Good Morning! Sri Lanka
It has already been a month since arriving in Sri Lanka. It is a lot harder to maintain the commitment than I initially thought. The Eight-Form Moving Meditation has become my sole daily exercise and the game of counting stars in the sky has also become my exclusive interest. I always fall asleep in the midst of insect sounds to be waken up by singing birds. I really want to say with the rising sun, "Good Morning! Sri Lanka."
I often mumble in my mind, "Why am I here?" I've almost forgotten what traffic lights look like and those popular TV programs that I used to watch in Taiwan.
The pace here is very slow and lazy. The air I breathe is fresh and sweet, and the wind is clean and dry. The environment is very pleasant, there is no loud noise surrounding me, and no sense of urgency or anxiety, except for the scorching sun, and the monotonously quiet dirt roads.
Although the painful memory of tsunami has been soothed over time, poverty and poor social and economical development are controversial issues in Sri Lanka. To people of Sri Lanka, clean water, bright light, fresh vegetables and fruits, and even sneakers, all of which we've naturally taken for granted in our lives, are still far from their imagination.
From their perspective, maintaining a laid-back attitude and simple lifestyle is essential, such as performing tasks like washing cloths, bathing and brushing the teeth. Even when wearing a traditional "Sarom", one with an open mind can ride a bike, or work on the farm, or even go on a date.
People of Sri Lanka still want to preserve their inherited traditions and simple lifestyles; hence influence from modern civilization has been kept to the minimum. It is very much alike what the Dharma has taught us; for good or bad, rich or poor, clean or dirty – they all arise from our subjective mind.
Though people here are kind and live a very simple life, I cannot stop myself from thinking of my family and friends back at home. My watch is still set to Taiwan's local time.
I am doing and living well in Sri Lanka, and now I have the name "Sagara" in the local language which can be translated into English as "Ocean". It means abundance and extensiveness. I am looking forward to giving abundant assistance to the people of Sri Lanka, not only in the field of material relief but also in spiritual counselling. I am hoping that the compassion and wisdom of the Buddha will always be with the people here, like the brilliant Sun rising from the East.
(contributed by Zhang Kuohsiung. He is now serving at the DDM's Peace of Mind Relief Station in Sri Lanka.)
(translated by Jin Yang/edited by DDM Australia Editing Team)