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Summer in a Pond by Our Monastery
- Stories Told by a Young Chinese Monk (3)

7 December 2007

No 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 quite cool.

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 from inside.

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 states.

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