June 2017

Lessons learned from my recent trip to China to build on: My last full day in Shanghai, and China on Tuesday afternoon I was writing in my journal at Starbucks on W. Nanjing Road, when I kept thinking about traveling alone in China and not having a traveling companion, something that seems always the case. As I wrote the words just came… Your traveling companion is not intended to be another person. You travel as if unattended through time, but rest assured that you are being upheld. Live the life you are meant to become -be natural and unafraid. Be gentle with never a harsh word and let patience be your virtue. You are in no rush because you have already arrived. Again, let patience be your virtue. Let acts of patience be illustrated by your kindness towards others through virtue. There can be no rush to the virtue found inside yourself that you already possess. Do not allow weakness within yourself to cloud your virtue. Stay totally within yourself. Find the confines of what makes you happy wholly within you. Become the companion you want to be and this person will always be present. Let your own happiness be the sunshine that brightens every day.

Stand clear of antagonism – be the first to leave when contention appears and the first to stay when love arrives. Make your own perceived weaknesses your greatest strengths. Become the person others are looking to that soothes away fear and anger. Perhaps this Buddhist inclination on the trip is a signal to let go of self and that you stay within your own higher consciousness or enlightenment. Become a Buddha. Change yourself and change the world. Change yourself first – then change the world. Become or emulate the world the universe is counting on or looking to. Surround yourself with love and be happy with what you already have. Exemplify the person that you want the world to know and become.

Bring others to their highest endeavors, or selves – without judgment becoming the mentor they need. Be the companion they should have knowing selflessness, not one’s ego is all that survives. Live solely within the virtue that defines you. Enlightenment is the process of self-change leaving behind traits not in keeping with who you are ultimately to become.  If you come back to experience them – then use them to lose them.

Let virtue define you. It is not an either/or…You know the path you are to follow. Just do it leaving no one behind. Leave no one behind – not your family – not your students – not your friends – and not those waiting to be your friends. Become the road map for others to find the way for and within themselves. There is no choice to make. Live the choice you have become regardless of where you are. There is no paradox, only the paradigm you have chosen to follow.

If we want others to see beyond what they see as weaknesses in us – then we must first be able to see beyond what we perceive as the weakness we see in others. As we grow and mature, gaining wisdom and insight along the way – we must bring them along with us.  Remember your own virtue is tied to having patience for others while the world is catching up with you…

I have returned home from my trip to China (May 12-June 21), and after some difficulty, the details of the trip are here and complete. I could not do facebook in China, but we will attempt to move things from here to The Kongdan Foundation facebook page. I have done a travelogue with highlights of each city as I go.

Thursday, June 1st

Joy’s wedding and Jining Sports School and return to Qufu

Today I was honored as a guest at the traditional Chinese wedding of one of my Joy 1students, Joy (Han Tingting). The day began at the home of the bride about 7AM with fireworks and a small band playing outside her parent’s home. With many family and friends present Wang Guangliang made his way through the front gate with seeming great difficulty Joy 2provided by her friends. Only after providing several small red envelops (with money), was he allowed to enter. As he made his way in he again was only allowed into the house after more red Joy 3envelops. He then made it to her room where the door was closed and only after much cajoling was he able to see his bride. After many pictures and preparation, Joy was carried out of her house in Joy 4a chair back to the street where cars waited to carry them and the wedding party to the groom’s home in the countryside Joy 5where the festivities were to continue.

The actual wedding was conducted by an emcee outside in the courtyard of Wang’s parents’ home after he carried her from the car into their house. The bride first had to gain approval from the Joy 7groom’s parents. Then the wedding continued with an exchange of rings and a shared glass of wine and they were pronounced husband and wife by the emcee. Joy 6The final part was the giving of red envelops in the ceremony by family members and friends to the new couple. Afterwards a lunch was served to those in attendance and the festivities were Joy 9concluded. Pictured here at lunch are two of my other students Joy 8from Jining University (Ann and Sabrina) who were bride maids at the wedding.

Jining Sports School

After lunch, I went by car to Jining with Sabrina and Tom and visited the Jining Sports School that was the former Jining University. It’s now as if I have come full sports2circle. During one of my first visits to Jining in 1999 or 2001, I was shown a model of the new Jining University that was to be constructed in Qufu at the Planning Bureau in Jining. Construction was completed in 2006. This school is where I taught from 2011 to 2013. Now I’m back in Jining touring the Jining Sports School that trains students from the age of 11 to 18 in various sports to compete in events here in Shandong, nationally, sports1and if good enough the Olympics.  Students work in classrooms in the morning and athletics in the afternoon. They train to compete in judo, weight lifting, wrestling, track and field, fencing, volleyball, ping pong, and other sports. Sabrina was kind enough to give me a tour of the facility where she teaches and students as the practiced.

I was to stay in Jining until after the reunion with my students on Sunday. But my contact, Oreo, was asked by his school to do something tomorrow and Saturday, so I could not go as planned to his school in Jaxaing on Friday. I returned to Qufu tonight. I will return to Jining on Sunday for the reunion.

Thursday night, June 1 to Tuesday, June 6 in Qufu (with trip to Jining Sunday for reunion). Thursday through Sunday night stay with Mr. Ji. Monday, June 5th stay at Shangri La.  Monday afternoon, June 5th Young Artist Program with Jenny. Give Peter my proposal before leaving for Nanjing on Tuesday. Meet with Maria and Kong Tao.

Friday, June 2 and Saturday, June 3 were quiet and relaxing with many old friends, but busy planning day. I was limited due to having no internet connection until early afternoon on Friday afternoon I confirmed my reservations to go by plane from Nanjing to Chengdu for Friday, June 9 and for Monday, June 12 to fly from Chengdu to Lhasa with return on Thursday, June 15th to Chengdu. I spent the morning doing website entry (in Word to be moved to web page) for wedding and sports school yesterday and on Friday did the website entry. I then learned that my paperwork to go to Tibet had to be completed ten days in advance.  The tour group was only for four days and two of these were getting there and returning.  The total was going to cost about a thousand dollars. Not worth it. So I decided to stay two more days in Nanjing and more time in Chengdu. Plus add another city before returning to Shanghai and home. A couple days downtime is good. My friends here try to remind me that I am almost sixty-five. No Tibet… but maybe next time.

