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China Adventure

Buddha Buddha Buddha Rockin Everywhere

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

So this week we've been learning a ton about Buddhism and Kung Fu. Now to be honest, I really didn't know much about Buddhism other than "karma" and the fact that Madonna is Buddhist. As many of the boys on the trip would say, "ooooh jeepers!"

So anyways, we met with a Monk and he pretty much told us everything there was to know about Buddhism, in a nut shell of course. The founder- he decides to meditate for nine years, umm let me repeat that NINE YEARS. I can hardly sit still in church for an hour and this guy goes and meditates for that long? That's commitment my friend.

I've learned three very importand things about Buddhism. Here we go:

1- Buddha is not their god, he's a role model. Often times people (including Buddhists) think that Buddha is someone that you worship, and that's not true at all. He's just a guy who really knows what he's doinga, kind of like a Saint for the Catholic religion. You see a bunch of statues at Saint Thomas of Saints that were role models, but you don't worship them. Same with Buddhism.

2- Kung Fu and Buddhism go hand in hand. Although there is a great deal of diversity in China with religion, the most commonly practiced martial art in China (Kung Fu of course) is tied in with Buddhism. So you know that guy I talked about earlier that meditated for nine cough cough NINE years? Well while he meditated he would get crampy and his feet would fall asleep, so he came up with a series of poses that would work out the kinks. Later these poses were turned into the martial art of Kung Fu.

3- I will never go Monk. Today we lived a day in the life of a Monk. So we got up at like 4:15 and went to Shaolin Temple (where we've been dropping by all week) to pray with the Monks. Fun fact: we woke the Rooster. We had to stand for an hour and bow sporadically while the Monks did this chant singing combo. Let me tell you, it was rough. They are very committed guys. Then we ate. So before all of this Mama Ping said that we had to eat everything on our plate cause it was disrespectful if you didn't. Well what we didn't know was that this food is (for lack of a better word) naaasty. I held up my fingers to signal "just a little!" But even a little for them is a big steaming pile of leaf guts accompanied by a bowl of milk with sugar in it and this bread that had more grease than a bowler's fine toothed comb. All in all not my favorite meal. But even after talking about all of my morning, I am surprisingly SO happy I got to. It was interesting to know and I've ruled it out as a career path, that along with being a food critic. Yikes!


So that's what I got (so far) on Buddhism. Really to be serious though, everyone should try going to a Buddhist prayer ceremony like this one. I really have never seen anything quite like it. It is very accepting and forgiving of everyone. Not to mention its kinda cool that rubbing a belly gives you good luck.

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2 comments:

Changing Connections said...

Your post is very insightful; you certainly have a way with making something complex simple. I like yur big 3 and how you make connections to familiar concepts: Budda is a role model, not God, not worshipped but imitated; Kung Fu and Buddhism are interconnected; and you have eliminated at least 2 potential career pathways.

RJ Stangherlin
PA DEN Leadership Council Blog Coordinator

Karen Wells said...

Really intersting connection between Buddhism and Kung Fu. Thanks for pointing this out. I learned something from your post. Don't rule out food critic. They don't always like what they eat. ( : Karen Wells DSA South Africa

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Essential Programs Details

Duration 15 days
When August 4th - 18th, 2009
Focus History/Culture
Martial Arts
Modern/Ancient Architecture