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Barry from Australia is a questioning soul who looks at social issues from an alternative point of view and instead of asking, “Why?”, he asks “Why not?” He’s convinced that many of his previous incarnations were spent in China. He feels drawn to the people there; attracted by their rich culture and way of life. If given one wish from God, he’d reply, “I want everyone on Earth to be the same colour, speak the same language, and treat each other as they themselves would like to be treated.”
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My China Trip - Day 21, Part 3 我的中国之行 – 第21天,第3部分    

By Barry Pittman
5383 Views | 24 Comments | 10/26/2014 5:46:08 PM

My travels in China increasingly caused me to focus more and more on things that had only peremptorily been glanced at previously.  One cannot help but be influenced by the environment one’s in and on this trip, I was living with Tina who I slowly realised had an innately different set of values to me.  This didn''t mean we were incompatible, it simply meant we each were in a good position to both learn and grow from each other. 


To love someone is not to attempt to change the other, but instead, help them reveal the greatest version of themselves.  This I felt was what was exactly occurring between Tina and I.  My character was subtlely altering whilst I was with her.  I believe the same was happening with Tina.  Somewhere, somehow we'd hopefully meet in the middle.  If the merge was successfu, then so would likely be the relationship as a whole.  If the bonding proved to be somewhat unnatural and abrasive however, then of course the partnership would be ultimately doomed.


Tina was a very gentle soul who didn’t chatter much, so when she did speak, her words were more meaningful than most.  I liked this.  She was particularly drawn to the hills and mountains and seemed aloof to many ways of the world that ordinarily would’ve caught my attention.  She admired the monks that we often came across in the Mt Emei region and from time to time, recounted to me that one day, she’d like to live for a few months with them, leading a secluded life of gardening, meditation and counseling.


Tina avidly read books such as “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” by Sogyal Rinpoche, that’s now considered to be a spiritual classic.  It’s an aid to enlightenment, to be read by the living, to hopefully be understood by the dying, and to be used as an edifying tribute to those sadly no longer with us.  It helps teach us about the impermanence of life, the inevitability of death and the need to not fear either.  This helps give you some idea of her worthy character.


Given her influence, subtley at first but then more profoundly later on, I found myself introspectively reflecting on my life in general.  One cannot help but be extremely moved by the poverty often encountered in China for example, making one realize how fortunate one is.  I witnessed many poor folk that increasingly made me realize how inherently insular and selfish many of us in the West are.  I learnt that the things I so often took for granted were in fact the same things that many poor people prayed for.  Whoever said life was fair was either a terrible liar or else a very naive soul.  Because life is most definitely NOT fair on so many levels.

鉴于她的影响,开始的时候很细微,到后来就越发明显了,我发现我自己对自己的整个的人生有不断自省的思考。 例如在中国,经常会遇到贫困, 一个人总是不由自主的被贫困所感动,会意识到他是多么的幸运。我亲见了许多不幸的人,越来越让我意识到在西方的很多的人们生来就有多孤立和自私。我认识到我经常习以为常的认为理所当然的东西,事实上是很多人可怜的人们所祈盼的。无论是谁,如果他说生活是公平的,那么他不是一位可怕的说谎者,就是一个天真的灵魂。因为在很多层面来说,生活大多数肯定是不公平的。

A wise man once said that he gave to the poor not because he had plenty, but because he remembered how he once felt to have nothing.  But this is the problem – many Westerners have never had nothing  – so how can they truly empathise with those in this situation?  Why do so many rich people want more and more  -  the more they have, the more they seemingly desire.  Avarice is truly one of the great sins.

一位智者曾说过,他给予穷人,并不是因为他拥有很多,而是因为他记得当他一无所有时的感受。但是,这就是个问题 – 很多西方人从来就不曾有过一无所有的经历 --  所以,他怎么能够真正的同情那些在此状况中的人们呢?为什么那么多有钱的人想要更多 – 他们拥有的越多,看起来他们就欲望得到越多。贪婪真的是最大的罪恶。

This trip thus was teaching me so many things.  Not just about love, but about life.  I felt I’d never be quite the same again.  Instead of merely being opinionated, crucially I was becoming informed.  Alarmingly though, some of the information being received was not to my liking, not within my Western inspired comfort level.


Though back to the story at hand.  It was the afternoon of day 21 and I was eager to fully embrace what was left of it.  Following her siesta, Tina asked,  


“Do you wish to see the new Buddhist temple being built?”


“Sure, this sounds like fun!”, I replied.


