Tuesday, November 16, 2010

October 30 - Ningbo

[In my journal, I put Friday, October 29, but I think it was likely October 30, as it took me a few days to realize we were a day ahead of Portland time.]

8:10am. Beginning to feel more human, that is, beginning to adapt to the rhythms of this time and place. Slept until 4am (an improvement over yesterday's 3am), stayed in bed until almost 6am. Last night I did well until we went out to dinner, about 6pm, when I began to crash. Fell asleep on the short ride to the restaurant, and was able to eat for a bit until my body just basically began to shut down and emphatically communicated "no more." I endured the noise and wait until we got to the hotel and went directly to bed.

We are at the Jiahe Hotel in Ningbo. Our local guide here doesn't know all that much English, and Eric (our national Chinese guide) says he doesn't know all that much about Ningbo, though he did say there's a strong connection between Shanghai and Ningbo in terms of people and families going back and forth.

I went to breakfast, and am getting used to having what I would consider lunch/supper food for any meal. There was fruit, fried rice, noodles, steamed rice, boiled egg, and various other things. It was all good. Had a conversation with Kyogen about connecting with the Internet, and still can't get on. At least my adapters seem to work, and I can keep my electronics charged. I'm tracking my expenses on the laptop, and continuing to blog on paper.

I think today we're going to where Dogen trained with Rujing.

12:10pm. King Ashoka's temple. I didn't take my rakusu in with me, and so of course ended up in a ceremony offering incense and bowing before the Relic. We were each invited to come bow before it individually and look at it. People see different colors, evidently. Kyogen and Richard both saw blue, while Gyokuko and I both saw white. Hard to say.

Right now I'm on the bus waiting for everyone to get out of the gift shop. I looked an at inkin (portable gong), but it wasn't quite what I want. I'd like to get gifts for people at some point.

8pm. This afternoon we went to the temple where Dogen trained with Rujing. Quite an experience. We ended up doing evening service there. Kyogen says this temple is laid out like Eiheiji. There's a Dogen shrine that we bowed to, and then Gyokuko started circumambulating it and chanting the Heart Sutra. Kyogen followed her, and when I saw what they were doing, I joined in. There ended up being several of us processing and chanting.

Evening service lasted well over an hour, and involved standing on a stone floor, wearing shoes. There was some processing and bowing, but I got pretty tired of standing. Still, it was cool to stand with the monks all chanting the service. I wasn't able to join the chants, really, though I hummed along. There were moments when it was amazing to think I was practicing in the same temple where Dogen trained.

It's not all that late, but I'm still getting tired early (and waking up early in the morning). Tomorrow is supposed to be a full day, with our first in-country flight.


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