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Navigating Buddhist Temples

We started the day with and early rise at 5:30 A.M., to find our Nai Nai(Grandmother) already making us a breakfast. She was making us a delicious soup with egg and chopped up bits of sausage. After slamming down as much as humanly possible, we headed to the Retreat center to get a formal understanding of what we would be doing for the day. The plan was to walk to the Temple, and have everyone walk two minutes apart, in order to have a walk in complete silence. One we arrived at the Temple, we started to do a reflection of our Spiritual and Religious Beliefs while we waited for the sun to rise and the Temple to open.

Once we passed through the Temple we had made the group decision to hike up to the Giant Alter surrounded by Prayer Flags. As we had begun to hike, I had decided to make myself the leader, we continued to walk with no issue until people had begun to get weary and uneasy of the path that I had led them on. Garrett had suggested that we should go straight down, people wanted something new, so they waited for him to try it. As he began to descend, he almost immediately slip, and at that point, people were agin following me. During our hike, I used the time to think about why exactly I was in China on this trip, and then some of the bigger questions, such as what is ultimate purpose of me existing and living. I kept this in my mind as I hiked for the rest of the day. Once we finally arrived at the Alter, everyone was very relived and began to take in the scenery. After which we began to descend back down. We found a road that led to a path that we continued to take, while on it we found flags with some characters that we recognized, after some guessing the LaoShi’s(Teachers) told us that we had actually found apart of what used to be the Silk Road, yet another happy surprise  of our trip.

After returning we began to talk about what exactly it was that Buddhist Monks believed in. We talked about the cycle of reincarnation and how to escape it, and what keeps you in it; which seemed very relevant to what I was thinking about earlier. They told us how it was Ignorance, Desire, and Hatred; all three linked; and all three would prevent you from escaping. I applied this to my thought about my purpose as I thought about how I could avoid these things and find what I so desired. Ultimately I had reached my own conclusion and realized that listening to others, focusing on experiences, and letting things go would help me find what I want; happiness. To do this I would need to take the uncomfortable step forward in order to help expand my knowledge and understanding; and that it is my choice to be happy, and that I can and want to make this choice.