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Saturday, February 28, 2004

I have had the most wonderful experience today. It was truly fantastic. Although it started off a little frustrating, it ended wonderfully. I woke up this morning and tried to take a shower, but unfortunately, there was no hot water. I am not sure why though. It may be because I flushed the toilet last night, but I really do not know. I may become like the French and only shower occasionally. I am not going to be flushing the toilet at night anymore. It is odd showering right next to the toilet, but it is a fairly common practice. Thanks to Chinese soap opera, I now know that most of them sit on there toilets and shower that way. I understand this because in the soap opera, the man took a long hot shower after he found bloody sheets under his bed while he was cleaning. He was devastated. The scene then cuts to his fiance having dinner with another man. She had cheated and lost her virginity to the mans best friend. The only thing I want to know is where did he get all that hot water from. Alas, I am sidetracked. I got ready this morning and caught the bus to the temple that I went to yesterday but was closed. It was still closed this morning. I waited for about an hour to see if it would open, but it would not. I could not wait any longer as the wind felt as if it was going to cut me into. I walked a mile back down the hill and over the river then walked another mile to another temple that was built in the Tibetan style. It was huge and gorgeous. I paid to get in, but the sidewalks were very icy in the shady area which made it hard to walk in some places. The insides of the temple were amazing. There were huge Buddha statues everywhere. In the first section there was one large one and the two side chambers had three states each then the walls were covered in 10,000 small golden Buddhas. In the man chamber there were states of Monks lining the wall. What Amazes me is that one of the statues were the same. They all had there own unique personality and characteristics. They looked so lifelike and real. I was unable to get a picture as I was being hounded by the picture guards. I went into another building, and it was equally as stunning. This time, it was a building full of singing, dancing, and praying Monk statues. I was able to sneak around the corner and take a picture, but the lady rushed around the corner and was not happy. It would not have been so bad, but it was the last shot, so my camera rewound the whole time that she was staring at me. It was very loud to. I hope that it turned out as I moved right after I took the photo. I really hope that it comes out. I then went on the roof and got some pictures of the Golden dragons that Covered the roof top. All of the building are three stories high and are either bright yellow, red, or white. Look up Tibetan palaces and temples on the internet to get an idea. There are a series of buildings that go up the side of the hill. Now comes the interesting part. To understand how odd this is, you have to understand that I have been praying a lot lately and while I was at the temple that I did not get in. I asked God to help me understand Buddhism better as I find it very interesting. Well, I go into this one exhibit where they have all kinds of Buddhist statues, and there is an Asian girl there who is talking to her father and two friends. Out of the Blue she comes and asks me if I would like to learn more about Buddhism, and I said yes. She starts telling me all about Sedharta and how he was a prince then gives it all up and becomes a Monk. Does not like it, so he starts Meditating and finds inner peace then goes to teach the rest of the world how to do the same. We then talk some theology about Buddhism and to be honest it sounds just like Christianity other than the reincarnation until you reach Buddhism's equivalent of heaven. Also, in Buddhism, you become a God when you die. Now here is the insane part, I asked her where she works, and she is also a teacher at my Medical college. We both laughed when we found out, and she said that it was fate. The same word in both English and Chinese. She then took me up to the big pagoda/tower, and she showed me some Buddhist prayer techniques. We walked around the inside of the tower three times and said Oh Ma Nee Bay Me Hon inorder to build up positive energy then we placed our hands against the walls and we hit the tops of our heads against the wall nine times. This is considered the center of the body. We also hit our foreheads against the wall to help bring inner peace and Enlightenment. Apparently, the pagoda is like the power pole to heaven. You can send prayers to heaven through it and Buddha can send positive energy into you through it as well. We sat under the trees and talked for a very long time. She said that teaching is her job, but Buddhism is her passion. She wants to become a Buddhist missionary one day, but not in China. Despite most of the Chinese not believing in religion, she said that it would be too dangerous to do so. She said that most people are afraid to openly proselytize there religion as the government forbids it. She said that most of the people used to practice Tai Chi and other martial arts in the Summer Resorts in the morning for exercise, but now they just walk around. She finds it very sad and thinks that the government is wrong for it. She said that since most of the people can not practice there religion, they have turned away from it completely. There is also something else that was a little strange about meeting this girl that just threw me for a loop. If Melissa's sister had an Asian twin, it would be this lady. Bright looked just like Brenda. She was a dead ringer. In her looks, her mannerism, and even the way she talked. She was Brenda's Asian double. Well after we talked for awhile, the family invited me to dinner. On the way out, her father pointed to the large stone Monolith that towers on the Mountain side and said penis. I laughed and said yes, it does look like a penis. This was after he had showed me the penis insertion symbol when I told them I had went to the Tantric Buddhist temple. Strangely enough, he is a doctor. Everyone else that was with us were all University professors. We caught the bus to the restaurant. It almost wrecked which was a little disconcerting. Everyone on the bus laughed except the people that I was with. We were all a little thrown for a loop. We got to the restaurant and this amazing vegetarian feast. We had what she referred to as grass, but I think that it was marinated cilantro. Then we had another dish that was like fried plantanes, peanuts, and peppers, but I do not know what it was. We also had water chestnuts covered in a cocktail sauce. A tomato based tofu soup, a noodle soup, and the most amazing friend sweet potato cookies that I have ever had in my life. They were just fantastic. We left there stuffed and then I made plans to meet them again tomorrow. I left and went to some street vendors and bargained for some items. Got a jade Buddhist necklace for 50 cents. I went to supermarket them walked around and looked at street vendors for several hours. I came home and dropped. It was an amazing day. Talk to you later.

Christopher


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