who was smarter or gifted. They began to be competitive about compassion and wisdom. For example, Ven. Xianqing told us, when he was studying in Tsinghua University, he did a great job but was very unhappy; however, when he became a monk, he wasn’t one of the top students, but was so happy. Even more noteworthy was that, Ven. Xianqing didn’t tell one other venerable to lead participants to do meditation on the ceremony in advance. And I, as the host, knew nothing but was asked to introduce this venerable who was asked to lead meditation on the spot. She was very astonished too. At the closing ceremony, VenXianqing asked her to perpare a short speech, but later, nobody asked her to actually give it. This was exactly the Buddhism practice of Chan, which is rarely experienced. Even when impermanence happens in everyday life, you won’t take it as a lesson, right?

After the ceremony, all the participants chanted the English version of the Diamond Sutra, which I studied when I was a Master degree candidate. How time flies! So many incredible things took place! Two Dharma talks were given by two venerables. In the first one, I remembered two sentences: accept a situation as it is and act accordingly & that there are three kinds of laziness –Inertia, excuses, and escape. The second one came from Ven. Xiandi, whose face was just as smooth as soap. He shared that to work and rest with the same rhythm as the sun was so beautiful; it was a great relief from money problems when he had no money in his pocket; hard labor like cleaning the toilet really helped a man to understand others’ painstaking. With regard to his choice to be a monk, he said very lightly that he just couldn’t get used to the old lifestyle.

Keep good men company and you shall be of the number. There was a place for laity named “the Dwelling of Virtuous Dust”, as taken from The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, meaning that there were tremendous influences from the circumstances. I think wise men must know how to choose the surrounding to change his destiny.

I was too busy to attend the evening meditation class. Pity? Yes. But no attachment.

Tags:close contact, Sangha, Longquan Monastery, English translator

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