Becoming a Buddhist living at a shaolin temple – Miao He

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I have been totally inactive over the course of the last month as I come to terms with what I have been really searching for in my travels, after what was quite frankly a psychedelic drug fueled fiesta that lasted a handful of weeks I am completely finished with that aspect of my life. I will however at no point ever regret, or tell someone not to embark on such an adventure, as without exploring new areas of my mind I simply wouldn’t have come to where I am now. In fact I 100% advocate the use of psychedelics for those mentally strong enough to handle them, obviously I do not recommend anyone who is not totally confident in the use or taking of these drugs and of course I am not responsible for those idiots who listen to me, in the wise words of Buddha;

‘To the keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we will not be able to keep our mind strong and clear’

So don’t go abusing drugs, it’s not smart, it’s not clever, I was always fully aware of what I was taking and when and that I was in a safe environment and felt comfortable with my previous experiences to handle such things. I did not take these drugs to trip out and have a whale of a time but to deeply explore what my mind was capable of, most often when ‘high’ I was simply lying down with my eyes closed and rooting through the vast chaos upstairs. However, lets continue!

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After a rigorous and drawn out emailing process (for necessary reasons), I found myself air-bound and travelling to Germany’s Frankfurt-Hahn. First off let me say, always double, triple, quadruple check your flight details, flying to F-Hahn was the biggest mistake I could of made. It followed with being in the middle of nowhere and having two 5 hour waits with absolutely nothing to do or nowhere to go as it was middle of the night and I didn’t feel comfortable sleeping on a train station with all my stuff. I won’t dwell on it because It’s just as boring to read about as it is to relive, just think of this, how many times can you listen to the same music on repeat for five hours after 24 hours of no sleep, overdosed on caffeine then crashing so hard that its a physical strain to keep your eyelids open. Oh and I missed two trains after all of this which was really the icing on the travel disaster shit flavored cake.

So far I’ve spent a total of just over one month here, the time is non existent and my life has been flipped upside down but as if tipping over a glass of old water, with the old stale water gone the glass is free to be filled with fresh, clear, revitalizing water. My ego has been smashed to a million pieces and I am slowly in the process of removing it entirely, this has come after taking refuge in Buddha. The temple is an Officially recognized Shaolin monastery and one of the only few in Europe, where there is a variety of Chinese martial arts practiced and infused into Buddhism, this including Taoism, and Confucianism.

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The refuge ceremony is where one commits himself to Buddhism and becomes a Buddhist, gets a Buddhist passport and given a Dharma name. The ceremony itself was beautiful, all of my anxieties which I have lived with for the past few years were tossed aside in a heartbeat when I knelt at the altar and made my promises to myself to be a more conscious and compassionate being. Let me make this totally clear – I AM NOT RELIGIOUS – I do not believe Buddhism to be a religion but more of a life philosophy that we can all learn from, Buddha was an amazing teacher and opened the door to billions of those who wish to walk through. The 5 promises are vows to yourself that prevent gaining negative karma and allowing other beings to live in peace, these are;

1- Vow never to kill any innocent beings

2- Vow to never lie

3- Vow to never steal – this is anything that wasn’t directly given to you

4- Vow to never commit sexual misconduct

5- Vow to never take any intoxicating substances that cloud the mind – of course prescriptive drugs from the hospital/doctors are permitted but that is done on your own decision, most traditional hardcore Buddhists will not use these either

These vows were a big decision for me due to my previous nature of enjoying a drink and a smoke but since living here I have absolutely no inclination to resume these habits. And my given name is perfect, I couldn’t have chosen a better name or wished for anything different – in all truth and honestly after the whole process I took a long walk and had a moment of such blissful tranquility that I almost cried. My mind has not known such peace for years if at all – After toying with the words in my mouth and the pronunciation I was happy that my name is Miao He (translating as; Wonderful Peace and Harmony).

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Getting to train in Kung Fu, Qi Gong, Tai Chi and Rou Quan is a luxury, and having so much time to dedicate to keeping my body healthy so I can develop my mind, along with meeting some extraordinary people and masters – My Shifu (headmaster teacher) was a master at 18 and has over 20+ experiences in mastership, I simply cannot put into the words the way he manipulates his body to perfectly produce forms that are breathtakingly beautiful. My previous experience of around 7 years Shotokan Karate was a massive help in developing core muscle and learning techniques, however in practice was utterly useless as Chinese martial arts use the reverse of Japanese techniques. But of course, every Ying has its Yang and without both neither one can exist. Whilst getting deep into training the environment is kept clear, no Wifi, no phone signal, no televisions, no music unless in your private room, and strict rules. Every moment is taken as a chance to meditate and work on mindfulness that allows us to see clearer and think with clarity. For example most mornings start with 40 minutes to an hours meditation in total silence and sets a perfect base for the day, however meditation is going to take me a lot of writing to explain and its entire own post as meditation goes deeper down the rabbit hole of the mind than anyone could ever imagine, for example –

‘To try harder will achieve less, to stop trying you will achieve everything’ – myself

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I will do my best to upload a new post within the next month and try and give a deep explanation to Chan Buddhisms main focus of meditation. Keep me posted on your adventures and let me know how you are all doing – I hope you all have a wonderful week and live in peace. Amitabha  

 

**All photos are my own and require permission before use**

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