Sunday, June 4 I went to Jining for the reunion with my students at the Canal Mall and to highlight many of my activities in Jining, especially the Jining 1emphasis on the Jining Museum and its founding. Today was the final reunion of my students in Linyi, Qingdao, and now Jining. Hera’s baby and teaching elementary school. Iris teaching seventh grade, Hathaway and Gloria how much they liked teaching. Oreo, who joined the group later explained he had over one hundred Jining 2fifty students in two classes. He was the class monitor in several of my classes. His primary job was to keep a close eye on his foreign teacher (me). We became very good friends.  He likes the NBA in USA very much. We discussed school now four or five years later and how much they learned from my classes. Many students talked to the group during our conversation on WeChat in order to join the group. It was great connecting with my students and letting them know I am here for them.

As I mentioned earlier I have been coming to Jining since October, 1999. It Jining 3was during that visit during a luncheon banquet I mentioned a flying horse from the Han dynasty (about 200AD) that I could not get out of my mind. That it seemed to be close by. After lunch, we went a few miles out of the city and pulled up to what looked like an old shed. We got out and went to see what was in them and there were stone steele from the early Han that measured two by four feet. One was about six feet long depicting Confucius meeting Lao Tzu carved in stone. Afterwards Jining 5we went over to another small shed and they handed me a replica of the flying iron horse. It was then that I knew there was something to all this. While in Jining a few years later I visited the Jining Museum that is highlighted by the “Iron Pagoda”.

While I was teaching in 2012 in Qufu I returned to the Jining Museum with my good friend, Mr. Li Yizhong who had re-designed the museum. An addition had been made. The stone carved steele that I had first seen in 1999, had been re-located here to the museum. For myself, one of the great things about Jining 6studying the history of Jining, was that it was the halfway point of the Grand Canal that was more than a thousand miles long with most of the canal being dug by hand. The Grand Canal was fully completed under the second Sui emperor, from the years 604 to 609, first by linking Luoyang to the Yangzhou (and the Yangzi valley), then expanding it to Hangzhou on the south and to Beijing on the Jining 4north. The canal meant people from everywhere would focus here and create a unique cuisine, i.e., very good food. I often was able to visit historic sites not on the radar of tourists because of my interest in Chinese history and their desire to have others tell the story. Naturally the, Canal Mall, visited earlier today was paying tribute to the original Grand Canal.

After leaving my students at the bus station I returned to Qufu and was met by Tom , the friend of Sabrina at the B1 bus stop at Jining University here in Qufu,who brought me by car back to Mr. Li’s apartment.

 

Monday, June 5 – Move to Shangri La Hotel this morning. Talk to Katie and Marie. Talk to Chris about Shangri La and Sister Cities and to Maria, she reserved a ticket on fast train for me to go to Nanjing tomorrow. I met with KongTao and Peterthe General Manager of the Qufu Shangri La, Mr. Peter Qi and KongTao for coffee Monday afternoon about development in Qufu.

I took a taxi at 5:30 for 6 PM Sister Cities Young Artist presentation at the Shishang Training School. YA 7The Boynton Beach Sister Cities Committee and schools in Qufu have been doing the Young ArtistProgram every year since 2001. On behalf of the sister cities program, the Kongdan Foundation provided more than 800 RMB for prizes for first, second, third, and honorable mention. All students who YA 10participated received a small prize as well. The teacher for the school is Shi Zhiming. A guest artist was present, Mr. Kong Youqiang. The program was moderated by Jenny Jiang, a teacher at Qufu Number One Middle School (high school) who has helped to coordinate the Young Artist Program here in Qufu since 2006, while YA 6.jpgKongdan (me) handed out the certificates and awards. Next year we will have many more schools participating in the sister cities Young Artist Programs.  Over the years, students in Qufu and Boynton Beach have provided excellent artwork for judging. Some of those entries are as follows:

 

YA 1 YA 2 YA 3 ya-5.jpg YA 4 YA 9

Tuesday, June 6 to Sunday, June 11 in Nanjing with Odelette and other students.  On Tuesday morning, I checked out of the Shangri La in Qufu and Tom took me to the fast train station that left at 11 AM.  After a two-hour Nanjing 1train ride I arrived in Nanjing and went to Nanjing Sunflower International Youth Hostel. (reservations confirmed).  After taking taxi that could not find the address, with more help I found the hostel. It is in a great location in a walking district with many shops and the Nanjing 2Confucius Temple of Nanjing. Amazing that I would find Confucius first after leaving Qufu. He always seems to be looking over my shoulder. People don’t appreciate dragons like they should you know.

I spoke to Odelette after she got home from teaching school. I will have lunch tomorrow with her and her mother, who is a good friend, and two other students of mine who are now here in Nanjing. Odelette’s mother is a Christian minister and had a church in Zoucheng a few years ago. Now they are here with in Nanjing with her grandmother. She had heard about me (KongDan) and knew about the Daily Word while we were publishing it (2006-07) and my activities from ten or twelve years ago before we met in 2012. We are meeting tomorrow morning in front of the Confucius Temple that is a few blocks from my hostel. It’s about 8 PM time for an evening stroll.

Wednesday, June 7th

I met Julie at the Confucius Temple and we went to the School of Arts and Chinese culture where she is a teacher. The director Ms. Ren said they have kids from 3 to 16 attending their school that is on the 5th floor of a shopping Nanjing 5Mall. I had a long discussion with the piano teacher Tang Qiong, who also teaches urban planning at a local university. Afterwards we went to lunch to Odelette’s where I am treated like an old family friend who I have Nanjing 6known  for many years. We were joined at lunch by two of Odelette’s friends, Matthew and Michael. I think Odelette’s mother will join us tomorrow. We talked about a day-trip to Suzhou, but maybe it will be here at the Nanjing Museum.

After lunch Michael, Julie and I went to the Meiling Palace, the home of Nanjing 7Soong Mei Ling. She was a remarkable woman who played an instrumental role in world politics over a period of many decades. she was also known as Madame Chiang Kai-shek or Madame Chiang, was a Chinese political figure who was First Lady of the Republic of China and the wife of President Chiang Kai-shek President Chiang Kai-shek. Soong played a prominent role in the politics of the Republic of China and was the sister-in-law of Sun Yatsen, the founder and the leader of the Republic of China. She was active in the civic life of her country and held many honorary and active positions, including chairman of Fu Jen Catholic University.   During the Second Sino-Japanese War she rallied her people against the Japanese invasion and in 1942 conducted  a speaking tour of the Nanjing 8United States to gain support. She is pictured here with Gandhi in India. She was also the youngest and the last surviving of the three Soong sisters, and the only first lady during World War II who lived into the 21st century. Her life extended into three centuries. In the early days of the US/China People’s Friendship Association (USCPFA), an organization I was a member of for almost twenty years, she played an important role in cementing people-to-people contacts between USA and China.

