The Buddha Zen hotel is nestled within an area of Chengdu called Folk Town
consisting of traditional Chinese artisans interwoven within an intricate path
system. This was my chance to experience traditional Chinese culture. Wisely, I
had the kind woman at the front desk draw me a map with reference points for a safe return through the labyrinth of trails.
The large Buddhist Wen Shu Monastery in the north of town was my first destination, which has become a major tourist attraction in Chengdu. The monastery was built during the Sui Dynasty (605BC – 617BC) and fell in the flames of war during the Ming Dynasty. It was easy to spend the day there with in its luscious grounds.
One of the temples within it was so peaceful it drew me to sit and meditate upon a beautiful golden orange and red cushion; an embroidered pink lotus graced the surface. My cushion was one of a thousand. I was overcome with serenity and a feeling of connection to so many that have been here before.
It warmed my heart to see Chinese families and friends coming together in groups to share laughter and conversation in the central outdoor teahouse and the nooks and crannies on these artistic grounds. What a treasure to find this intimate space, revered by so many, set in such a populated country.
On my way back through Folk Town a sound of music drew me to a cultural
exchange with various theatrical and musical performances from many
different countries, the performers each dressed in their native garb. I stayed for as long as my legs would last! A desire to visit one of the tearooms China is well-known for prevailed. Note to self: when eating alone in China, order just one dish and abandon variety! There is just too much delicious food no matter how reasonably priced!
The next morning after a wonderful breakfast buffet I waited for my driver to come to take me to Fengzhong monastery on Emei Mt. I have to admit I wondered what my chances would be that he would find me.
It is times like this that give way to experiencing simple pleasures, like seeing a man approaching holding a pink umbrella imprinted with Chinese poodles holding a paper with “Patricia” written on it. 🙂
My next several-hour experience included a front seat car ride not for the faint of heart. The concepts of travel lanes were held loosely by this driver as he
hugging the center line. Then there was the folding in of the side mirror to squeeze between cars. Ah, yet another opportunity for Qi cultivation! It was never so crystal clear what were my choices and what they would yield. Nervousness or yield to powerlessness. So I used my mala bracelet and chanted the mantra as we drove down the highway at warp speed witnessing the subtleties of driving in China with so many cars up close and personal!
I was left with one question on that ride: how do you “live”- how do you trust in yourself, trust in the Universe – if you don’t take risks and experience life out of your comfort zone?
When do words become energetic reality?
While still contemplating, I arrived safely at Zhongfeng Ji monastery and was greeted warmly by caretaker, ZhongBo.
Immediately I was whisked to the porch, overlooking a pond, to meet a small group who attempted to communicate with me over tea. After trying many phone apps and placing a call to Grandmaster Fu I had procured a travel companion to guide me through the journey the next few days up Emei Mountain.