Sunday, June 13, 2010

Zhenru Monastery -- Part three

My interview with Abbot Yi Chen of Zhenru monastery was much briefer than I hoped, mainly because the government cadre who had been appointed to watch over us insisted that it not last longer than an hour. Another problem arose that such commonly understood Buddhist terms as Heart Sutra or Prajnaparamita in English aren't the same in Chinese, so unless the translator is knowledgeable, it takes a bit of jockeying around to discover what is meant.
Despite its brevity my article was published in several places in the U.S. and Europe, including San Francisco Zen Center's Windbell magazine. It showed perhaps for the first time that chan monasteries exist in modern China. I interviewed three more temple abbots in the early 1990's, but none of these conversations had the same effect.

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