Shaolin Summer Camp - Week 1
How do I describe the feeling I've had while on this trip?
For starters, it was a pain in the rear to get to the temple. My flights were all delayed, I was so exhausted that I just slept on every flight meaning that I didn't get the airplane meals. I lost my travel toothpaste. The travel center receptionist bought me the wrong ticket, so I bought it on my own. All of the trains were late going from Frankfurt to Kaiserlautern. Finally, I "checked in" to the hotel and hiked my way to the Temple where I was late on day one. Day one left me irritated, tired, and hungry but by the end of it I was content.
I learned a lot about Germany in that crazy day.
Day 2 (but day 1 of actual training) was tough. Some of the most exhausting training that I've done in a while. Kicks, stances, forms, running, and many pushups. Day two was looking great, until I got home and realized I was burnt to a crisp. Luckily on day 3 I was able to borrow some sunscreen. Throughout the week I met new people, explored the town some, and ate some good food.
I was happy, really happy.
On Saturday, we heard from the abbot about the rules of Shaolin and buddhism. It caused quite the conversation amongst many of the students. For me though, I came to these conclusions from his talk:
The rules are there for the monks.
A clear mind and healthy body are key.
Moderation in all things is strived for.
The point of religion/spirituality is to become a better person, not a better monk.
Being a monk is supposed to help you become a better person, but it is not the only way.
Challenging yourself is apart of becoming enlightened.
With that, the week ended with everyone going to Kaiserslautern on Sunday. Since I couldn't take the bus I hopped into a car ride with two frenchmen and an Irish man. The school had booked a whole vietnamese restaurant for us to eat from. It was full of good conversation and food.
Let's see what the next week brings.