Afterwards, Odelette, Michael and I went to the nearby Sun Yatsen Nanjing 9Mausoleum located at the Longshan Mountain National Park here in Nanjing. Dr. Sun was born in Guangdong province of China on 12 November 1866, and died in 1925 in Beijing, China He is considered to be the “Father of Modern China” Nanjing 10both in mainland China and in Taiwan, fought against the Qing government and after the 1911 Nanjing 11revolution ended the monarchy and founded the Republic of China. I especially liked the inscription over the entrance that reads, “The world belongs to all of us”.

We finished the day by going to dinner at the Lao Men Dong walking Nanjing 12district that sits adjacent to the ancient wall that surrounded the city. When the first Ming emperor was proclaimed in 1368, the name of the city was changed again to Yingtianfu (responding to heaven). A “new city” was built to the east of nanjing-13.jpgthe old one to be used as a new palace or “forbidden” city. The city was laid out in much the same pattern as Beijing and Qufu’s Confucius Mansion and Temple. Both served as patterns for Beijing’s Forbidden City.

Nanjing 14

The Donghua Gate

Thursday, June 8

The morning at 9:30 I met Odelette and her mother at the Confucius Temple and we spent the morning at the JiNing Buddhist Temple. When we Nanjing 15arrived, we were greeted by the artist, Li Tang. He is with the Research Institute of Chinese Traditional Art at Peking University in Beijing. Upon meeting, he gave me two books of his artwork. On one he signed the following:

To Mr. KongDan – To live a life with dhyana and deep meditation.

Yours Sincerely, Li Tang    2017.6.8

Nanjing 17The temple, which literally means “rooster crowing” was first constructed in 557 AD during the Liang dynasty and has been destroyed and reconstructed many times. The existing temple was initially constructed during the Ming dynasty during the reign of the Hongwu Emperor in 1387. It was destroyed during the Taiping Rebellion but was rebuilt later.

By 1931 most temple buildings had been appropriated as barracks by police and army of the National government of China. The main hall had been Nanjing 16emptied completely apart from the large Buddha statue. Only one hall, near the city wall was still being used for worship. The Nanjing 18temple remained popular primarily because of its tea house which was also situated in that hall.  The seven-story YaoShi Pagoda overlooks Xuanwu Lake. We had lunch at the Temple then left for the Nanjing Museum.

This is my third major museum I have visited in China. In May/June 2014, went to the Sichuan Museum in Chengdu and the Shanxi Museum in Xian. I have gone to smaller more local museums here over the years in Shandong, but it is the National, or provincial museums, that give more context and depth to historical figures, adding what was occurring from dynasty to dynasty and add what things were like at the time. My visits to Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist Temples are as much like going to a museum, as observing personal religious beliefs. Although, I feel infused by the sentiments of all three, my own core beliefs are centered around all three. Visiting all three serves to continually confirm what I have written over the past more than twenty years, and fine-tunes the journey I, we are here to take as living history. It’s not just walking through a museum seeing ancient artifacts. It’s reliving what was occurring at the time and visiting with old friends.

The Nanjing Museum was one of the first museums established in China. Nanjing 19The predecessor of the Nanjing Museum was the preparatory department of the National Central Museum was established in 1933. The museum took over 12.9 hectares (32 acres) in the Half Hill Garden of Zhongshan Gate. Cai Yuanpei, the first preparatory president of the Nanjing 20council of the museum, proposed building three major halls, named “Humanity,” “Craft” and “Nature”. Because of China’s political instability in the 1930’s, only the Humanity Hall was built. During the Japanese invasion, part of its collections were transferred to Southwest China, and in the end moved to the National Palace Museum in Taipei when the Kuomintang lost the Chinese Civil War.

I think the dynasty I most relate to is the Han dynasty. My earlier Nanjing 21explanation of finding the flying horse in Jining was indicative of this. During the Han dynasty, this area around present day Nanjing and Yangtze River was called Tiangsu and was the center of many feudal kingdoms. It was here that kings of the period constructed very ornate mausoleums for themselves. The mausoleums of the Western Han were mainly cliff tombs and vertical earth cliff tombs and those of the Eastern Han dynasty were mainly brick tombs. The artifacts Nanjing 29Nanjing 22and burial objects represented the concept of “treating the dead as the living.” The Nanjing Museum contains many of these artifacts that were located in nearby Xuzhou, Yangzhou, and other locations close by. There is a certain respect that is warranted when seeing these remnants of history that reflects man’s nature at the time. Nanjing 30Understanding the history of China is for me in large part in being present to the end. Afterwards we had dinner on Hunan Road, famous for dining in Nanjing.

Friday, June 9

I am alone here in Nanjing now until my departure on Sunday morning for Nanjing 27Chengdu. Katie and I are still having difficulty in opening the edit page on my website. If I cannot update and make entries, then she cannot move to face book… and no one can follow me. Today is more history and two sites of interest. Confirm with Megan in Chengdu my arrival on Sunday and that we will have dinner Sunday night. I will visit her school where she is a teacher while I am in Chengdu.

Ultimately, my role is as both a storyteller and teacher. I don’t always pick the subject; the subject sometimes picks me. While my greatest interest in China seems to be before the visit of Marco Polo in 1271 when he met Kublai Khan, there exists the need to comply with the rest of the story.  Saturday morning was no different. I went to Zhan Yuan Park that is dedicated to the Taiping Heavenly Movement, more commonly referred to Nanjing 23as the Taiping Rebellion. Understanding Chinese history is not just about the I Ching, the shaman, dynasties, museums, Confucius, and Buddhist and Taoist Temples, but also the five thousand years of evolution that makes China what it continues to evolve to become. The essence of that can be traced back to Ji Dan, the Duke of Zhou in 1000 BC, who was from Qufu, who formalized the Book of Rites which defined the rights of the individual. This was institutionalized over the centuries later with the benevolence of Confucius.   What occurred here in the 19th and 20th century in Nanjing did more to change and reshape China than anywhere, in my opinion. An example of what signaled the end of “old China” happened here. The 19th century up through the occupation by Japan in the 1930’s was epochal and Nanjing 24a period from which there was not return. What began in the 1930’s that led to 1949 and the beginning of the People’s Republic of China began here in Nanjing. The foreign powers, opium, the Boxer rebellion, and finally the founding of the Republic in 1912 and the end of the dynastic cycle had many seeds. But one was here in Nanjing, and through it you can see what was to be the future of China. It was here that I visited this morning in a place called Zhan Yuan Park – the Taiping Heavenly Movement, or more commonly called the Taiping Rebellion.

