Buddhism in China

(This tab is under construction. I have many locations and pictures to add from museums and monasteries with Buddhist artifacts from around China that I have visited. All pictures depicted here were taken by myself in my travels throughout China).

June 2015 Trip to Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian

Any discussion of how Buddhism came to China starts in Xian.

Tuesday afternoon I decided to try to see the Little Wild Goose Pagoda.  I walked DSCI0059following the map and directions of people along the way and finally arrived, but as fate would have it, it was closed on Tuesdays. Luckily a couple from Germany arrived about the same time and together we decided to find our way by bus to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda instead. One of them had an IPhone with map of Xi’an and bus routes. I found that very interesting. He found the bus and it came by our street in a few minutes and we arrived at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda about fifteen minutes later. After we arrived we went separate ways, but another example of people coming into my life at just the moment I need help.

The Big Wild Goose Buddhist Pagoda is located in southern Xi’an, Shaanxi province, DSCI0054China. It was built in 652 during the Tang Dynasty and originally had five stories, although the structure was rebuilt in 704 during the reign of Empress Wu Zetian and its exterior brick facade was renovated during the Ming Dynasty. One of the pagoda’s many functions was to hold sutras and figurines of the Buddhas that were  brought to China from India by the Buddhist translator and traveler Zuanzang. Xuanzang started off from Chang’an (the ancient Xian), along the Silk Road and finally arrived in India, the cradle of Buddhism.  Over the next seventeen years he obtained Buddha figures, 657 kinds of sutras, and several Buddha relics. Having gotten the permission of Emperor Gaozong (628-683), Xuanzang, as the first abbot of Daci’en Temple, supervised the building of a pagoda inside it. With the support DSCI0108of royalty, he asked 50 hierarchs into the temple to translate Sanskrit in sutras into Chinese, totaling 1,335 volumes. Today, I am simply taking as many pictures as possible and getting “feel” for this place of such great DSCI0169influence on what would come to be known a Chinese or “chan” Buddhism and later Zen in Japan.  What I am mostly interested at this point is how Buddhism arrived in Xian from both the Silk Road and coming up from the southwest in Sichuan and Chengdu where I had just been a week earlier. The continuing moderating influence of Taoism as Buddhism became popular is significant. Also the power and influence of Buddhism here in the ancient capital that led to its lessening of influence in China is also of interest for further research and study. I left about 6 PM with almost 200 pictures and many more questions than when I arrived. Pictures from the Big Wild Goose Pagoda follows:















May/June 2015 Trip to Shaanxi History Museum in Xian

When I got back to hostel I checked on tour to terracotta warriors for tomorrow and they were sold out.  So my plans changed I would do the  Shaanxi Museum andTemple to the Eight Immortals tomorrow and terracotta warriors on Thursday. I don’t need to leave for the airport until almost 8PM for my 11PM flight to Beijing so that should work. I did buy by ticket (265RMB) for the Thursday tour to the terracotta though. I would spend the evening doing as I did every night charging both batteries for the camera for the next day and the Shaanxi History Museum, where I plan to take many pictures…






















May 2017 Trip to Lama Buddhist Temple in Beijing

Early Sunday morning after checking out of my hotel, (May 14) I made my way to Lama Temple. If you only have time for one temple in Beijing make it this one, where roofs, fabulous frescoes, arches, tapestries,  Tibetanlama 2.jpg prayer wheels, tantric statues mingle with dense clouds of incense. This weekendLama 1.jpg morning as no exception. When you arrive you are handed incense and are encouraged to use it. This is the most renowned Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet, the Lama Temple was converted to a lamasery in 1744 after serving as the former residence of Emperor Yong Zheng. I will be travelling to Tibet next month, so I will see much more on Buddhism then.

I have to leave early Sunday afternoon to get to the train station to go to Qufu this evening. Traffic in Beijing in tied up due to a governmental conference and many roads to closed. As if traffic isn’t bad enough. My next post will be a follow-up to the Lama Temple visit this morning then it’s on to Qufu.

