Islanders are known to have an inborn nature of being wanderers and travelers and it was not until I landed up in China that I discovered that I too possessed such a trait. Six years in a land whose culture, lifestyle and language were unknown to me, I realized the best way to make China my home was to embrace all of it as mine and true to my islander roots, I decided to seize every opportunity to go in search of other facets of the rich Chinese culture. Thus, I became a wanderer in China and the best way to be a wanderer was to simply follow one’s instincts.
And so, while I was still in my early years of university, my wanderer instincts popped up on one evening. It was a normal chilly evening of Autumn, the sun was out, bright but not hot enough to dissipate the chill breeze that blew. I think somehow, it was that chill breeze that seemed to kindle my thirst of discovery. The flowers on my campus seemed to speak out to me on that day, they seemed to radiate a sense of peace that they wanted me to discover as well. The mountains in the far seemed to carry a new glow that day and that glow was pulling me towards them.
I simply knew that there was something hidden among those mountains that I needed to find it. It was a feeling only a fellow wanderer would understand and that is how my friend and I jumped onto the first bus that was headed in direction of those mountains. The bus drove for almost an hour through the small narrow broken roads across the small villages and fields. As we drew a little closer to the mountains, we decided to alight from the bus.
Though we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere, the mountains seemed to give us a sense of enclosure. As we walked in direction of the mountains, we realized we were still far from the mountains but the colossal concrete gateway that appeared in front of us seemed to tell us that this was we traveled for. We had no idea what was beyond that gateway but what lay within it seemed to radiate so much peace and tranquility. Whatever was inside seemed to pull us towards it.
The hesitation and fear of the unknown that we had for until a few minutes ago vanished as we cast our eyes upon the magnificent lake that stretched out a few meters from the entrance and right in the middle stood a huge structure. It looked like a monument calmly nested in the middle of the water. Still trying to figure out what this place was and whose statues those were, we made our way further inside where we came to face a huge Chinese style building with massive wooden doors. As we peeped inside, we were amazed by what we saw seven huge golden Buddha statues. There was something special about this place and those statues, their energy seemed to give out so much positivism and good energy.
As we made our way through the hall, we realized that we were surrounded by myriads of Buddha statues, of different shapes, sizes, colors and structures. A monk who dwelled upon these premises seemed to read the feeling of total amazement that was plastered onto our faces and welcomed us with a smile…
” Welcome to the tale of the Ten Thousand Buddhas…
The place where dreams become reality through the power of peace, happiness and contentment…”
Even though the monk could not really share what this place was about, we understood that this was the world famous Qishan Wan Fo Shi. Thanks to our wanderer’s instincts, we had stumbled upon a national treasure. That day was not just about quenching our thirst for discovery but the Qishan Wan Fo Shi instilled in us feelings of peace and a sense of contentment, humility and respect.
And thus, it dawned to us that Travelling for hours on that day was not just about discovering a new spot but it was about rediscovering ourselves. Often, when the routine of daily life takes over, we tend to forget about the tiny pleasures of life and the sense of peace that those pleasures bring to us and this is what the Tale of the Ten Thousand Buddhas taught us…