The combination of aggression by the foreign powers who wanted to create their own “spheres of influence” and weakness caused by a feudal examination system fueled only by China’s elite, meant the common man was left to fend for himself. Nanjing 26The garden that surrounds  the museum was once called the “Enthusiasm Garden” or “Zhan Garden” of the first ruler of the Ming Dynasty. Hongwu (1328-1398). In 1853, it became the residence of Yang Xiuqing, a military leader in the Taiping Rebellion. During the rebellion, Nanjing was captured by the rebels and used as its headquarters. They acquired large portions of land throughout China. At Beijing, the Qing Dynasty narrowly defeated the rebels in 1864, but it ended the war. One of the core values instilled by the Taiping Rebellion was the need for land reform and the end to the landlord system and need for distribution of land equally. The Taiping Rebellion provided valuable lessons and greatly influenced Sun Yetsin and the forming of the Republic in 1912. Something that would resonate with Mao a few years later. It is the complimentary opposites (found in the origins of the I Ching and Yellow Emperor from 2700 BC) that defines the role of those in control, and the people themselves, and pragmatism that defines China today.

Friday afternoon was back to the museum… in the form of the Oriental Metropolitan Museum  that focused on Six Dynasties (222–589), and is a collective term for six Chinese dynasties in China during the periods of the Three Kingdoms (220–280AD), Jin dynasty  (265–420), and Southern and Northern dynasties (420–589). It also coincides with the era of the Six Kingdoms (304-439). This era immediately followed the fall of the Han dynasty in 220 AD, and was an era of disunity, instability and warfare.

The six dynasties were the Easter Wu (222–280),Eastern Jin dynasty (317–420), Liu Song dynasty (420–479), Southern Qi (479–502), Liang dynasty (502–557), and Chen dynasty (557–589). They were an important era in the history of Chinese poetry, especially remarkable for its frank (for Classical Chinese poetry) descriptions of love and beauty. Especially important, and frequently translated into English, is the anthology New Songs from the Jade Terrace, compiled by Xu Ling (507-83), under the patronage of Crown Prince Xiao Gang (Later Emperor Jian Wen) of the Liang dynasty.

Nanjing 28

Murals from a tomb of Northern Qi dynasty (550-577 AD) in Jiuyuangang, Xinzhou, showing a rural hunting scene on horseback.

This was the first time in history that the political center of China was located in the south, with a surge in population and continual development of economy and culture, this transformed southern China from being remote territories to an economic center that could rival the north from the Tang dynasty onward. Buddhism, which first reached China during the Eastern Han dynasty, flourished in the Six Dynasties (and simultaneously in the Northern Dynasties) and has been a major religion in China ever since. This is not meant to be definitive, simply an overview for context and continuing the story. Friday afternoon I returned to the hostel to update and write new entries for my website from today. I did a load of laundry and researched my plans for tomorrow, my last full day in Nanjing. Sunday morning, I leave early for the airport and Chengdu.

Saturday, June 10

8 AM Today it appears as though it will rain heavily all day. It gives me pause to reflect on all this and my own role, and the seeming paradox I live. As if captured in time reflecting things past here in the Middle Kingdom, while absorbing them like a sponge as I acknowledge that I myself am one with it all. Not just as the storyteller, but providing the gist for my own story that will follow. The prevailing thought being… you don’t know where your life is going to turn, but you must look for guideposts as you are constantly reminded along the way. Where inclinations you follow lead to decisions you ultimately must make, as if a constant nudging propels you onward to the source of it all. It is as if the dragons, my peers, are close by waiting and asking what is taking me so long? The answer has always been present, only delayed. While they keep pushing me forward saying… it’s time, it’s time. As if all these historic sites I visit are only for the purpose of reminding me what I have always been,  seen and known, but forgotten. Once reminded, the past becomes the present and my future become ingrained in the path I must take. To stop telling the story and create what ultimately must become my own.

Letting go of attachments and who you think you are is always the hardest part. As you come closer to see the reflection of who you have always been and will return to be again. Moving beyond being simply the storyteller, to writing and telling my own story to its ultimate conclusion. Whatever answer that may exist, here in the present, it lies here in China as if I am re-tracing my own steps along the way.

It’s noon on Saturday and it is still pouring rain outside. They say this won’t end until about 8 PM tonight… The one piece of story (there are really many), that I intended to capture here is the Treaty of Nanjing

The Treaty of Nanking or Nanjing was a peace treaty which ended the First Opium Nanjing treatyWar (1839–42) between the United Kingdom and the Qing dynasty of China on 29 August 1842. It was the first of what the Chinese later called the unequal treaties on the ground that Britain had no obligations in return. In the wake of China’s military defeat, with British warships poised to attack Nanking, representatives from the British and Qing Empires negotiated on board HMS Cornwallis anchored at the city. On 29 August 1842, British and Qing representatives signed the treaty. It consisted of thirteen articles and was ratified by Queen Victoria and the Emperor nine months later. A copy of the treaty is kept by the British government while another copy is kept by the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

The fundamental purpose of the treaty was to change the framework of foreign trade imposed by the Canton System, which had been in force since 1760. Four additional “treaty ports” opened for foreign trade alongside Canton (now Guangzhou), where foreign merchants were to be allowed to trade with anyone they wished. Britain also gained the right to send consuls to the treaty ports, which were given the right to communicate directly with local Chinese officials.  A total sum of 21 million dollars was to be paid in installments over three years by the Chinese government.

The Qing government agreed to make Hong Kong Island a crown colony, ceding it to Nanjing spheresthe British Queen “in perpetuity”, to provide British traders with a harbor where they could “careen and refit their ships and keep stores for that purpose”. This was later amended so that Hong Kong would be transferred to back to China on July 1. 1997. This treaty and its aftermath was to foretell what would spell the end of dynastic rule in China seventy years later and the forming of the Republic of China.

I will have a vegetable pizza for lunch here in the hostel. This afternoon I need to finish my laundry and pack to leave early tomorrow morning for the airport and Chengdu. My flight from Nanjing to Chengdu is on Sichuan Airlines flight number 8924. Departure is at 11:50 AM and arrival in Chengdu is at 2:30 PM. I need to check out no later than 8 AM tomorrow morning. I am literally living history – re-tracing my steps along the Way

Sunday, June 11

I checked out of the hostel and made my way first to a taxi, then an airport shuttle for my 11:50 flight to Chengdu where I tentatively plan to stay until Wednesday or Thursday at  Flipflop Hostel. (reservations confirmed).

