Ego and I are good mates, others either much older than us
or several years younger. No Ego entered the monastery before
me, and was placed in front of the temple when he was a baby.
No one knows where he came from and who his parents are -
the person who left him at temple gate didn’t leave any clue,
such as a note.
Around our monastery there is a pond.
When I just came here, No Ego and I often went there to play.
In the summer,
lotus blossom beautifully, and cicadas hum and frogs croak.
Even on the warmest days, the mountain evenings are still
A few springs find their way to the pond, but their main
water source came from rain.
When we collected lotus
roots in the pond, we washed them in a stream and peeled
off the thin skin with a little knife, and the roots would
be as white and clean as fresh snow, ready for eat.
Apart from lotus, there are also escargots (田螺) grown in
the pond. These little creatures are heavily armoured with
a hard shell and have a firm cover on the top, better protected
against mud and dirt than lotus. But we heard that when villagers
fish out escargots, they have to put them in clean water
mixed with a few drops of sesame oil. After a while the water
would become terribly filthy as the escargots spill out dirt
It seems while both living in the muddy pond, the lotus
with thin skin are more clean than the escargots who have
strong shield screening themselves from their impure environment.
My master says that it is because although the outside conditions
do have impact on our lives, what truly matters is our inside
Life in a Monastery