Zen in the city

8 08 2008

I received an email from my elder kyudo brother a few days ago. It was about the Asian Art Museum holding a lecture on Shaolin:

The Shaolin Fusion: Epitome of China’s Spiritual and Physical Culture?
With Andy Ferguson

This lecture will explore the fusion of China’s spiritual and physical culture in the Shaolin tradition. Bodhidharma is credited to be the father of both Chinese kong fu and Chan Buddhism. What are the historical facts behind Bodhidharma’s legend and why is Shaolin culture often described as the “epitome” of Chinese culture in China? What is the relationship between Shaolin Culture and Chinese art? What is the role of Shaolin Temple in Chinese society today? Also, has the essence of Shaolin culture been lost in the popularization of kong fu in the mass media and spurious modern adaptation?

he asked if I was interested. I said interested!!! I’m there!!!

Today I called for a reservation like the website said. I got the answering machine. I did this three times and left messages, three times. No return calls. I figured I’d go anyway maybe they have me at the door and are just to busy to call. I grab $10.00 in cash and head out. The entry fee was 12.00 for the museum and 5.00 for the lecture. hmmm at bit costly on my survival money rations, but I figured I would go and trust the force. Ok, I up grade my BART (train) fare ticket and end up with $4.75 in cash. I figured I could use my AMX to get in both at the door and the lecture.

I start to walk form the BART station once downtown in the City ( non-local that is San Fransico) I’m following the directions to get to the museum, but I;m walking and walking something feels not right, I turn around and back track. I follow the “Zen sense” I rarely go to the City but had an idea where to go. I cut a street , then another and BAM I’m there.

I go in the guard says, no pictures on the 1st floor, only the second and third, and you have to check your backpack, grrrr I think. I say my camera is in there this is my camera bag. You can take the camera he says , no bag. The bag check is free. sigh, ok

I go to buy my ticket and expect $12.00 , however it was only $5.00 since it was after 5:00 pm , NICE I think! The force is with me! I head over to the check in, no problem done. Next I go over to where the lecture is. I ask a woman behind a table. Where is this lecture going to be, pointing at the sign. She says, right here. I say cool. She then starts with a bunch of questions, How did you hear of this? What is your interest? I give her my run down, Kyudo friend, I study Zen, I teach Shaolin, blah blah. She says are you on the list. I say I’ve no idea, I called and called and called no answer no message!! She says hmm and checks . Nope! I go oh no, I came all this way. She then says well you can come back at 6:20 maybe there will be a seat not all the people show up. There are 45 seats and 50 some people on the list. I go ewww. She says maybe not all will come. I say should I pay now, can I pay with a credit card? Sorry she says, only cash. I go OHHH no, I used all my cash to get here on the BART. I dig in my pockets and count change that I got from the BART. I am 5 cents short. I say oh no!! She say, do not worry about that little bit if there is room . Another lady overhears and say if you only need 5 cents, here I’ll give you that. I say thank you and give a small bow. Now I have the money but not the seat. I say I’ll be back!…

I head into the museum to look at the exibits and take some pictures.

Nice items from Japan is the first place I end up at. Music instruments, paintings, ceramic, armuor, etc. Then some Buddhas. Next into the Chinese section, I’m snapping away then I notice my battery is way low. I think of Snap!! I did not charge up. I will need to be conservative with my shots.
I make the rounds on the second and third floor. Items from China, Japan, Korea, southeast Asian.

Time is up I head back to the lecture hall. I go up to the table I see someone else there a guy. Then I see the woman behind him standing and talking to some people. She sees me and says, Oh hi, your back, your in. Give him, this guy, your name and pay him then your in like flint. I say I loved that movie, thanks. The guys asks if I am on the list. I say no, another woman says just write him in. He says oh, ok I’ll do that. Then go to hand him the money he says you’ll have to wait to see if there is room. I think , huh the woman just said. But I did not. I just said ok, and stepped to the side. Thinking maybe I misunderstood the first woman. After a few moments the first woman come to me and says you can go in a grab a seat and holds the door open. I say I did not pay yet the guy would not take my money says I have to wait. She say just pay him then. she comes over to the guy and says, he is IN check him off and take his money! He is doing something but says ok, she say to me just put it there and opens the door again for me. I go in there is only about 5 people in there so far. I take a seat, second row, center, sweet. I could have had front row, but I thought it was too close to the screen. I’m thinking sweet! Just before the lecture starts in the next few minutes, the place fills up. there are no seats left. The Force was with me! It was a good lecture and interesting slides.

After the show, I run into the lady at the door she did the introduction to the speaker before the show and thanked everyone after the show. We were at the exit door at the same time. I gave her the Zen bow, and said thank you again. she returned it and said, hope to see you again.

It is nice when it all comes together. It has been awhile…




2 responses

9 08 2008

Hi its Jennifer from the Bushido code blog reached your blog from the comments and I really enjoyed your post – It is great when you have the feeling and everything just falls into place letting the force do the work

13 08 2008

This looks like a wonderful museum. Just loved your Buddha photos – the last one especially.

So pleased it all worked out for you. Wu wei in action!

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