Saturday, March 3, 2007

Forgetting Chinese Buddhas: Ironic Non-Mindfulness

Back in 1983, I spent the summer studying Chinese and Chinese law at East China Normal University in Shanghai, China. Fortunately, we had quite a few trips around the country built in and I took quite a bit of time off to tour the country on my own or with fellow students.

As a group or on my own I saw Suzhou, Beijing, Qingdao, the Great Wall, and Huangshan.

And I saw a lot of Buddhas, Buddhist sites, and Buddhist artwork.

But for the life of me, I can't remember where most of them were.  I've spent time on the Internet trying to recapture my memories and looking at my old slides, but, alas, it's to no avail.

Back 24 years ago, I was only vaguely interested in Buddhism.  I was half the age that I am now--young and stubborn but obviously wanting to learn more about another culture.  And, apparently, also self-absorbed.

I wish now I could recall all that I saw and experienced in China, particularly as it concerns Buddhism.  To see what I saw then now would mean so much more to me.

It's a case of ironic non-mindfulness.  Only at the time, I didn't realize how non-mindful I was.  Now I do, and frankly, it hurts.  It feels like one of life's missed opportunities.  I know I must put it behind me as Buddhism teaches, but still. . . .


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