The Worplesdon Post
Hyoshil – thank you for the information about the photo of Buddha which I posted. The statue does have such a peaceful expression, doesn't it? Is Buddha just said to have drifted off onto another plane of being, in that position, with his eyes open?
Thank you to all the other students who posted information about Nirvana. I still know far too little about Buddhism, but did try ‘The Teachings of Buddha’. The copy I read over the New Year was a translation from the Japanese edition, and contained quite a few cultural inferences about the position of women in society which I find hard to swallow. Who knows if they are in the ‘original’ version.
On the other hand, I particularly liked reading the anecdotes which Buddha used to illustrate points to his disciples, as they are easily accessible, concrete stories. I hope I won’t offend people by posting the one which particularly captivated me:
‘Lust is like a dry bone smeared with blood. A dog will gnaw and gnaw at the bone until he collapses, exhausted’.
I think it’s talking about escaping worldly desires… Another one which I liked was this:
‘A general is attacked by bandits while travelling in his carriage. He cannot effectively retaliate until he discovers where the bandits have their hideout’.
I think this one is about understanding cause and effect. What do you all think? Do you have any stories in your religions or traditions which have stuck in your mind?
JingJing from Beijing – hello there. Yes, your correction is 100% accurate: “I’d like to compare my country with a wonderland”. Congratulations! How long have you been learning English?
Wang Bang – hello! Zhengzhou is a really interesting city. The training college where I was working is on the outskirts, so I got a slightly distorted view of the city until I went into the centre. Where do you live now?
Leila – hi there! Nice to hear from you. Please feel free to ask me any English questions you have.
Adriana – many thanks for your sweet message. I do try to dress smartly for teaching, and to use lots of energy and encouragement, especially if there are lower level learners in the class. I think it gives students a good impression, and encourages them to learn, even if they don’t understand 100% of what's going on! Fortunately, in China I heard very few ‘jama?’ (‘What?!’) in the classroom.
Ok, so I’m back to England, and am plain old ‘Sarah’ now, no more Ma Su Lan. Which, incidentally, can sound like ‘Horse Meatball Scotland’ or ‘Mother Small Orchid’, depending on how you pronounce it. Good to know…
Best wishes from Worplesdon, and I look forward to hearing from you all soon.
• inferences = negative or positive things which someone implies when writing or speaking
• bandits = thieves who traditionally travelled on horseback and targeted people travelling by road
• to gnaw = to chew (usually done by a dog with a bone)
• to retaliate = to fight back in response to an attack
• to have a distorted view of something = to see only an inaccurate or incomplete representation of a place or a situation
• to stick in my mind = to be very memorable
• hard to swallow = difficult to accept
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