This article is about my life and experience at the University of Sydney (USYD), Australia. I will write about six aspects in particular: S (student life), Y (Yogacarabhumi, my research), D (devotion), N (nature), E (exactitude), Y (yearning for liberation).

S: Student Life

For us research students in the faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, we all share three large research offices. The offices offer us the basic facilities we need, such as desks with computers, a kitchen, a copy room, and a meeting room. We students can not only focus on our research, but also talk about our lives, studies, and make friends, of course. Especially during lunchtime, many of us like to share our food and talk. I have eaten various traditional foods, and expanded my cultural knowledge during lunch break in this way.

The Buddhist studies program in USYD is possibly the best one in Australia, where one can learn about the three Buddhist traditions: Indian, Chinese, and Tibetan. During my studies in Sydney, I have attended academic seminars, conferences, study groups, by which I learnt about the different approaches to various topics. We were also encouraged to attend international activities so that we can extend our academic horizons.

Y: Yogacarabhumi, my research experience

My thesis topic is about one section (Sarirarthagatha) of the Yogacarabhumi, suggested by Ven. Huimin when I was studying in the CHIBS. At the beginning, I did not really know how to dig deeper through this topic due to limited information and resources. Rather than give me direct information, my supervisor encouraged and inspired me, and showed me the methods how to deal with academic issues so that I could do it all by myself. When I completed it, this was the first time that I felt I had the ability to undertake academic research. From this experience, I feel that, no matter how difficult the topic is, there is always a way out as long as you keep reading and thinking carefully about the relevant materials.

D: Devotion

Studying overseas, obstacles and difficulties appear much more than expected. I remembered, in the first class in USYD, I was like a deaf and dumb person in the classroom, even though I had passed the IELTS test. It took almost one year for me to catch up and to be able to follow the class. The helpless feelings not only happened in my studies, but in research, monastic life, and through self-questioning. Devotion to Buddhism is the way that always gave me the strength to carry on. I am grateful that Hui-Tsang Monastery provided me with accommodation and the chance to give public services.

N: Nature

The natural scenery is one of the best assets in Sydney. Walking around the parks, beaches, mountains, always relaxes and comforts our straining nerves. On the weekend, people usually pack a picnic to enjoy the sun and fresh air. Immersing ourselves in the natural atmosphere, especially meditating on the grassy ground is best way to heal our mind. My neighbor, Charlotte, is a kind and easy-going grandma who always drives me and some other friends to the amazing natural places. On the way, our conversations sometimes inspired me. I learned a lot from her strong and beautiful mind.

E: Exactitude

My PhD supervisor, Dr. Mark Allon, is a meticulous scholar. Every time I got back a corrected paper from him, it was full of red marks and his comments. Even a small error, such a space or a comma, he would find out and correct. At the beginning, I felt so depressed when I received such feedback. However, when my native PhD colleague showed me his paperwork from our supervisor, I was so relieved because the “red marks” situation is no different from mine! From this experience, I learned the exactitude we should have to be an academic researcher.

Y: Yearning for liberation

As a Buddhist monk, there was the special encountering happened quite often in Sydney. I have met some drunk or homeless people, and a few of them gave me some coins for spiritual merit, others gave me a slight bow of their head in greeting. Some university students would come to ask some questions about the meaning of life or Buddhism. Some people treat me like a fortuneteller, or want me to guide their life and the direction of their destiny. These encounters show me that suffering appears wherever or whoever you are. Everyone yearns for liberation!

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