In mid Februrary 2013 I started my two months tenure as a researcher in residence in the faculty of theology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands. My research area is Chan/Zen Practice in China and the West. A few days arter my arrival, my hosting professor of Buddhism Andre van der Braak inivted me to sit in his class of Mahayana Buddhism for which I was expected to teach a couple of lectures later on. Co-inciently Jnanamati was also visiting the class through Mirjam Hartkamp's introduction. Towards the end of the class professor van der Braak invited Jnanamati to speak to the class in which I first heard Jnanamati mention the Amida Trust Order. I was curious as much as amazed. After the class I spoke to Jnanamati mostly as a way of courtesy not knowing whether we would ever meet again although I did feel like there was a sort of karmic bond there for us to meet again. Indeed it turned out that we (Jnanamati, Mirjam and I ) had a lunch right after the class and quickly found a few common interests in practice and learning. A couple of weeks later we all met again in Tilburg with Maurtis Kwee.
My recent trip to Oud Turnhout in Belgium to participate in the retreat highlighted my connection to ITZI and the Amida Order. As I shared with the folks there, I felt the warm reception, firendly fellowship and impressive and comfortable activites. "I felt like I was a fish put back in the water again", I used this metaphor in Passing the Stone activity to respond to Dharmavidia's concern for me as a first timer immersing in Amida Order or/and ITZI's retreat that resembles "the strong flavored British marmite". "Well, I have long wanted to visit UK, but have not made it so far. I am glad I have just tasted the quintessential British food as if my dream to UK is now realized", I said hearing thunderous laughters from the circle.
Two-days practice and exchanges in various ways plus the early encounters and preparation granted me the chance to become a member of ITZI. I felt deligted with it. This visit together with recent experiences in Amsterdam reinforced my conviction that I should move following my heart more than my head and that I need to set up my own project of psycho-spiritual practice integrating Buddhism and psychotherapy in Beijing. This thought has been circulating in my mind for a few years and it has never been as strong as it is now.
This is just an appitizer and I look forward to more communication and discussion with more ITZI members..
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