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Drew's Blog

morning prayer

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Today was s day for the ages. It was started by a 4 30 wake up call, which was followed by a quick walk to meet up with staff and students. It was there when I found out I forgot my I'd tag, and had to run back to the room to get it. As I ran back to the room, a dog actually started ti chase me. This was when I saw cory and some of the other guys, and as I tried to move inbetween them, I happened to catch cory in the fcae with my fist/elbow (not really sure which one, and sorry cory). I got my flourescent orange I'd necklace, and hurried back to the group. I just so happened to catch up with my bud cory key. Anyway, after that action packed morning, I was ready for the reason of my early wake up. Today was the day for our "day in the life of". We were viewing the lifestyle of a monk. It was avery interesting way to see the world. The adventure started off with morning prayer in the great hall. It was an extraordinary experience to see how similiar religous ceremonies are. There is a lot of quiet, yet singing and stillness, yet bowing. To me, as a christian, it was a similiar experience with the songs that the monks were singing, of course I actually know what is being sung about in church. The thing I liked most was that prayer was very involved, whether you were singing, bowing, or walking around the hall in prayer. The monks show dedication, as to that's what they do every morning. After prayer, we had breakfast. As we stepped into the dining hall we had to bow our heads and say spirtual words that sound like "army tofu-a". Then came the
food. In the buddhist religion, it is considered disrespectful to leave food on your plate. The meal was vegeterian because the monks do not eat meat. There was a coleslaw looking thing, and pepper and onion looking thing, and to wash it down was milk with sugar in it. I am proud to say that I finished mine, as well as two of my fellow friends. After breakfast was our morning chore. We had to sweep the courtyard, and it was empowering as we saw one of the keepers of the temple, nicknamed "uncle". He was an old man, whi looked like he had been doing this forever. He wanted to help us so bad, and by the end of our chore he picked up his broom and started doing his job. To help out and see how the monks live their lives was such an amazing thing. I will always remeber it, and think to myself "what would buddah do". As. I got back to the hotel, I realized that it was still morning because of how early our day started. It was time to do my new workout. We reached the small dragon kung fu school, and it was time to learn more. This time we dealt with bambo sticks and swords. It was unreal to watch them spin these weapons perfectly. I had a chance to work with the bambo. He taught us a move, that at first looked impossible, but then after I showing us slowly, I was able to do the move. It was sych a cool feeling to learn these crazy skills. After, we went back to practicing the routine we had learned early becuase we have to perform it in front of the students tomorrow. So, we practiced for a couple mor minutes, and it was back to the hotel. We had a two hour rest, to get back our legs, and then it wax back to school. We had to get this routine down in perfection. But when we arrived at the school, we had a performance waiting for us. Some students put on a show with different skills, including flips and jumps, punches and kicks, but there was one part that really amazed me. This students took the chi and focused on one part of the body, and then borke something. One student broke an iron clad with his head. (I tried to do it, and it did not work so well). There was also another student who was held up with spears. One was even on his neck. Another cool part was when this one kid, who was probably 6 or 7 was move his body like a rubberband. There was even one part where he had both legs around his neck, while he held himself in the air. It was a breathtaking performance. But then, we had to practice some more. We started to get really good. We still need some memorizing though. After our tiring practice, we wnt shopping and it was there where I finished my gift shopping, I also bought a pair of shoes... (For 4 dollars american!). Which brings me for my next point, the shopping in china is ridiculous. It is so cheap here, that I wonder how there economy could last, and then I remember that everything is now produced in China. All in all it was great day, a long one, but a great one. It felt like a blur, and the trip is now coming to an end. But hey, we got a couple days left, and I am sure going to make the best of it!


Changing Connections said...

If you would have told me before I began your post that you would change my notion of prayer, I would have smiled. But what you liked most about prayer was your perception that is was so involved: singing, walking, bowing, with dedication, devotion.I never thought of prayer, even community ritual prayer as involved in the sense that you define it. Very interesting, and I thank you for that deconstruction.

I think your "what would Budda do" is a great approach, a keeper.

What do you think the students do who can be lifted on spears, who can break iron? Amazing realities.

Enjoy what remains of your trip. It has been a lifetime experience.

RJ Stangherlin

Karen Wells said...

I think I saw you on Jimbo's video doing a flip. Was that you? You seem to like the more physical activities, but you better be careful. Don't try to break anything else over your head! Karen Wells DSA South Africa

Anonymous said...

I believe the saying "that's using your head" was not meant for breaking an iron clad(unless you are a true Master of Kung Fu) hope it didn't leave any marks on your head for your Senior I am so proud of you for embracing not only the sights and sounds of this country but there beliefs too. This trip has taken you on such a wonderful learning experience. May your future also be filled with excitement & surprises :) Love, Mom
P.S. for the record ~ Daniel is the one doing the back flips on the video...just wondering did you ever get to try one?

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Essential Programs Details

Duration 15 days
When August 4th - 18th, 2009
Focus History/Culture
Martial Arts
Modern/Ancient Architecture