I have often talked about the influence of Confucius, Taoism and Buddhism here on FB, 105_2902but now still in Beijing having gone to the Lama Temple I think I should talk a little more about Buddhism, especially since over the next few weeks Confucius will take center stage. It was inspiring to see so many people worshiping at the Lama Temple here in Beijing. In what is not meant to be definitive by any means, it is following what is known as the “Eight Fold Path” that focuses on three things that begins to move a person in the right direction and gain appreciation for Buddhist thought. Many people feel we can follow another religion and still live a life adhering to these principles.  Those three are right speech, right action, and right livelihood.

We all live in one world. When on the path, it becomes a thoughtful world acting as if vibrations of energy. Our words we speak serve as a blanket for those people around us. As if saying words of loving kindness through the power of our tongue. It is important that as we give right speech, we remember the good and harm we can cause by thinking first. Think – Is it true, helpful, important, kind, and necessary. That we travel on a journey not concerned with the destination. With this we walk in a centered way. It is important105_2893 that we treat ourselves with loving kindness and know the value of right speech. With this we can begin to understand the ultimate nature of reality by speaking with integrity and truth. We become an observer of those around us and our environment and speak with words of appreciation. Our role becomes one not to add to negative or bad energy. That we are here to uplift the world.

How do we do this, through right action. By doing no harm and understanding the laws of karma, i.e., the measure we give is what we get. It is not enough to know the truth, you have to begin by having control over your dominion. Staying aware as if called to a higher path and practicing consciousness. We make the right choices as if witnessing our own actions. We do this through service to others. We find ourselves in the right livelihood that helps to train us to be in conscious awareness and live through loving kindness. Additional pictures from the Lama Buddhist Temple in Beijing:



The above description is very tentative and brief as a prelude to what will come later on this journey. The next two weeks will be spent in Qufu with the focus on Confucius and my students as I travel around Shandong province before going to Nanjing, an earlier capital of China… stay tuned. I need more pictures from museums here in Beijing as well.

June 2017 Trip to JiNing Buddhist Temple in Nanjing

Nanjing RoosterThe morning at 9:30 I met Odelette and her mother at the Confucius Temple and we spent the morning at the JiNing Buddhist Temple. To the left is the opening along the wall Nanjing 17of the city to the temple. The 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. When we arrived, 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 Nanjing 15and deep meditation.

Yours Sincerely, Li Tang    2017.6.8

Nanjing 18By 1931 most temple buildings had been appropriated as barracks by police and army of the National government of China. Nanjing 16The main hall had been emptied completely apart from the large Buddha statue. Only one hall, near the city wall was still being used for worship. The temple 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.

Additional pictures of the JiNing Buddhist Temple:

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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.

The Nanjing Museum contains many historic and Buddhist artifacts covering thousands of years. A few of them are shown below that represent Nanjing’s Buddhist past:

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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 (220–280 AD), 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.

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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.

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May/June 2015 Trip to Wenshu Buddhist Monastery in Chengdu

This is actually my third trip to Chengdu. I was here in 2007 with friends from Atlanta. While here we visited the Wenshu Buddhist Monasterychengdu 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 – 280).  Qingcheng Mountain and the Qingcheng Taoist Temple.

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 100_4249artwork 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.

Pictures from Wenshu Buddhist Monastery:

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An incident in Chengdu that further defines Buddhism in everyday life…

In June 2015 while in Chengdu I was standing in a shopping center next to a Buddhist monk who appeared to be in his mid forties and as I watched him I noticed that he had solved this paradox of living in parallel worlds.   In one hand he had a strand of prayer beads that he was constantly revolving from one bead to the next with his thumb never stopping. In his other hand he was holding an item to purchase and conversing with the salesclerk whether to purchase or not. It was as if he was spending time in both worlds simultaneously.  He had appeared to have mastered this idea of being “in your world, but not of your world, i.e., the world as others knew it”. Three days later on the metro I was again standing next to a Buddhist monk as he too had prayer beads revolving in his hand as he moved his thumb continually from one bead to the next as if unaware of life as it swirled around him. Chengdu and Sichuan Province has been the center of the Buddhist/Taoist world in a continuum of over two thousand years.  It was at this moment I understood why I was drawn to come to Chengdu.  I think the paradigm shift here is what I have always craved is finding a place where there is no contention present, but where history, Buddhism and Taoism are found.  Where I can truly find and be myself. That the more I have sit in meditation over the years, I find that to find the emptiness that fills my soul I must first go back to the beginning, just as the I Ching always has said and dictates.