What Tina didn’t tell me however, was the walk to the temple would be a little more arduous than normal.  We generally hiked around two hours each day, but on this afternoon, our exercise would be double this amount. It would lead to a fascinating new half constructed monastery being built on top of one of the far hills around Shawan


Slipping on our well used walking shoes and carrying a bottle of water each, we enthusiastically set sail.    “Great stuff!”, I thought to myself, as hiking in the ever beckoning hills was never a chore for me.  The scenery was so different to what I was accustomed to in Australia, that now paled in comparison as far as views and overall interest was concerned, compared to here.


Another bonus of venturing into the hills was that the deeper we went, the cleaner the air became.  I was continually disappointed by the obvious pollution found in Shawan itself;  I was continually uplifted however, whenever I was able to head out into the absorbing countryside around it.


“This is so much more interesting than home!” was the phrase that often popped into my head on these walks.  Or to be more accurate, the words that I generally thought were, “This shits all over Brisbane!”


Increasingly I was finding that this trip was turning into more of a hiking holiday than anything else.  I loved it.  Not everyone would feel this way however, especially many of the old or otherwise lazy farts out there who’d prefer to sit in a coffee shop or restaurant rather than being out in the bush.  My previous trips to China had focused on being one of these lethargic farts, staying in urban areas such as Shanghai, Nanjing or Hangzhou but this adventure was so much better.


After walking up and down many little foothills for about ninety minutes, traipsing between dozens of small farmers’ crops of corn, beans and melons, finally the new temple came into sight in the distance.  It was a partly constructed, large building perched at the top of a hill, looking quite majestic in its own way.  Upon seeing it, Tina and I accelerated our pace, as we only had a couple of hours daylight left. 


As we made the final ascent, clambering up quite a steep and tricky muddy path, suddenly a monk appeared out of nowhere.  He seemed to be the only person there.  I immediately pulled out my camera and started taking a few shots, but he waved me away, looking a little displeased.  Tina then spoke to him and he relaxed a little, learning that we lived in the district, meant no harm and simply wanted to take a look around if he didn't mind.


The monk smiled and then gestured for us to follow him and we were escorted into the mysterious edifice itself, walking up several sets of stairs to reach the top.  Half completed artwork and various other colourful artifacts were evident.  Buddha statues of varying sizes also lay around,  yet to be finally put into their permanent place.  Strange stuff indeed.


As I gazed around in wonderment at all of this, I realized how lucky I was.  How many Westerners were able to be given a personal guided tour into the very bowels of a partly completed temple, by a genuine Buddhist monk?


The gentleman explained that the construction of the Temple was funded entirely from donations, many from wealthy Chinese expats, especially those living in the USA. He said it may take twelve or fifteen years before finally being finished.  They say Rome wasn’t built in a day and it appeared nor were budding Buddhist temples!


The poignancy of the moment wasn't lost on me.  I felt closer to Buddhism than any other religion.  How many thousands of Christians had been slaughtered in God’s name during the time of the Crusades?  How many Muslims had killed or been killed in the name of Allah?  How many Hindus had been slaughtered in many sectarian wars over the centuries? To me, all religions except for Buddhism were hypocritical.  I’m sure that if there was in fact an omnipotent God, he’d be mighty displeased at the abhorrent violence insitigated in His name over the years.  Talk about wanton and outrageous blasphemy.


Musing upon all of this, a song I'd heard long before started involuntarily playing in my mind.  A thought provoking ballad called “Into My Arms” by Nick Cave. 

这让我觉得很有意思。很久以前我听到的一首歌开始不自觉的在我心里反复的演唱。一首相当有争议的民谣,NICK CAVE演唱的“来到我的怀抱中”

"I don't believe in an interventionist God             我不相信上帝

But I know, darling, that you do                           但是亲爱的,我知道你相信

But if I did I would kneel down and ask Him        但是如果我跪下问他

Not to intervene when He came to you               当他走向你的时候不要干涉你

Not to touch a hair on your head                         不要触碰你头上的任一根头发

To leave you as you are                                      就让你保持你的原样

And if He felt He had to direct you                       如果他觉得需要指导你

Then direct you into my arms                              请将你指引向我的怀抱

Into my arms, O Lord                                           请来到我的怀抱,啊,上帝

Into my arms, O Lord                                           请来到我的怀抱,啊,上帝

Into my arms, O Lord                                            请来到我的怀抱,啊,上帝

Into my arms                                                        

And I don't believe in the existence of angels      我不相信天使的存在

But looking at you I wonder if that's true               但是看着你,我不知道是否是真的

But if I did I would summon them together            如果我真的将它们召唤在一起

And ask them to watch over you                             我会让他们来保护你

To each burn a candle for you                                 每人为你点燃一支蜡烛

To make bright and clear your path                         照亮你的前路

And to walk, like Christ, in grace and love               跟基督一样,在亲抱和爱之中行走

And guide you into my arms                                    将你导引到我的怀抱

Into my arms, O Lord

Into my arms, O Lord

Into my arms, O Lord

Into my arms

And I believe in Love                                                 我相信爱

And I know that you do too                                       我知道你也相信

And I believe in some kind of path                           我相信一些道路

That we can walk down, me and you                       我们可以一起行走的道路,你和我

So keep your candles burning                                  所以,让你的蜡烛继续燃烧

And make her journey bright and pure                     让她的旅程明亮而纯静

That she will keep returning                                      这样她可以回来

Always and evermore                                                总是这样,或是更多

Into my arms, O Lord

Into my arms, O Lord

Into my arms, O Lord

Into my arms"

