Eastern Embrace

When we respect our blood ancestors and our spiritual ancestors, we feel rooted. If we find ways to cherish and develop our spiritual heritage, we will avoid the kind of alienation that is destroying society, and we will become whole again. … Learning to touch deeply the jewels of our own tradition will allow us to understand and appreciate the values of other traditions, and this will benefit everyone.” ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh, Living Buddha, Living Christ

dragon-kissed sky ~d nelson

dragon-kissed sky ~d nelson

Opened my front door
to hear a young guy
share the gospel in his heart.
Was invited to attend
an upcoming ceremony
in remembrance of Jesus’ death.
I remarked how Jesus
seems alive in his compassionate faith.
He paused, then smiled
and gave me the flyer.

Before walking away
I mentioned that a local monastery
was celebrating Chinese New Year
with music, dances & food
in a downtown park,
suggesting that he check it out
for the cultural experience.

lion dancing ~d nelson  (press for larger view)

lion dancing ~d nelson (press for larger view)

I admit having doubt he would attend
but gladly was wrong
as later I saw him there
enjoying the sights, sounds & an egg roll.

One of the young drummers
who came from China commented to me
how happy he is that many local people
came out for the event.
They had rehearsed for weeks.
It made him and his classmates
feel welcome in this rural town.
Experiencing openness & inclusiveness
on this sunshiny day
made me smile.


53 thoughts on “Eastern Embrace

  1. Julia Manuel

    I’m so pleased he attended! What a nice surprise and I bet he was grateful for the kind invitation ☺ your photos are always so magnificent, colourful and present. Thank you for the inspiration today.

    1. smilecalm Post author

      thank you for your kind reflection, Jules!
      somehow this comment was in the spam folder,
      but happily I’ve retrieved it just in time 🙂

      1. smilecalm Post author

        feels like grace & ease support me
        when i am grounded in the present moment! the past & future looks like
        the bad weather channel, sometimes. breathing calmly, i get up & find a better channel. thanks for asking, as i go out for a cycle on this sunny day. may your blankie be soft & warm 🙂

      2. Julia Manuel

        Ah yes the peace of the present moment…I feel very present when I shoot…have had a very pleasant weekend with my mum helping her spring clean without my little one…hope you enjoyed your bike ride!

      3. smilecalm Post author

        you’re a wonderful help!
        as it’s still spring
        i’m inspired to clean up a little, myself.
        may your present moment be peaceful,
        albeit there are no guarantees 🙂

  2. milliethom

    What a wonderful cultural occasion – such colour and spectacle. Fabulous photos. The company from China must have worked so hard to make it all happen. I’m glad the young man turned up to enjoy it. 🙂

    1. smilecalm Post author

      thank you for the kind observation, milliethom! there’s a boarding/charter school associated with the monastery where young people from near and far attend. they did a fine job preparing & presenting 🙂

  3. ChrisB

    Jesus and Buddha as ‘brothers’. The paradox is that my ‘tradition’ is Christian and I have respect for the teachings of Jesus, and yet I can’t quite embrace Christianity and feel more at home in Buddhism which oddly is an alien tradtion to me- well, Asian culture is not my background. I would like to embrace the Christian church in a cultural sense; but something stops me. Best wishes and thnaks for your inightful reflections- as always.

    1. smilecalm Post author

      thanks for sharing your diligent practice, Chris. Living Buddha, Living Christ was the first of Thay’s books I read. It helped heal my Christian woundings, while getting me slowing walking the mindfulness path. May your day be well & happy 🙂

  4. Michael

    Loved your story, David. And especially your answer to the young man sharing the gospel in his heart. The focus on death– along with guilt, sin and penance– all turn me off from most organized forms of Christianity. The beauty of the Chinese gathering is that, (at least it would be my suspicion), the Chinese event was perhaps a celebration of what it is to be Chinese. A sharing of something. But not a recruiting event. The proselytizing is also difficult for me at times, particularly when it comes from the view that one way is right, and another wrong… I read the Living Buddha, Living Christ book once many years ago. I couldn’t quote it today, but I remember that I enjoyed it very much…


    1. smilecalm Post author

      thanks for the kind thoughts, Michael. the local Buddhist monastery’s school seems open to sharing their arts, food and how that is informed by their spiritual virtue, but don’t impress me as having a complex of superiority. nor do they seem to solicit, recruit or proselytize. Living Buddha, Living Christ was the first of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books that I read. In a poetic way, it help heal the scars of Christianity from childhood. It left me feeling that Jesus & Buddha are brothers in the beautification of hearts & spirits of man.

  5. Val Boyko

    Openness, compassion and community are such gifts for us to embrace and then share. I love the dragon shot David. And also your ability to be surprised 🙂

  6. Vicki

    Looks like a wonderful gathering of community in shared appreciation of this event.
    Your images are excellent and I love the detail you were able to capture.

    1. smilecalm Post author

      thank you for your kind observations, Vicki!
      walked around with 2 canon lenses; a 100mm macro & 10-22 zoom. i’m happy you like the details 🙂

  7. John Coleman

    Thanks for the wave of joy this post gave me this morning, David. What a grace it is to accept and appreciate each other without judgment or agenda. Peace, John


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