The reason I desire to study Chinese is simple; it gives me a sense of tranquility, visual pleasure and intellectual stimulation. I first came into contact with the Chinese language in a monastery while on a vacation in Korea. Studying Chinese has offered some sort of a direction in life which has provided me certain goals to aim to which has given me a sense of balance, peace and meaning. I have taken up a number of callings, teaching being one of them; I have come to realize that it rewards me in several ways, intellectually and spiritual fulfillment being some of them.
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In my early years of school, I was a fidgety and a taxing child to my parents, luckily I had intelligent parents who handled me professionally and gave me direction in life instead of just punishing me and not directing me. From the 5th grade to the 8th grade, they took me to Hap Chon Monastery where I spent the days and assisted the Buddhist monks in performing in daily tasks. During my first days, I laid my eyes on the 80,000 page volume Koryo canon, an ancient holy Buddhist history. It was as if I could feel energy reverberating from all the knowledge and wisdom it contained. This feeling and curiosity escalated as began assisting the monks in writing the texts in Chinese characters. Watching the brush come into contact with the scripts as the monks wrote gave me an insatiable thirst that could only be quenched by learning to do what they did, learn the Chinese language. My whole experience during my stay in the monastery gave me an interest in studying the language but the one that really got me interested was the grace with which the monks painted those Chinese characters.
When I went back home, I began studying anything and everything about the Chinese language that I could find. I started trying to replicate those characters that I could, this brought flooding memories of the time that I had at the monastery and this only served to heighten my love for the language. Later, on I realized that the patience that it takes to learn how to write the language is like a metaphor that guides one on how to live your life. The reason is that it requires a sense of subtlety and strength, cautiousness and audacity at the same time and being able to the sum from the smaller objects, this combined, is like a metaphor to the everyday life. This realization has helped me get through tough times several times.
In order to further my knowledge in the language, I have used my passion and enthusiasm to try and pass my knowledge to others. For instance, I have participated in numerous conferences, a major one being the 28th Annual Confucius Memorial Ceremony in Cupertino. Having improved on my knowledge of the Chinese language; I began tutoring a beginners’ class at DVC. Knowing that I’m passing on my knowledge of the language to others gives me a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment as the ancient Chinese saying goes, whenever you give another person flowers, a little scent always remains on your hands.
Having realized this early in my life, my path and destiny in life which is to study the Chinese language gives me joy and a sense of direction in life given that most people of my age haven’t yet discovered their paths in life. For me, studying Chinese accomplishes two very important things in my life, joy in doing what I love to do and helps me be a better person with strong characters.
Personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution
Ever since I came to America four years ago, I have been attending church regularly; the reason is that I had strong Christian roots instilled in me by my parents. When I was young, I accompanied my mother together with other missionaries as well as other medical personnel on a Christian mission to Mongolia. My mother who was a nurse had accompanied the missionaries to go and spread the word of God and at the same time she offered her services to the needy people there. At first, I was hesitant to go but then I remembered the Christian teachings that said it is good to help those who are in need. I had been brought up by Christian parents who would wish me to be like them when I grew up. The respect I had for my parent would not allow me to disobey or do against what they taught me to do. This was the reason why I voluntarily wished to accompany my mother.
During the first few days of our missionary works, I encountered several alien traditions, some good, while others were very strange. At the same time, there were some peculiar ones like the one in which all the family members were supposed to sleep naked in one small room known as ‘Ger’. According to their customs, traditions and beliefs, they believed that they had to sleep with all the members of three previous generations of the families. At time, this resulted into incest which led to the spread of venereal diseases, in some cases, as much as 95% of one family had contracted some sort of some venereal disease. This realization made question what I was doing there and why we had even gone to such people who practiced everything that was against our teachings and beliefs but I remembered it was my faith that took me there. I remembered that Christianity teachings taught us to help those who are in need and help spread the teachings to those who haven’t been taught yet.
I have never seen people working with as much grace and passion as my mother. On the third day, I accompanied my mother on her call of duty to treat people. The conditions were very poor but she treated them for three consecutive days without complaining and without any form of payment, she said that the joy she brought them was more than enough payment. I felt as if my mother was being exploited but after realizing that she was work on a voluntary basis, I realized Christianity teachings always stress on sacrifice. I therefore, wished to grow with the same spirit as my mother. This only served to strengthen my beliefs in Christianity. She could not communicate with them because of the communication barriers but the love she showed them was more than conversing. She devoted herself in doing her calling with the highest professionalism and passion, whenever she went she always left people happy. From her, I learnt that whatever you do always do it with passion and all your heart and soon you are bound to succeed. Her love for the people even though they had strange practices rubbed off on me and soon I realized why we were there, to help educate the people.
During the five days that we were in Mongolia, I learnt so much from what I observed and from the numerous sermons that were conducted by the preachers we were with. It implanted in my mind the meaning of selflessness and the spiritual philosophies of missionary work. According to my faith, we are taught that love for all mankind no matter how they are or their belief and practices is the greatest gift that God has given us as Christians. From the missionary work, I also learnt that showing other people love and smiling to them are two universal languages that don’t need to be taught they are in born and they can be used effectively to communicate with any foreign and unfamiliar people in the world. I also learnt that sharing with others what we have is not only helpful to those who are in need but also helps those ones who are giving it with overflowing happiness, blessings from the most high and it serves to give our lives meaning and value.