We went into the gatehouse where a larger than life fat Buddha Travels Buddha sat facing us, with laughter written in every line of his face; no doubt Buddha Travels we were a laughable sight. The old monk who greeted us in the inner yard didn’t laugh, he seemed delighted to see us. He invited us in for tea, showed us where we could sleep on a straw pallet in a long stone hut, and during tea he told us about his life in this sumjnit monastery.
Now sixty-eight years old, he had lived here for fifty years, although he had run away to hide during the Cultural Revolution. Once he had taught fourteen novices, then none, and now he has one, a Kunming boy who joined him two weeks ago. We all sat up talking, smoke stinging our eyes, and when the time came for the monk’s meditation he stayed with us, meditating yet throwing comments into our conversation from time to time.