Thursday, December 17, 2009

A spiritual journey (to the office)

This morning I went down to meet my regular driver who takes me to work. It's always just him and me in the car.

But today when I got to the garage the driver was standing there, and next to him was a Buddhist nun. She was wearing orange robes and a brown cloak, and her head was shaved. I thought, "Wow, I've never seen a Buddhist nun in the garage before!"

The driver and I got into the car and to my surprise, so did the nun.

Now when you stand or sit before a buddhist monk or nun, I think you want to make every effort to be as calm and serene as they are.

Which was hard for me because there was this one thought swirling around and around in my head - "Why is there a nun in the car?!"

i never did get an answer to that question. Maybe my driver is Buddhist and he was supporting a member of the clergy since they can't buy bus tickets or subway tickets. But it seems like he would have given me some sort of heads up.

Anyway I decided to just let it wash over me. (Very zen-like, don't you think?)

i did however get answers to some other interesting questions.

Q: How long have you been a nun?

A: 4 years.

Q: How did you get introduced to Buddhism?

A: I met a Buddhist monk when I was in college and he became my teacher. After several years I decided to become a nun.

Q: Do Buddhist nuns take a vow not to get married and have kids?

A: Yes, that's right.

Q: How did your parents take the news when you told them?

A: At first they were upset but to their credit, after a couple of months they were fine with it. Now they support me. It was harder for my fiance but even he came to accept my decision in time. He was Buddhist too.

Q: You were engaged?

A: Yes, but I broke off the engagement 12 days before my wedding.

Q: How can I learn to meditate?

A: I can teach you. Over email, if necessary.

She has a gmail account. Which suddenly made Buddhism feel much more accessible to me.

Sometimes I blog about why life in China is hard or confusing for me. But at the same time I love my life here because it's always interesting. I just never know what's around the corner but I can be sure I'm going to learn something every day.

This morning was a perfect example.


Postscript: I checked this website to see what kind of protocol one should follow when talking with a Buddhist nun. Sure enough, asking them why they're in the car would have been rude. I was also rude to put on lip gloss while I was talking to her.


Chantal said...

This is my No. 1. favourite post of yours so far! I can just picture you putting on your lipgloss trying to stay cool and not look phased at all by the fact there is a Buddhist Nun in your car!

Melanie Gao said...

Chantal you know me well. :)