I arrived as hostel and contacted my student Megan I had arrived. We are to have dinner tonight. I later met her at 5:30 and we went to a Peking duck restaurant and had dinner. Megan was my student for many classes at Jining University. She graduated and I returned to USA after Spring semester 2013. She is now a kindergarten teacher here in Chengdu. I am to see two or three other students, Fay and Chrystal while I am in Chengdu. After dinner, we walked back to the hostel and I wondered what is was that made me so attracted to her. She is forty years younger than me and about the same age as my daughter Emily. Since we first met and learned she was from here in Chengdu, I felt something different about her. Later that night or early the next morning as I researched the places I would go on Monday; the answer came to me.

Monday, June 12

Marco Polo had been here in Chengdu more than 740 years ago. He or chengdu 1perhaps his father Niccolò or uncle, Maffeo, who traveled through Asia and met Kublai Khan had met a woman from Chengdu and she was one of the woman who returned to Italy with them. Perhaps I am an offspring, or descendant of the relationship. I have often wondered and spoke about why this connection to China runs so deeply inside me. That as I have studied and traveled in China for twenty years, my interest seems to wane after the time of Kublai Khan. It is always as if I am traveling in my own footsteps of where I have been before. Maybe the attraction I felt for my student Megan, was not so much directed to her, but she was meant to pull me back to Chengdu where all this would eventually become clear.

This is actually my third trip to Chengdu. I was here in 2007 with friends from Atlanta. While here we visited the Wenhu Monastery. chengdu monkI remember giving one of by books to a monk then,  and he in turn gave me a book on Buddhism. I returned here in June 2014 for two weeks to see Megan and visit many historical sites.  The one’s that stood out the most then were the chengdu 2Sichuan Museum, the Wuhou Temple (Memorial Temple of Marquis Wu) that is dedicated to Zhuge Liang, the Marquis Wu (Wuhou) of Kingdom of Shu in the The Kingdoms Period (220 – chengdu 3280).  Qingcheng Mountain and the Qingcheng Taoist Temple.  What strikes me now three years later with this revelation, is that all, even the ancestors of chengdu 4the nearby pandas would been seen by Marco Polo and his traveling companions.  As if all the more the thousand pictures I took were taken simply following my own footsteps from before and had been stored previously in my memories. Now here I am again and I realize that this infatuation with Megan was not with her, but it is as if her role is simply to wake me up to why I am here. The same as many people and signposts I have encountered before on this trip and others. That in reality almost everywhere I have been and things I have seen were here back in 1270 in the time of Marco Polo, except in Nanjing and a few others that add context to today’s story.

So here I am. It’s Monday morning, June 12 and as I fill my itinerary, my chengdu 5first stop is the Wenshu Buddhist Monastery I visited ten years ago. There is something about the quiet, peacefulness and tranquility here that I find very natural and appealing. Initially built in the Southern  Dynasty (420–589), Wenshu Monastery, is one of the most eminent Buddhist temple in Sichuan Province. Cultural relics are the highlights of Wenshu Monastery. Since the Tang (618–907) and Song dynasties (960–1279), over 500 pieces of painting and calligraphy by celebrities have been stored here. In the Sutra-Preservation Pavilion, many famous handwriting exhibits, paintings, and artwork have been restored. These precious works of art were created by renowned Chinese painters and calligraphers, including Zhang Daqian, Zheng Banqiao, and Feng Zikai. Besides these, among the millions of Buddhists sutra preserved in Cangjing Tower, the Apothecary and Diamond Sutra bestowed by Kangxi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty are of extreme research value.

As I am walking through the Temple taking more pictures I come to the monastery itself and decide to meditate inside for a while. I often do meditation and frequently visit the Buddhist Temple back home in Springfield. So, I went inside, removed my backpack and shoes and became quiet and still and tried to soak up the environment. Almost immediately a single thought came to mind… What am I going to do with what I know now? As if the universe was making its final call and the dragons are getting impatient. I got up, thought more about it and knew the day was meant for fasting, contemplation, and decisions.

I next went by taxi to Du Fu’s Thatched Cottage Museum and gardens. Du chengdu 7Fu’s Thatched Cottage is a 24-acre park and museum in honor  of the Tang dynasty poet Du Fu at the western  outskirts of Chengdu, adjacent to the Huanhua Xi (Flower Rinsing Creek). In 1961 the Chinese government established Du Fu Cao Tang as a National Heritage site. In 759 Du Fu moved to Chengdu, built a thatched hut near the Flower Rinsing Creek and lived there for four years. The “thatched hut” period was the peak of Du Fu’s creativity, during which he wrote two hundred and forty poems, chengdu 8among them “My Thatched Hut was torn apart by Autumn Wind” and “The Prime Minister of Shu”. As a writer myself, although humbled by those here I encchengdu-9.jpgcounter, I often visit the places where writers lived and try to see their impact on their times. Writing for myself, is as much reading and contemplation, as expressing our own thoughts. After over a month of traveling in China chengdu 10to five provinces and almost a dozen cities by bus, train, and by air; quiet contemplation as I continue this journey to discover the “what am I going to do now”, seems to predicate my every thought.

My next stop this morning is to . Located on the south bank of chengdu 11Jinjiang    River here in Chengdu, Wangjiang Pavilion (Wang Jiang Lou) that literally means ‘River Watching Tower’ in English. While Wuhou Temple mentioned above honors the legendary minister of Shu, Zhuge Liang, and Du Fu Cottage honors the Sage of Poetry, River Watching Tower (Wangjiang Tower) is dedicated to a woman, Xue Tao, a poet Chengdu 101in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Another writer who attained great notoriety and respect.  History records that she wrote five hundred poems. Once inside the park what gets your attention is the bamboo trees. Xue Tao loved bamboo; over 150 kinds of bamboo from China and abroad grow here in her honor.

I then went to the shopping area called the Kuan, Zhai, and Jing Alleys for lunch at Starbucks. Coffee and a couple crescent rolls. I then went by taxi to the South Train Station to buy my train ticket in advance for Wednesday’s travel to Chongqing. Afterwards I returned to the hostel to rest the rest of the day. Except that Monday night I got a text from Yongchun, my publisher in Beijing who wants to contact me because they may want me to do some translations for them. I also made my reservations in Shanghai for Friday through next Wednesday at the Shanghai MOUSSE International Hostel. I stayed one night here and moved to Wood and Rock International Hostel. It was much larger and more centrally located to People’s Square and places I wanted to see in Shanghai.

