转录-Bob Stahl


  But high education costs coincide with slower growth of the Chinese
economy and surging unemployment among recent college graduates. Whether
young people like Ms. Wu find jobs on graduation that allow them to earn
a living, much less support their parents, could test China’s ability to
maintain rapid economic growth and preserve political and social
stability in the years ahead。

Bob: So I got involved in Buddhism in practicing meditation probably in
the early 1970s. Growing up, when I was 4 years old, I hit my first
experiences- crying everyone was gonna die. It can happen at any moment.


  Leaving the Village

TT: When you are a 4 year old?Bob: Yea and that was a very powerful
moment in my life-realize that it was not quite gonna last. Then the
next 5 years, I was visited by a lot of death. With my brother, my
younger brother with a ?? illness. We shared a room together. My best
friend who I played with every day after school and she died one night-
went into a diabetic coma. And then my grandfather who lived downstaris
and whom I was very close to. So by the time I was 9, it’s very extreme
and very big loses in my life.  It was a very challenging time growing
up. This was the middle in the United States and the middle of the
Vietnam War. The middle.??. they hear along. There was a lot of unrest
in the 1960s. That’s when I grew up.

  Part III Listening Comprehension

  The ancient village of Mu Zhu Ba is perched on a tree-covered crag
overlooking a steep-sided mountain gorge in southwestern Shaanxi
province, deep in China’s interior, 900 miles southwest of Beijing. The
few scarce acres of flat land next to a stream on the valley floor were
reserved until recently for garden-size plots of rice, corn and

TT: You were in the east coast, in Boston? Bob: East coast in Boston. I
was very lost and very confused within a year. So then I barely
graduated in high school because I wasn’t really interested at all in
school. Didn’t make any sense. But then many of my friends went off to
college. I got a draft number so I did not have to go to the military.
You know the war was happening but I was glad. But I was very confused.
I ended up doing another year of high school. And then I thought I might
as well go to college since all my other friends went to college so I
did about a year of high school and I got into a college in Lyndon,
Vermont. The reason I wanted to go was that I really got into downhill
skiing. So I went to the school in Lyndon, Vermont. I majored in skiing,
and getting drunk, smoking marijuana, and trying to get girl friends.

  Listening Passage 1

  Villagers were subsistence farmers. Every adult and all but the
youngest children worked from dawn to dusk, planting, weeding,
hand-watering and harvesting rice, corn and vegetables to feed
themselves. They also built and maintained three-foot-wide terraces
where the sides of the valley began to curve upward before turning into
vertiginous, forested slopes that soared into the clouds。

TT: Trying to? Bob: Yea. I wasn’t that successful. I ended up flunking
out after my second year of college. And I was re-admitted background
warning. Academic warning and my mother xx me, “Wasn’t there something
that would interest you?” I didn’t want to do anymore reading, writing,
and everything, in particular anything. And I happen to see in the
course catalog something about the wisdom of the East. So I shared with
you earlier. Even growing up, I’ve always had the love of Chinese food
and going to Chinese restaurants since I was a little boy. When I saw
the word- wisdom of the East, there was association that East have to do
with China. Then I remember, you know, the pictures of the big Buddhas,
the dragons, and the colors. There’s something mystical about it to me.
Something I felt allured to. So I am gonna take this class. I have no
idea what it’s about. Below it, it said Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, and
I didn’t know anything about any of that.  TT: It’s one class? Bob: It’s
one class. Yes. It’s called the wisdom of the East- Hinduism, Buddhism,
and Daoism. So I went to this class. I walked in and I was shocked to
see that my professor was sitting on top of his desk, not on a chair, in
a full lotus position. I’ve never seen a professor like this before.

  Donna Fredrick’s served with the Peace Corps for two years in
Brazil. She joined the Peace Corps after she graduated from the college
because she wanted to do something to help other people. She had been
brought up on a farm, so the Peace Corps assigned her to a agricultural
project. Before she went to Brazil, she studied Portuguese for three
months. She also learnt a great deal about its history and culture.
During her two years with the Peace Corps, Donna lived in a village in
northeast Brazil. That part of Brazil is very dry and farming is often
difficult there. Donna helped the people of the village to organise an
arrigation project, and she also advised them on planting corps. They
didn’t require much water. When Donna returned to the States, she
couldn’t settle down. She tried several jobs, but they seemed very
boring to her. She couldn’t get Brazil out of her mind. Finally, one day
she got on an plane and went back to Brazil. She wasn’t sure what she’s
going to do. She just wanted to be there. After a few weeks, Donna found
a job as an English teacher, teaching five classes a day. Like most of
the teachers, she doesn’t make much money. She shares a small apartment
with another teacher. And she makes a little extra money by sending
stories to newspapers in the States. Eventually she wants to quit
teaching and work as a full-time journalist。

  The relentless work left little opportunity for education. Mrs. Cao,
now 39, learned to read some Chinese characters at first- and
second-grade classes conducted in her village. But later grades were
taught at a school in a larger village at the other end of the valley, a
seven-mile walk away, and Mrs. Cao dropped out in third grade。

TT: Is he Chinese, the professor? Bob: No. He’s American. His name is
Bill Jackson. And I never saw anyone like this before. As he began to
talk, the way that he talked, the way that he presented himself amazed
me. This was very different than a regular professor.

