While I leave in the morning for Tibet, I always have a sense of melancholy as I leave Chengdu… until planning my next visit. My writing and pictures I take always brings me back though. There is something here in Chengdu about thousands of years where the development of the symbiotic relationship between man (yourself), nature, and spirituality that is empowering. It comes and remains as if guiding you to your highest endeavor. You just are… nothing more – nothing less. Almost beyond definition. For myself, the presence of thousands of years of Buddhism and Taoism is everywhere. You don’t have to see it – you feel it because you are one with it.
It seems to be a haven for retirees where you can easily live within your means. There is a rhythm here to this connection. A certain calm and peacefulness. As if you’ve arrived someplace you’re not sure of quite yet, but you can feel it in the air. It’s easy to become one with it. You get further into it by adapting to the local tea culture that is so prevalent here. Tea houses seem to be everywhere. Just as the tea seeps into the water creating a certain taste, the environment does the same to you (or does for me). You are like a sponge… with no pre-determined agenda or place to be. You just are – with nothing beyond the moment. A presence you feel that becomes you. Or as my friend Lao Tzu would say, you become one with nothing and nothing becomes you. The sanctuary your inner self searches for and wants to create wherever you are – you are then at home because you have found your source that is eternal that resides within each of us. Many others you meet here have this same feeling that creates a community like none I have ever known. That presence, i.e., oneness is here so that once you are a part of… you want to stay. It is the convergence of Chinese spirituality I have been feeling this whole trip that seems to culminate here in Chengdu. As if this was my ending of one phase… as I prepare to leave early tomorrow morning for Lhasa, and Tibet.
Today in Chengdu its raining, windy, and very cool. Not a good day to venture outside for long. Heavy overcast made taking pictures a challenge as everything has a solid white background. I found myself going to the Buddhist Wenshu Monastery where I have been before to take more pictures. I have some notes and background on the importance in southwest China of this Buddhist monastery I want to add later… for now a few of the pictures I took this morning are below. People often ask me “why so many pictures when you have been here before.” I tell them, “they remind me of where I have been and tell me the path I have yet to travel.”
If it clears up this afternoon (stops raining), I want to visit another famous tea house called Gu Niang Niang Miao. We’ll see… well, taxi drivers have a mind of their own and I ended up at Guang Sheng Palace Ancient Niangnian Taoist Temple of Shu Han… sort of a tea house with Taoist overtones. Who knows, maybe it was fate. I had a cup of tea and spoke to some of those who were there. Getting a taxi later was impossible.
Three images below from the “Taoist coffee house”.