Thursday, December 18, 2014

Opportunitites for Growth, by Curtis

Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche
Curtis Dutchak, Canada
I was lucky enough around this time last year to have been introduced to a meditation group in Taipei by a French-Canadian friend of mine who was living up in Zhongli. I was then, and still am, living in Miaoli County where I teach English and volunteer at a local organic farm.

I was born and raised in western Canada and before moving to Taiwan at age 30 I primarily worked in the oil and gas industry there. Despite having an interest in Eastern culture at that time, I found it difficult to access quality teachers and groups in Canada and to tap into the wealth of knowledge that I knew was to be found in Asia. Since moving to Taiwan from Canada about 5 years ago, I have found amazing opportunities here on the island to learn about Chinese culture and broaden my perspective on life. I dove into Traditional Chinese Medicine, became actively involved with a Buddhist group here, started learning about chadao (The Way of Tea), and began practicing kungfu under a former national champion.

I was soaking up what I could but always remained open to new opportunities to learn and grow. I remember attending the first few holiday parties put together by the group and immediately being impressed with both the members of the group and their teacher Shang Rinpoche. Despite only loosely knowing the group at that time, I was welcomed with open arms and immediately invited back to future events/classes and even offered a place to stay the night for when I come up to Taipei. I picked up on a conscious awareness in many of the members of the group, and it suggested to me that this was a group that there would be many opportunities to share and grow with. I was also lucky enough the first night I made it up to the tea house to be able to sit in on a question and answer period with Shang Rinpoche. From that open question period I already started to get a good feel of a teacher that was bringing an immense amount of wisdom to the table and was willing to patiently sit down and share some of that wisdom with a group of those who wanted to listen and learn. This was a great opportunity to learn personally from somebody who I felt normally would be quite difficult to access.

Over the past year I continued to go to classes every few weeks and even asked my own questions on several occasions, which I felt were more than adequately answered. I feel that I have also benefited from the Sunday evening meditation/qigong classes. These are held by students of Shang Rinpoche and from the first class I was impressed with their level of knowledge and professionalism in conducting these classes (its always nice to see a teacher/master empowering his students to further spread the wisdom he/she has passed down to them). While furthering my knowledge in meditation, qigong, and Buddhism, I have also been able to share with the group what I have been doing with Huixiang organic farms in Miaoli county. Many of the members started ordering our farm’s organic seasonal deliveries and also expressed interest in getting involved with future events put on by the farm (for instance our farm holds a yearly event in Miaoli City, Taipei, and New Taipei City where we feed the homeless and less fortunate with some of these past events feeding nearly 2000 people). The group’s desire to get involved with events like those and others like a recent beach clean up in Wanli, show an open sharing attitude that is compassion driven (selflessly putting others first which again shows me the strength of the group and a focus that is in line with my attitude/beliefs).

I have made some good friends and feel lucky to be connected with a group that has such a promising future. I feel that getting involved with them is a good opportunity for growth indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment