We arrived yesterday at Louguantai, where we will spend the next 3 days studying Taoism at the monastery. This is a place of superlatives. The earliest Christian pagoda. The oldest Taoist monastery. The Head Taoist Abbot of all Taoism in China. The place Laotzu arrived on his ox and spoke the Tao Te Ching for the first time. There is so much rich history here.
Our night in Xi’an was fun. We visited the Muslim quarter and saw all sorts of interesting textural things – chiles being roasted and ground, walnuts being roasted, taffy being pulled, pistachios being pounded, lambs being butchered. We shopped in the bazaar for a bit but saved some for our return this weekend. Our room was interesting – it was a “suite”, and had an elevated platform and a card table that led to some interesting speculation as to its history.
Our bus ride was uneventful, a little rainy but otherwise calm. Upon arrival in the area, we were told that plans had changed, and that our hotel the Dao Spa no longer allowed foreigners, so we would be staying in the Impressions of Louguan Resort across the way. This turned out to be fine – a very nice HUGE resort with fountains and a pretty windmill garden.
It was a hot first night and our room didn’t drop below 29c all night. Today we switched to another room, and after flipping the mattress over to the soft side (as opposed to the side with the piece of plywood sewn into the mattress), and turning on the AC, I think we will survive. We are at 25c now, and they gave us a big floor fan in addition.
Ren Farong spoke to us today. He is the Head Abbot of the Taoist religion in China, the highest level Taoist in this country who was able to spend 20 minutes with us before leaving on a trip. He talked about yin and yang and the presence of the separation in everything. He has amazing energy – I smile when I look at him.
We meditated in the temple. It was quiet, with occasional Chinese tourists wandering through to bang the gong six times. The rest of our stay will be lecture and taiji practice. We are having laundry done, exorbitantly expensive and I would pay twice as much. It’s the one splurge I can count on during these trips. The water of Chenjiagou and Huashan just didn’t cut it.
I am missing the national and world news a little bit. It’s been hard to get much on the internet – I can see headlines but can’t always click through to the story. It seems like we’ve been gone a long time. There is an isolation to this country, even in the large cities.
I hope all my friends and family at home are doing well and enjoying my travel tales – we will be home Sunday!