May/June 2015 Trip to Chengdu and Wuhou Shrine 

Wuhou Shrine (Memorial Temple of Marquis Wu) dedicated to Zhuge Liang, the Martial Marquis of Shu in the Three Kingdoms Period.

There is a certain consistency, or compatibility, between Taoism and Buddhism that is somehow hard to identify or explain, but easy simply to feel. In Chengdu its like the air you breathe and becomes an extension of who you are. There’s a comforting sense you get, especially from the tea culture here and tea houses that seem to be in every park you find.

It was a bright sunny day and hard to get camera angles at times but still got some great pictures. Located in the south suburb of Chengdu, the temple was initially built in 223 AD next to the temple of  Liu Bei, the emperor of Shu. It was combined with the Temple of Liu Bei at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty; consequently, the entrance plaque reads ‘Zhaolie Temple of Han Dynasty‘ (Zhaolie is the posthumous title of Liu Bei). The current temple was rebuilt in 1672.

Dragon on wall outside entrance to Wuhou Temple

 The most valuable cultural relic within the temple is the stele set up in 809 AD. This huge stele 367-centimeter (144-inch) high and 95-centimeter (37-inch) wide is called the Triple-Success Stele. The three successes are: an article written by Pei Du, a famous minister of the Tang Dynasty who served four emperors in succession, calligraphy by Liu Gongquan, one of the most brilliant calligraphers in Chinese history, and a statement about the morality and achievements of Zhuge Liang.

On a side note I have been the the home of Liu Gongquan, in Linyi, in Shandong Province DSCI0297that is a couple hours by train south of Qufu. Surrounded by old cypresses and classical red walls, it evokes nostalgia and times gone by. The main body of the temple is divided into five sections, the Gate, the second Gate, the Hall of Liu Bei, the corridor, and the Hall of Zhuge Liang, all of which run south to north. Inside, stone carvings and clay sculptures of Shu Emperor and ministers stand or sit together, making them a special feature.

The Buddhist artifacts here are numerous. Some of them are as follows:

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May/June 2015 Trip to Chengdu and the Sichuan Museum

I had gone to a camera shop and bought an extra battery which came in handy on Tuesday afternoon when I took taxi to the Sichuan Museum. It was certainly a highlight of my visit to Chengdu. I took a total of 467 pictures at the museum.  It was an awesome trip.  Things I had studied and read about for thirty years were now just inches away as I went through the museum.  At the time I was still in this “I’ll be here until August mode” and with free admission I planned to spend a lot of time here over the next several weeks.  Of course that did not happen. Just as with museum in Xian I was to visit a couple weeks later, the things I was seeing brought back to life so much from pre-history, the warring states period, the Han, Sui, Tang and Song Dynasties that I have to return. The section on Tibetan Buddhism was really awesome. It was to be a great prelude to my visit in Xian to the Big Flying Goose Pagoda and the Shaanxi History Museum. To the faithful, those who have studied this for decades like myself, or even the uninitiated to see this all in its historical context for the first time would I think be pretty remarkable.  For one who has a sense of history and is purposely here to experience as a teacher, it’s hard to describe. While at the Sichuan Museum I was busy taking pictures with plans to return later to label and categorize those that had special meaning. As it turned out I will be prepared when I return again to Chengdu and my next visit to this free museum.  I was certainly getting what I came for. Pictures from the Sichuan Museum:

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May/June 2015 Trip to Chengdu and the Giant Buddha

Unfortunately I did not make it to the Giant Buddha on this trip, however a friend in the hostel in Xiax had gone the week before while he was in Chengdu. He shared a few photos to “get me by”, until my next trip.

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Arhat Buddhist Temple in Chongqing

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, now here in Chongqing, and will do a fifth in Shanghai. All are very unique and have contributed greatly to my own understanding of Buddhist influence on the history, religion, and culture of China. Pictures at Arhat Temple:

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Next 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 I 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).

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Jade Buddhist Temple in Shanghai

It is raining today… I went out this morning to the Jade Buddhist Temple with plans to 100_4571go 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. Pictures from the  Jade Buddhist Temple:

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Shanghai Museum

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. The Shanghai Museum:

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Of the five Buddhist Temples I visited in May and June 2017, 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.

Thoughts on Buddhism…  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…