Tuesday, June 13

I woke up at 3 AM Tuesday morning to confirm something on my computer and maybe change my flight from Shanghai to Beijing on Friday and while opening my word document of my travels, I accidentally erased everything I has just written for Sunday and Monday here in Chengdu. I had to spend until 10:30 AM  and 3:30 PM adding pictures the next day redoing it… ouch. Then while trying to edit and add new content on my website, I somehow added the content to the title and blew everything up… We later attributed it to a wifi glitch, however what this meant was I could not make any entries on the website until after I returned home and contacted WordPress. This all basically consumed my whole day.  Except I had to set off to find ATM and People’s Park to commiserate.

Wednesday, June 14 leave for Chongqing until Friday then fly to Shanghai. I walked over to an area I was familiar with from my previous visit to find a Bank of China ATM. Then back to Flipflop Hostel and checked out. Today is another travel day and I took a taxi to the South Train Station. The taxi stand was on the opposite side of the building of departure area and the walk seemed like the equivalent of four football fields in length for no apparent reason. This was a fast train, so it only took a couple hours to get to Chongqing. Once there, the taxi stand had well over a hundred people in line, and few taxis… Once I got a taxi, he took me more than a mile from where I wanted to go in the pouring rain and dropped me off. I got another taxi once I had gotten directions and he took me to about four to five blocks and I had the pull my luggage, computer, etc, in the rain to my hostel on sixteenth floor of an office building. After finally checking in I just wanted to rest. I reviewed several locations Chong1for tomorrow and then walked with a student names Aaron from Nanjing to an area nearby called the Hongya Cave, a shopping area next to the Yangtze River. We got to the riverfront by taking an elevator from eleventh floor of an adjacent building.

Thursday, June 15     I seem to be following the Yangtze River for over a week now since leaving Qufu and arriving in Nanjing last Tuesday. From there it was a hop by plane to Chengdu, now a skip by train to Chongqing, and finally a jump by plane again to Shanghai, before heading home to USA next Wednesday. All at varying points along the river. There are five famous cities, these four plus Wuhan (where I visited in 2003 is what tells the real story of south-central China). Chongqing seems to go on forever, has a population of over thirty million and is considered the largest city in China. I only have a day to get a taste of it before heading to Shanghai tomorrow.

This morning Aaron and I headed a famous noodle restaurant called Flower Market and had bean with meat sauce and noodles soup for breakfast in a steady drizzle of rain that lasted throughout the day. Afterwards we went to the Arhat Buddhist Temple that was undergoing serious renovation. Chongqing Arhat Chong2Temple was built in the Zhi-Ping years of North Song Dynasty (1064-1067). Its primitive name was Zhiping Temple. In Qian-Long the 17th year of Qing Dynasty (1752), the front hall inside the temple collapsed and it was renovated into a Longshen (Dragon Deity) Shrine. During the Qing Dynasty (1885), a monk named Longfa rebuilt the temple. He built an Arhat Hall and made 500 clay sculptures of Arhat, and its name was officially changed into Arhat Temple. In 1942 during World War Two, the Arhat Temple was nearly destroyed. Fortunately, it was later repaired. During the Cultural RevolutionChong3, these clay sculptures were destroyed totally, but later restored. Many art treasures are collected in the Main Hall of  Chongqing Arhat Temple, including the statues of 16 Mahakasyapa-the 16 best students of Sakyamuni. There are also the bronze statues of the “Three Saints of the West” in Ming Dynasty, the  jade statue of Sakyamuni of Burma as well as the copy of the Indian mural about the story of Sakyamuni becoming a monk. I have now been to four Buddhist Temples on this trip, in Beijing, Nanjing, Chengdu, and now here in Chongqing. All are very unique and have contributed greatly to my own understanding of Buddhist influence on the history, religion, and culture of China.

Chong4Next it was to the Three Gorges Dam Museum, also known as Chongqing Museum situated opposite to the Chongqing People’s Assembly Hall, where Aaron and I were to visit next.  It is the largest museum for the preservation, education, scientific research in respect of  cultural relics and the natural environment of Chongqing and the Three Gorges area. What Chong5I found most interesting was information about the ancient Ba- Yu civilization of Chongqing and origin of the more than 3,000 years of history by showcasing cultural heritages in the Stone Age and Bronze Age, and sculptures from the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD).

In what reminded me of Epcot at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, was the 360  cinema for the Three Gorges that mainly shows the natural and social impacts Chong6of the Three Gorges prior to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. It gave me an idea of places I want to come again to Chongqing to see.

We briefly stopped at the Chongqing People’s Assembly Hall, located on Renmin Road in Chong7downtown Chongqing. It is a city landmark and one of the ten cultural symbols of Chongqing. The hall complex is a cluster of attached structures including the hall and three attached buildings respectively to the east, south and north. Collectively, they cover 16.3 acres, the hall is 213 feet high, and has a capacity of Chong9more than 4,000 seats. The hall has received more than a hundred of China’s national leaders and official dignitaries from other countries.  It is mainly in the style of the Ming (1368-1644) and the Qing Dynasty (1616 – 1911), combined with western architectural style. On display was the work of local artists that I also enjoyed.

In the continuing rain, we headed by the metro to the Porcelain Village, also known as Ci Qi Kuo for lunch. What appears to be just a very long alley with hundreds of shops with what seemed like hundreds of umbrellas protecting people Chong10from the rain was a great deal more. The history of Ci Qi Kou can be traced back for more than 1,700 years. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911), it was famous for its production of porcelain. To date, over twenty old kiln sites have been discovered. It is because of the importance of the porcelain industry that the name has been changed from Long Yin to Ci Qi Kou which is translated as Porcelain Village.  Moreover, the village was Chong11an important supply post for shipping on the river, a fact that explains why there are so many shops lining the twelve lanes paved with their large flag stones that form the main routes. There are also many tea shops and restaurants to show something of a way of life that has existed here for so many centuries. The three notable attractions of the village are the tea bars, the artists’ studios and the Shu Embroidery workshops.

Finally, it was back to the Central Business District (CBD) and the hostel. One more Chong12historic  site close by meant we had to go just a few blocks away for a picture. In 1940, the Republic of China government in Chongqing built a wooden memorial at the site to commemorate Sun Yet-Sen who was the first president of the Republic of China and was considered the “Father of China”, who I covered in Nanjing. In 1945, the Republic of China government built a monument in its place to celebrate the victory in WWII. And in 1950, the People’s Republic of China government named the monument. In 1997, the Jiefangbei Plaza was built around the monument. At the time of construction, it was the tallest structure in the area. Now its dwarfed by skyscrapers. I am very tired this evening… Aaron leaves tonight for Nanjing where he is graduating next week with his PhD in meteorology. Good luck and thanks for your kind assistance in Chongqing.