  Question 16

  Her husband, now 43, grew up in a similarly poor village on the
other side of the mountain and did not attend school at all。

TT: How does he present himself? Bob: There was certain type of quiet,
humility, kindness, intelligence, and curiosity combined. The ethos of
him combined. And he assigned us to read and start studying and reading
the Tao Te Ching so I started reading the Tao.  TT: In the class? Bob:
In the class. This was a beautiful translation by xx. I just fell in
love with the Tao Te Ching. Up to that point, I’ve never been exposed to
any type of literature like this or thought about that. I never knew
that people thought about like that. It opened my door, my heart, my
eyes. The wisdom of Lao Tzu is so simple and so profound, and so common
sense that I just fell in love with the Tao Te Ching. Then I keep on
reading. There are certain epigrams I read over and over again. One of
them is epigram 47. It says, “no need to look ouside your window for
everything you need to know is inside you.” There’s a little bit more
but that part paricularly. But I began to realize if I want to know
something about myself, I need to look inside here. And up to that point
in my life, I never thought into that. I never heard that type of idea-
to look inside yourself. And that began my meditative journey.

  Why did Donna join the Peace Corps after she graduated from college?

  They married early, and Mrs. Cao had just turned 20 when she gave
birth to Ms. Wu. The couple earned just $25 a month. As their baby grew
into a toddler, they began worrying that she would inevitably drop out
of school early if she had to walk so far to classes every day. So like
hundreds of millions of other Chinese over the last two decades, they
decided to leave their ancestral village and their families。

TT: Do you remember which year is that? Bob: This was in 1974 or 73. And
so Bill Jackson was, from the Buddhist point of view, like my heavenly
messenger. The heavenly message is the awakening to the realities of
aging, illness, and death. And then the monk, the one who has become
awaken; the ones who didn’t have. And Bill, he was definitely like a
heavenly messenger. By his example, he showed there’s another way to
look at life. So that’s how I began to practice meditation. Then I got
more formal when I moved to San Francisco when I studied at graduate
school. I began taking Vippassana mediation retreats.  TT: It’s very
interesting. There are 2 points I heard from what you said just now. One
is about the death. You witnessed several deaths of people who were so
close to you. Then the wisdom of the East. The message was given by your
teacher. But here in the MBSR teacher training, we talk about “suffer” a
lot. I was wondering this is like a time travel. You are talking in your
previous years, in 1970s, experiences that have brought you to this
journey.  Bob: Yea. So I began practicing mediation, and reading about
the wisdom of the East. I just get so intrigued. That led me to SF to
get a master’s degree in counseling psychology where I continued to
study Hinduism, Buddhism, and I was introduced to a Vipassana meditation
teacher. I got so into Vipassana. She said to me (It was a woman and her
name is Rina Sircar) do you want to come to Burma and meet my teacher? I
said yes. So I traveled with her and some of her other students at the
Southeast Asia department. I met her teacher who is a Buddhist monk. His
name is Taungpulu Sayadaw. I ordained with him as a Buddhist monk.
Several months later, we were bringing the monks to the United States.
We were renting a house outside of SF. Saydaw said how about we find a
place and buy it and start a monastery. So we moved the people from the
place near Santa Curz where we lived into forrest. We raised enough
money. We bought a forrest monastry and I ended up living there for
eight and half years studying very intensively the Dharma and practicing
mediation. I also finished my PhD in philosophy and religion at that
time.  TT: At the same time?  Bob: Yea. I was living in the monastery.
the school is in SF.  TT: It sounds to me- it sounds so natural that it
just unfolded and the path came to you.  Bob: yea. Just following the
sutra of the Dharma. The Dharma shows me everything. I don’t have a
choice. The Dharma told me what to do. Hehe in some way.  TT: So when
you talk about the memories or the past, some images came out? So when
you talk about what has happened, like the red wood, like the place you
started your intensive practice for many years, what type of images?
 Bob: I think the deeppest images-the relationship that I had with my
teacher. Taungpulu Sayadaw was the head teacher. He died in 1986 that he
left the number 2 olddest teacher, Hlaing Tet Sayadaw , to be in the
monastery. I lived with Hlaing Sayadaw for 8 and half years. He’s like
my father and I loved him so much. He taught me so much, by example of
the Dharma. So I think the teaching of the Sayadaw and his embodiment is
the deeppest image that I have. I lived with him for eight and half
years and he’s the most contentted human being I really ever met. I
lived with him for eight and half years so you get sense of a person if
you live there for a long time. He was just incrediblly content and he
didn’t need anything materialy. But yet material thing wasn’t xx. He was
also incredibly humble. He was increbly quiet. You know everybody has a
personality so he had a personality but his personality was such that he
didn’t have any needs to be known, or  to be seen. Like if you went into
a room, some people are very charismatic. He was the opposite of
charisma. If you went into a room you might notice someone nap before we
notice him. He just didn’t have that energy of being noticed even. So
one day I just looked at him. Who is this guy? This guy is so oddly,
content with himself. I wanted to be around him. So so many nights I
would just be with him and massage his feet and I just listen to him
breathe. His breath would take me to the deepest forrest.            

