Tuesday, September 21, 2010

That Was Zen, This is Tao

Sometime around the 5th or 6th century, an Indian sage named Bodhidharma left for the far East. He is said to be the transmitter of the Buddhadharma to China - responsible for the development of Cha'an (from the Sanskrit dhyana meaning 'meditation') which would later become Zen (Japan) Buddhism. It was a remarkable transference in Asian history. Between India and China. Two of the most ancient living cultures and civilizations in the world.

Like so many pilgrims before and after Bodhidharma's time, we too will follow the ancient Silk Road (metaphorically, not necessarily geographically) from India to China. Charlotte and I have been offered positions teaching at an English Training School in North Eastern China. In the town of Yun Cheng, in the Shanxi Province - about 3 hours from Xi'an where the famous Terracotta Warriors rest. We are told it is quite a historic place, the capital city where many of China's famous dynasties once ruled the land.

Farewell India
It is hard to believe we are leaving India so soon - Now, tonight in fact. India is a place that had filled my dreams and imagination for so many years - yearning for the day I would set foot on her holy soil. And now I have spent almost four months of those days, exploring her mountains, rivers, towns, and temples. But India - like China - is HUGE! And it is ANCIENT. And it is teeming with the NEW. It is such an in-your-face perplexing mix of tradition and modernity - a booming East and West fusion at the shopping mall temple. With monks on cell phones and sadhus in sun glasses. This experience will be lingering in psyche, processing, churning - possibly until I return.

Writing this blog feels like a goodbye of sorts. But it's not. My karma is not yet finished with India nor her children. This is not a goodbye. It's a see you later. After our work in China, we plan to return to holy India, with wallets reloaded, to once again smell the spice and taste the nectar of the axis mundi of religioso. As our dear Israeli friend Nimrod once said, "India is like a strong, beautiful woman you'd like to dance with. But... (in his thick Mediterranean accent) you must let Her lead." While traveling in India, you must surrender. You must let go of who or what you think you are. You must let go of that bus ticket, let go of that train ride, let go of that custom made yak-wool sweatshirt you got in Manali that you loved so much and would be so perfect for a cold winter in China...You must let go of any plans you think you had. Because She will swallow them whole. And spit you out anew. But... if you can learn to flow with Her, to dance with India, then grace is bestowed. You are rewarded with the ultimate gold. You are your Self. You are always where you need to be. And you're always going where you're supposed to go. "For every 10,000 places you don't get to see, there are 10,000 other amazing places you do get to see."

This post almost marks the end of a chapter for Mindful Roots. It appears that we will not have access to Blogspot once we enter the Great fireWall of China. Nor will we have access to Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, or any other user-friendly forum of social networking freedom. We are both nervous and excited to move to Communist China. I know we told everyone we were moving to India... but now we are really moving to China. Our teaching contract runs 9 months through June. We are excited to learn Mandarin (our company is providing each of us Chinese tutors!). Just as it is not fair to judge Americans based on the foreign (or domestic) policy of the U.S. Government, the same holds for the people of China or any other nation. We are excited to experience China from the inside - to make Chinese friends!

If anyone would like to continue to receive photos and updates from China,
please send an e-mail to mindfulroots@gmail.com or charlottecora@gmail.com
We also have a Skype account: mindfulroots
Also...if anyone wants to come visit us in China. Come!
We'll pour you tea, teach you some Chinese, show you how to use chopsticks, and take you 'round the land between Heaven and Earth.

Thank you to everyone who has been following this blog! We deeply appreciate your support on this journey. Please check back in about a year...

In love & gratitude

- Seth & Charlotte

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