Friday, June 16     Friday morning, I confirmed with Gloria in Shanghai the metro line I need to take to get to my hostel. (Red line #2 to People’s Square – then Green line to Huangpi Road). I re-confirmed my flight to Shanghai does not leave until 3:15 PM. I won’t leave for airport until noon. I had planned to go to the Stillwell Memorial this morning, but it is raining outside and it’s not convenient to go alone. Taxi to airport was 50 RMB. I called Gloria once I arrive at airport in Shanghai and decided to brave the dreaded Shanghai subway. What should have taken about an hour took over twice as long. It being Friday night and me not knowing Chinese was not a good mix. Once I arrived at People’s Square I got a taxi to an intersection close to the hostel, and Gloria showed me the way to the alley where it was located. Alone I would not have found it in the dark. I stayed one night and moved Saturday morning to another hostel, the Shanghai Rock and Wood Hostel Saturday morning.

Saturday, June 17 I got up and walked to Fu Xing Park to rest and plan what I would Shang1do here in Shanghai before leaving on Wednesday. The neighborhood around the park reminds Shang2me how much I like the laid back feeling you get here, versus the structure of Beijing. I am constantly amazed at how much China, and especially Shanghai, has changed since my first trip to Shanghai in October 1999, eighteen years ago. I have been here many times and seen the Bund, shopped on East Nanjing Road, Shang3and to the Yu Garden built during the Ming dynasty in Old Town, that is supposed to emulate old China. I remember a sister citShang4y trip shortly after 9/11 in 2001 and a visit to the top of the Space Needle. They had a bouquet of flowers next to the elevator commemorating the victims. In 2005, I was there again on East Nanjing Road with my friend Mr. Zhang and his daughter Amy from Qufu. Mr. Shang5Zhang and I were partners in a joint venture shopping center in Qufu for a few years. While the Vice-Director of the Religious Affairs Department for the City of Qufu, his office coordinated my printing of the Daily Word through the KongDan Foundation for two years. (2006-07) I was here again in October 2010 with Chris Francois and others for the Shanghai World Expo.

I am here coming to the end of a long, almost forty-day sojourn through my times here, and find as I always do my friends not asking if I am coming back, but only when. The question seems an eternal one. If only she would appear so that the decision could be made much easier. After all these years it seems if she was going to, she would have by now. Perhaps she never will, or has been here all the while… looking for me as well.

I do have to admit I am tired of lugging that heavy over-packed suitcase around. Not today, but before I leave there are three or four places I want to see before leaving Shanghai. Also, Gloria will be unavailable tomorrow and I have dinner Monday night with another of my students here in Shanghai named Sherlock. I spent the day at the hostel proof-reading the draft of a book to be published in Beijing and just recuperating from my long trip. Tomorrow I will see some sites in Shanghai. Due to problems with website, it’s been on hold now for a couple weeks. They say others can see it, just not me. So, there has been no updates on face book since then. I am debating rather to end face book altogether and focus only on The KongDan Foundation website when I have returned home…

Sunday, June 18

Sunday morning, I headed off to Yu Garden and Old Town where I planned to visit, plus the Bund and Space Needle again (all nearby), but had difficulties with camera (I think it’s tired as well). After fixing the camera, I returned to People’s Park where Shang6the Shanghai Museum is located and spent most of the afternoon at the museum. I liked this museum a lot. It had a great Shang7deal of pottery and bronze from the Xia dynasty forward through the Han, to the Song and Tang dynasties that were very helpful. Their collection of Buddhist artifacts from various eras was very good. The museum has a collection of over 120,000 pieces, including  and art. The Shanghai Museum houses several items of national importance, including one of three extant specimens of a “transparent” bronze mirror from the Han dynasty.

Shang8After I left the Shanghai Museum I walked through People’s Park and came across a Starbucks. I thought the juxtaposition between traveling down the centuries through pottery, jade, bronze, calligraphy, and Tang furniture, to somehow end up at Starbucks was a little strange. But, this being Shanghai where the old and new seem to flourish side by side, seems appropriate. While at Starbucks my caricature was done by a local artist. Somehow it seemed appropriate. Although, I thought he exaggerated my beard just a little.

I went back to the hostel and confirmed that I was having dinner with Patrick tomorrow night. He will let me know the place and I will meet him there. I also spoke to Gloria and we will meet after 4:30 Tuesday evening.

Monday, June 19

It is raining today… I went out this morning to the Jade Buddhist Temple with plans Shang11to go to several other locations today and tomorrow, Shang12but returned to the hostel afterwards as the rain seems to be here all day. In 1882, an old temple was built to keep two jade Buddha statues which had been brought from Burma by a monk named Huigen. The temple was destroyed during the revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty. Fortunately, the statues were saved and a new temple was built on the present site in 1928.  It was named the Jade Buddha Temple.

As with many modern Chinese Buddhist temples, the current temple draws from Shang13both the Pure Land and Chan traditions of Mahayana Buddhism. It was founded in 1882 with two jade Buddha statues imported to Shanghai from Burma by sea. These were a sitting Buddha (1.95 meters tall weighing three tons), and a smaller reclining Buddha representing the Buddha’s death. The temple now also contains a much larger reclining Buddha made of marble, donated from Singapore, and visitors may mistake this larger sculpture for the original, smaller piece. It seems my focus, although unintentional, has been mostly on Buddhism this trip based on the number of Buddhist Temples and pictures I have taken in museums, plus my original intention of going to Tibet that was cancelled.

It is almost 1 PM, and the rain does not seem to be letting up. The forecast is for this to continue all week. If it does let up I hope to see the following place before leaving for the airport and home about 11 AM Wednesday morning. The Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center next to People’s Square, the Shanghai Confucius Temple, Xin Tian Di, and the Dajing Ge Pavilion. With it raining like this it is as much getting there by taxi and back that is the problem. I spoke to Gloria, if it is not raining too much, she will join me at Old Town tomorrow after class.

Well, after all that I decided to head for Yu Garden andShang14 Old Town. I went shopping and found something for Katie and Marie so I won’t have to worry about it tomorrow in the rain again in case Shang15Gloria can’t join me. Afterwards I met Sherlock (now Patrick) at Shanghai Times Square at the Deli and Leisure Restaurant. Patrick was a student of mine at Jining University. He is now a post-graduate student here in Shanghai.

