无私而同--Be Unselfish To Join Together :

I have now been studying Esoteric Buddhism with MahaVairocana Dharma King Dechan Jueren for eighteen years, four of which were spent in Beijing China learning Mandarin Chinese from 2004-2008. Learning Chinese, especially at 38, was no easy feat, even with excellent teachers and a dedicated heart. However, the more I came to be able to understand my teacher’s weekly lectures (given in Mandarin Chinese), the more I understood that learning Chinese was not my only assignment in Beijing—actually my greater assignment was to change myself, to become a better person. This I discovered was quite a bit more difficult than the enormous challenge of learning Chinese. I pressed on anyways.

Those who have lived in another country or another culture other than their own can understand how being in a foreign world is an excellent opportunity to come face-to-face with one’s own strangeness and with one’s own shortcomings. While under this extra pressurized magnifying glass, I was able to see all too clearly my shortcomings, for example how easily I became angry or withdrawn after small exchanges, such as feeling like I was being overcharged when buying almost everything. I realized how ill-equipped my nature was to deal adequately with such minute issues. You see, in China, everyone, foreigner and local, deals with the challenge of buying in a bargaining-market culture, and with the fear (& fact!) of being cheated somewhere along the way. It really is nothing personal, as I took it, especially in the beginning, as is most nothing in China. In China, it really is “not all about you,” personally. So it is best to just get over it--to overcome yourself.

You see, I was in China, where sacrificing one’s self for the group and where helping one another are not only normal, but are elevated moral values for all to live up to. They are also values that my teacher Dechan Jueren found sorely lacking in my character. At some point, I took it as my personal mission and challenge to learn how to value the group and to value working together as a group over the personal, to try and embody these Chinese values as if they were my own. Actually, I was daring to make a bold and broad cultural leap across the divide of the American thinking which values individual rights and freedoms as most important to the Chinese thinking where the word “personal” is the same word for “selfish.” Is it? Is having