One of the key components of this song is that Nick Cave questions the presence of a discrete God, yet doesn't in any way doubt or diminish the reality and the power of love.  This was why I continually felt touched by Tina, she’d seen me at my worst but yet still smiled and loved me anyway.  One day, I hoped I'd be able to love myself as strongly as she seemed to care for me.


For those who can access it, this moving tune can be seen at


Interrupting my introspective reverie however, I suddenly noticed the sun was beginning to seriously disappear over the horizon.


“We’d better head home before it gets dark!” I whispered urgently to Tina.  She looked a little startled but quickly nodded and then politely thanked the monk in Chinese on behalf of both of us for his time and generosity. We smiled and bowed to each other.  I inherently sensed the memories of this fascinating day would remain with me for many years.


I knew also that we’d left it a bit late to head the long hike home and we’d need to traverse some of the tricky hill tracks in less than ideal conditions.


“Oh the joys of online Chinese dating!”, I thought to myself.  “Stepping on a snake or sliding down a mountain in the dark on the way back is all we need!”  Some of the winding tracks we'd traversed to reach here were quite muddy, steep and slippery, a challenge in broad day light.  Risky in low light.  Downright dangerous in no light.  A brooding unease involuntarily beset me.  A chill wind ran down my spine.


 To be continued in Day 21, Part 4

待续 – 第21天,第4部分

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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#2014-11-05 14:24:37 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Barry, in spite of the lack of any Fart jokes (or perhaps especially because of it), of all the articles you've posted in this series, this may be the very best. Your take on what makes a good, and sound, relationship is very compelling. Your description of Tina shows a new and admirable depth in your feelings for her. And some of your thoughts on the likes of us Western men deserve some serious consideration. I highly recommend that everyone take the time to read this.

Some of what you've written here is quite profound.

And then, to cap it all off, you leave us in real suspense at the end, Indiana Jones style. I can't speak for everyone, but I for one hope you and Tina don't die! (wasntme)

#2014-11-05 16:54:50 by ferlo @ferlo

@Barry Pitman I totally agree with John. This is one of the best with a profound meaning.
Since the first article I have never missed one and always looking for the next.
Congratulations Barry and congratulations to Tina who somehow is the motor of your writing. Very well done.

#2014-11-05 21:46:27 by anonymous12432 @anonymous12432

It's interesting that John was critical of Map1 and his utilization of a Christian worldview and how it influences every facet of his life. While throughout Barry's description he writes of his admiration of Buddhism and criticism of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism etc.He also peppers his narrative throughout the 21 days in China with Tina with religious references. I thought we're supposed to be tolerant and respectful of each other's beliefs. Or does tolerance extend to every other worldview but a Christian on?

#2014-11-06 07:37:17 by Barry1 @Barry1


"Some of what you've written here is quite profound."

Thanks for this, John.

Ideal aims for an article are to both inform as well as to entertain. Sometimes I achieve this, sometimes I don't. I'm glad though that you enjoyed what I wrote in this particular piece. :)

#2014-11-06 09:20:06 by zqy2014 @zqy2014

Hi Barry,

Enjoy to read this article, really insightful for me to feel.Yes, seems you have been a little bit positively influenced by Tina or have seen or experienced during the journey from your later blog,congratulations!

Yes, it is very correct that "To love someone is not to attempt to change the other, but instead, help them reveal the greatest version of themselves.".Although it is hard to achieve but it is truth. When you receive more affirmation, encouragement and intelligently guiding you to be yourself from someone, then he/she is the potential right one for you and try not let him/her leave.

Trip is not only a simple trip and it can tell us more about ourselves,others and the life as you said "Increasingly I was finding that this trip was turning into more of a hiking holiday than anything else." When the time and finance is alloweable,we should try to participate more trips.

As for the paragraphy of religion,yes, good religion often tell us how to be kind,respectful,peaceful and harmony to be with ourself, the others around and the world.However, all our problems & conflicts with others are orginally from our internal problems and conflicts.If we can't be for a good selves, we can't be a good person for others around and the world.

