I have been kept away from my computer last week. I couldn’t go online. I used to think that as I became older I would not be forced to do things I didn’t want to do. Apparently, I was wrong. Like I said, last week I was trapped in a temple. The assignment was for me to find my inner peace. (No, this post has nothing to do with Kung fu Panda 2 in which Po finds his inner peace and deflects cannonballs)
Someone in my department came up with an idea that lots of us (me, included) were too stressful on works (of course, there were no mention of the awfully too frequent nightshifts and excessive workload and the complete lack of holidays). They thought that the everyday life was harmful to the minds and spirits. And that the only way we could have our spirits and minds healed was to extract ourselves from the chaotic world. As a result of that idea, I and several of my colleagues were sent to the temple somewhere far from the busy city (I fell asleep in the bus so I didn’t know where I was taken exactly).
During my stay in the temple, I had to wear only white clothes, walk around bare-footed and refrain from talking. Cell phones and laptops were strictly forbidden and I was not allowed to pack my own extra food supplies. The daily activity was simple enough. I woke up at 4.00 am (for heaven’s sake! Why didn’t they just shoot me in the head?) and spent a few hours before dawn praying and then meditating. When the sun appeared, I had to do some cleaning around the temple area before breakfast. Then the meditation resumed, I mostly meditated in sitting position but sometimes I meditated in standing position or in a slow-walk manner. After lunch, no more food was given to me. I was allowed to drink fruit juice until the next morning. In the afternoon, the monks gave us lectures and speech about how to nurture my minds and spirits along with my body, how to incorporate Buddhism into daily living, how to control my thoughts from going astray and how to keep myself from different kinds of emotion. In the evening, I meditated some more and before going to bed, there was a religious Q&A sessions with the monk. God, I was so hungry.
There were 8 rules that governed my life in the temple.
1. I could not kill anything. Not even small insects or grass
2. I must not steal. This one is not so hard.
3. Refrain from any sexual activities. This one was somewhat obscure but since men were not allowed to touch or even stayed too close to women, I supposed everything was literally forbidden.
4. I must not tell lies or speak badly of others. Did sarcasm count? If so, this one was impossible to comply
5. I must stay away from alcohols and illicit drugs. This one was easy.
6. I could not eat after noon time. That meant I had to eat my lunch like it’s my very last meal.
7. Any kinds of music, cosmetics and entertainment were prohibited.
8. I could not sleep or sit on soft bed or seat. That meant I had to sleep on the cold, dry floor.
Wa…wait! No entertainment?! So now, movies, music and anime are all sinful?
The whole point of this training was to make me gain better control of my mind. They said that regular daily life was full of temptation, distraction and emotion. The mind was pulled this way and that by these stimuli and the mind could not rest. Unfortunately anime, as well as movies, TV shows and music were all emotional distractions. Anime flew my mind to the distant worlds, to different emotions that I didn’t normally experience. It’s not always good to have your mind wander around. Meditation was supposed to help me keep my mind right here in my body by focusing the thoughts only at breathing. That’s a pretty good concept. If I could keep my mind at one place for longer time, I would be able to do everything more efficiently. I would not worry so much about what had happened and what might happen next because my mind stayed at the present.
So there you have it. I am somewhat torn apart. I love wandering around mentally. I often create my own universe and drift in and out of it. I love doing that. What about the power of imagination? Will I ever find peace if I were a fantasy novelist or anime fanatics? I think I will have to find balance between the two scenarios; letting my mind go wild and keeping it at home where it can rest just a little bit.
Again this post is more about me than anime but I hope you enjoy it to some extent. If you want to know whether I found my inner peace during my stay at the temple, the answer is no. But I might have a glimpse of it or glimpse of the path to it. I am too sinful and too normal to let go of everything just yet. I still cannot let go of anime afterall.