Tuesday, June 20

I began the day in meditation and wondering why I have focused so heavily of Buddhist Temples and Buddhist images at the museums I have gone to on this trip. Even my planned, yet aborted, trip to Tibet that was later canceled. This thought kept going through my mind, as after I did my last load of laundry and hanging them to dry before heading back to USA tomorrow, I prepared to leave for People’s Square for the day. My first stop was Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall. I have Shang16wanted to come here for a long time. I was a city planner for all of what would be my professional life, before coming to China in 2005, when I left the City of Boynton Beach. My planning career began in 1979 when I was on the Urban Affairs Committee in the Missouri House of Represe ntatives. I then became a community organizer which led to a master plan for a westside neighborhood in Springfield and later my becoming the Planning Director for the City of Fall River, Massachusetts. Then finally an urban planner and neighborhood specialist for Boynton Beach, Florida. Over that twenty-five year period, developing master plans and focusing on neighborhood revitalization was Shang17always my forte. Over the years of coming to China, seeing China with both a prospective of change in the 21st century as an urban and regional planner, and Chinese Shang18history, has always been at the forefront as to how I see things. How to not lose who you have been, while preparing for the change that must occur. It is personal and as if the I Ching is truly in play. Shanghai is truly an incredible city. It is no accident that the Shang19Shanghai Museum and the Urban Planning Hall sit side-by-side here in People’s Square. Both deserve great credit for telling the story of the past, present, and Shang20perceived future of what many call the largest city in the world. Chongqing, my last stop may be larger, but is a combination of many municipalities combined as one urban city. Shanghai is different. In many ways Shanghai has always been China’s portal to the world.

On an earlier stop of this trip I went into great detail about the 1842 Treaty of Nanjing. No other act had greater consequences of what Shanghai was to later become. The concessions to the foreign powers that was to create the Bund here in Shanghai and bring in foreign influence changed China forever. This is depicted extremely well in the Urban Planning Hall. Pictures do tell the story and here they have portrayed Shanghai as a well-design city of the world. You can see, feel, and taste this truism everywhere at every turn. I am not in Shandong anymore… Ending in Shanghai reflects a new beginning in understanding China and my love for this country, it’s history, and its people.

Ultimately, this forty day journey around China has been about transcending time and place. Seeing things through the prism of how changes change from their beginning, while maintaining the truism of who both they, and you have always been, are now, and will be again. It is history that tell us. Not only of what lies outside us, but more importantly, what has influenced us over time, and what represents our eternal essence. Shang10Of who we have always been and our source. Looking for it outside ourselves is as if we are looking for that traveling companion that will show us the way. But they never appear., except in meditation and our mind and thoughts clear.

There are always those who appear as guideposts as we get closer, but need a gentle push. When we are on the right path, they always appear, although fleetingly. As if, once their role is done, they too move on as well. While the shaman, the Tao, Lao and Chuang Tzu, Confucius all have a role, it seems the overreaching connecting point to the universe, standing with them all, is Buddhism. All have been to the mountaintop and gazed at the stars in wonderment. All seemed to connect the dots (stars), and bring a sense of universal love and connectedness that would rise above the others. The world is a far better place because of them and others, we should feel indebted to them all.

Of the five Buddhist Temples I visited, initial thoughts from three stand out. First, in Nanjing 18Nanjing, at the JiNing Buddhist Temple and meeting the painter and his Buddhist message to me: To Mr. KongDan – To live a life with Dhyana (Zen Shu or “dhyana sect” teaches the short method of making truth apparent chengdu 5by one’s own thought, apart from your writings) and deep meditation. This from Mr. Li Tang on June 8th. Secondly, in Chengdu at the Wenhu Temple on June 12, I went inside the monastery, became quiet and still and almost immediately a single thought came to mind… What am I going to do Chong3with what I know now? As if the universe was making its final call and the dragons are getting impatient. I got up, thought more about it and knew the day was meant for fasting, contemplation, Buddha5and decisions. And then third, yesterday here in Shanghai after a visit to the Jade Buddhist Temple on June 19th it became clear. (the other two being the Lama Temple in Beijing and the Chongqing Arhat Buddha4Temple).

 

 Tuesday afternoon I was writing in my journal at McDonald’s on W Nanjing Road when I kept thinking about traveling alone in China and not having a traveling companion, something that seems always the case. As I wrote the words just came… Your traveling companion is not intended to be another person. You travel as if unattended through time, but rest assured that you are being upheld. Live the life you are meant to become -be natural and unafraid. Be gentle with never a harsh word and let patience be your virtue. You are in no rush because you have already arrived. Again, let patience be your virtue. Let acts of patience be illustrated by your kindness towards others through virtue. There can be no rush to the virtue found inside yourself that you already possess. Do not allow weakness within yourself to cloud your virtue. Stay totally within yourself. Find the confines of what makes you happy wholly within you. Become the companion you want to be and this person will always be present. Let your own happiness be the sunshine that brightens every day.

Stand clear of antagonism – be the first to leave when contention appears and the first to stay when love arrives. Make your own perceived weaknesses your greatest strengths. Become the person others are looking to that soothes away fear and anger. Perhaps this Buddhist inclination on the trip is a signal to let go of self and that you stay within your own higher consciousness or enlightenment. Become a Buddha. Change yourself and change the world. Change yourself first – then change the world. Become or emulate the world the universe is counting on or looking to. Surround yourself with love and be happy with what you already have. Exemplify the person that you want the world to become.

Bring others to their highest endeavors, or selves – without judgment becoming the mentor they need. Be the companion they should have knowing selflessness, not one’s ego is that survives. Live solely within the virtue that defines you. Enlightenment is the process of self-change leaving behind traits not in keeping with who you are ultimately to become.  If you come back to experience them – then use them to lose them.

Let virtue define you. It is not an either/or…You know the path you are to follow. Just do it leaving no one behind. Leave no one behind – not your family – not your students – not your friends – and not those waiting to be your friends. Become the road map for others to find the way for and within themselves. There is no choice to make. Live the choice you have become regardless of where you are. There is no paradox, only the paradigm you have chosen to follow.

If we want others to see beyond what they see as weaknesses in us – then we must first be able to see beyond what we perceive as the weakness we see in others. As we grow and mature, gaining wisdom and insight along the way – we must bring them along with us.  Remember your own virtue is tied to having patience for others while the world is  catching up with you…

Wednesday, June 21 My last day in China and trip home.

 I got up early, got my laundry off the clothes line and finished packing to check out this morning. I had yogurt and fruit for breakfast and finished typing my thoughts from yesterday. Gloria came at 10:450 AM to escort me to the metro and point me in the direction of the airport.

 

 

 

By 1dandecarlo

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