Through your series blog, I understand Tina is a very kind, quiet and peaceful person.She is very brave, strong, postive and has a big heart to face all situations that the life gives, You are lucky to meet her and have chance to step closer and living with her.For some extent, she is an angle who has been brightening up everyone to be near and every place she has reached... Sincerely wish you could have a good result in the end!

Good article and keep going on !

#2014-11-06 16:44:34 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

@anonymous12432 - with all due respect Barry has written 38 blog articles, a substantial number of forum threads and roughly 500 comments in the blogs and forum, and has occasionally in those referred to various religions. My best estimate would be that at the very most he has referenced religion in 5% of his writings, probably much less. He tends to prefer Buddhism as his religion of choice but he also quotes sometimes from the bible or the teachings of Christ in a very favourable manner. Barry is a frequent contributor who occasionally discusses religion as it comes into play in the course of his articles.

Map1, on the other hand, has written relatively few comments and no articles or forum threads as best I can recall, but the majority of his comments (more than 80% I would estimate) have been liberally laced with preaching the Christian religion. As opposed to it coming up in conversation, as it does with Barry, Map1 is clearly raising it over and over again as his favourite topic for discussion. I can assure you that were a person of the Moslem, or Hindu, or Jewish, or Buddhist or any other faith come on our site and preach to our members in most of his or her comments, we would stop approving them. For that matter, if someone came on and overly preached to the members about the superiority of his or her nationality, or political beliefs, or any other beliefs that are not relevant to why our members are here, we would stop approving their comments.

It is worth noting however, that other than Map1, nobody has ever come close to having us suggest censoring their comments for reasons of over expressing their religious or political fervor to the point of it becoming preachy. If all the other members of the many varied and followed religions can rightly refrain from preaching their beliefs to the members of CLM, why should Map1 not be expected to reciprocate the respect and courtesy they are showing him.

#2014-11-07 07:00:50 by Barry1 @Barry1


"This is one of the best with a profound meaning."

Thanks for this, Ferlo.

My aim in these articles is to hopefully entice other men to follow in my footsteps. I'm sure many guys would read my articles and hopefully they'll be given a bit of incentive to do what I've done.

But if somewhere along the line, I can also add a bit of meaning or add a message to what I say, as opposed to simply spinning a yarn, this is iceing on the cake. The challenge is to do this without boring everyone. Sometimes I achieve this goal; sometimes I don't.

Thanks again for your kind words, Ferlo. (handshake)

#2014-11-07 07:07:26 by Barry1 @Barry1


"He also peppers his narrative throughout the 21 days in China with Tina with religious references"

Thanks for the laugh you gave me, Anon12432. I hadn't realised I sermonised so much in my articles. I think Tina's influence is clearly showing in me here. :D

I hope you continue to critique what I write. Because by doing this, I know that at at one person reads what I write (apart from John Abbot, the moderator).

Well done and thank you for your honest thoughts, Anon12432. I hope to read more of them. (y)

#2014-11-07 07:19:03 by Barry1 @Barry1


"really insightful for me to feel"

Thanks for your comments, Lily.

Tina is indeed having a wonderful influence on me. Through her gentle ways, I'm in turn learning to be more patient and gentle myself. But the question is - how long will this change last for, once I'm separated from her? When she's in China and I'm home in Australia. You were very correct when you said that unless one is truly at peace inside oneself, then how can one ever be fully at peace with the world as a whole? These are things I'm wondering about quite often.

I am indeed lucky to have met Tina and am sure that I'm a better person when I'm with her. This illustrates beautifully my assertion that ""To love someone is not to attempt to change the other, but instead, help them reveal the greatest version of themselves."

Thank you so much for your generous and thoughtful comments, Lily. Many blessings to you. (f)

#2014-11-07 07:48:35 by Barry1 @Barry1


"Barry has written 38 blog articles, a substantial number of forum threads and roughly 500 comments in the blogs and forum"

Thanks for this, John. I'm happy that on CLM, my limited number of articles have provoked more comments to be made about them in total than others. These statistics can easily be seen by clicking on the pictures of the bloggers on the blogging home page and viewing their statistics such as "comments", "number of articles", etc.

With regard to Anon12342, I think what he wrote is not meant to be taken too seriously. I don't in any way diminish or deprecate what he wrote, as they were thoughtful words. But I think ideas like this, whether right or wrong - ADD to the quality of the blogs, rather than take anything away from them.

Put another way, his thoughts in turn make others think. Better still, they may even make others actively contribute to the debate. This then will foster more interest in the blogs generally, as a little bit of controversy here and there is a good thing, promoting discussion and maybe even engendering a little excitement. (beer)

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