I enjoy observing the Buddhist edict of “Quiet Contemplation.” I learn to do this through observing Chinese people in its practice, slowing down to actually see things and to notice the tension between those that try to be still and quiet and those who do not. As China becomes more industrialized and ‘modern,’ it becomes harder to quiet oneself and contemplate nature and others. Even so, there are contemplation spots all over – temples, parks and tiny courtyards that work to close off modernity’s noise.
Sometimes on our walks we will see people standing still, observing a plant, the canals or a bird. Tai Chi and Qi Gong seem to me practices to develop quiet contemplation. Notice how your hands and feet work with your breathing, etc.
This is our friend Jane practicing Tai Chi in Xiaoshan Park in Beilun. Jane introduced us to Tai Chi as practiced in China, and translated our lessons with our Tai Chi Master He.
While in the park of the Summer Palace in Beijing, we came upon a man writing calligraphy on the sidewalk using water:
His brush is a sponge on a tube attached to an old plastic water bottle and another tube. I imagine this set up is so he doesn’t have to bend down so much.
The writing rapidly drieThes in the sun. Many people stood nearby watching the man write, and then watching the writing evaporate.
Lotus Flowers are great objects for quiet contemplation. They are in temple ponds everywhere. The roots are also good to eat! The Buddhist Chant – 唵嘛呢叭咪吽 Om Mani Padme Hum – describes – the jewel within the lotus. Now that I’ve seen the lotus and its gold yellow center I understand why it would be useful for contemplation.
These days I am quietly contemplating my new granddaughter – my first grandchild. She is a Jewel. All my practice of quiet contemplation has lead me to Alisa Maria Robles Breneman!