Tuesday, January 5, 2016

In search of Zen

Today my wife and I went to Stanley. A Japanese friend of ours loves Stanley. Every time he traveled to Hong Kong he would spend a weekday afternoon there. Contemplating by the seaside cafe with a glass of Asahi, in search of mushin (無心), the quint-essential Japanese Zen.

Stanley is very crowded on Sundays. To avoid the crowd in Starbucks, we went straight to the cozy cafe on the second floor. Me the usual double expresso and my wife tried the medium strong Latte White recommended by the friendly lady owner who happened to be there today. We loved the ambience and the music. One could choose to meditate or sleep there without annoying sudden explosive noise, made by some too excited tourists. I chose the former, for a while, otherwise we just observed and chatted. All patrons absorbed themselves in their own affairs without bothering others, including a pair of endlessly talking young lovers, English speaking Chinese, sitting nearby. Outside we spotted a big husky waiting for its master, and we realized for the first time that in Stanley there is something called 'dog's parking lot'. I thought about it and suddenly realized that a frequented place can become a new and exciting place if we can let go of our preconception and experience what is immediately happening around us.

The public mini-van that took us back to Causeway Bay however created ripples to our tranquility. A group of young people seemed having some trouble with the driver inside the van when we boarded. The guy sitting behind the driver still kept using abusive language to provoke the driver while he was driving. Other members of the group kept trying to calm down this fellow called Ahmed, using Cantonese, English and their own native language, but without much success. We, including the German couple sitting next to us, were all afraid that the guy would assault the driver or the driver might lose his calm! When we finally arrived, the German gentleman told us that if such fuss happened in an Lufthansa flight, the pilot will probably call the police and the guy will end up in jail for two years. We both couples agreed that the driver should be given credit in keeping his calm. This middle aged driver just taught us the true meaning of Zen.




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