  Question 17

  “All the parents in the village want their children to go to
college, because only knowledge changes your fate,” Mrs. Cao said。

TT:  Really sounds like your father.  Bob: yea. He’s my father. I mean I
am blessed with another father, my birth father who I love deeply.
Hlaing Sayadaw is my another father. I loved him very very deeply. I was
his son.  TT: Eight and half years with him.  Bob: Yea with him but all
in all I studied with him for 25 years until he died.  TT: It’s in your
20s? Bob: I was in my 20s.  TT: And you learned from him for 25 years.
Bob: yea until he died.  TT: He’s a critical person who has influenced
you a lot.  Bob: yea, yea.  TT: So it sounds very natrual that you chose
the life in monastery. What brought you out? Did you answer this
question a lot? I saw the smile.  Bob: I’ve definitely answered it with
a longer version or a shorter version.    TT: How do you feel now?

  What was Donna assigned to do in Brazil?

  By the time Ms. Wu reached middle school, the crystalline mountain
air of Mu Zhu Ba was a dim memory. The family had moved to Hanjing, a
coal mining community on the plains of northern Shaanxi province, nearly
300 miles northeast of their ancestral village。

Bob: It’s the right thing. It’s the right thing to do. How I left was
that…While I was living in the monastery, because of my history, I am
working with death and this was also attracting me- The monks go to
cemetery every month to do some mindfulness of death meditation. I also
really need to go to cemetry, meditating on the death, my own death, and
everything’s death. Then I decided I want to work for a hospice. While I
was living in the monastery, volunteering with the people dying. So I
began to that as well. I was looing at monastery, people who dying. Then
I got assigned a young woman, my age, was dying of a brain tumor. She
lived very close to monastery. Then I began to help support and
voluntter there to help her and her family. She had two sons. Her
husband had left them during the middle of her second brain surgery. So
I started caring for her and something very strange happened to me. I
fell in love with her. And I was not looking for love. She’s all swollen
with steroids and she was missing the top of her head. She had brain.
They had taken out the top of her skull and it got infected. So they had
to take out the top of her skull. She just had a skin flap. But there’s
something about her just opened my heart, in such a deep way. And her
mother eventually had a neverous breakdown and left. I ended up becoming
the primary care giver for her and her two boys. She opened my heart to
love in a way that I never experienced. And I for her, I promised her I
would stay with her till she either got better or if she died, I would
stay with her till her last breath. I would take care of her, I promised
her. And I ended up living there. I go back and forth between there and
monastery. It’s closeby but towards the end, she really needed a lot of
help so I stayed there and took care of her. I was with her till her
last breath. The next door neighbors became the gardian of the two boys
because I hadn’t worked in 10 years. I didn’t have any money. So,
anyways, I went back to Boston to be with my family for about a month
and I came back to Cal to monastery. There was a nurse that worked on
the case helping to take care of the woman that was dying. She was a
good friend to me. Her name is Jan and she had been there the whole
time. And after Daisy died, that nurse said why don’t we just go for a
walk and we’ll talk. She had been there and she helped out so much. It
was so easy to be with this woman, Jan. And that was 27 years ago. Jan
and I ended up getting married. She’s the nurse. I really felt like
Daisy opened up my heart to love and Jan was really the partner. So
that’s how I left the monastery. I didn’t exepect that to happen but my
heart just started to open and  My teacher Sayadaw, he was so accepting
and understaning. He was really quite amazing. Some years after,
sometimes go back all the way if I stayed at the monastery, I’d been a
monk and maybe I would’ve gotten enlightened or whatever.

  Question 18

  A Coal Miner’s Daughter

TT: You had that thought?

  Why did Donna go back to Brazil once again?

  Mr. Wu built the family’s two-room brick house himself. They bought
their first small refrigerator, a coal stove and a used stereo, and a
bare light bulb for the living room and another for the bedroom。

Bob: Oh yea. I had some regret, even though I was very glad to be
married too. But as time went on, I think realizing that my practices is
my life. The monastery is in my heart. It’s not outside of me. And being
in relationship and having chilldren, I never would have known about
being a husband or father.

  Question 19

  The house, on the town’s rural outskirts, was across a two-lane
paved road from a small coal mine where Mr. Wu learned to maneuver a
shoulder-carried, 45-pound electric drill in narrow spaces far under the
earth, working long shifts and coming home covered with coal dust. He
earned nearly $200 a month then, providing more money to educate their
daughter. In the family bedroom, where calendar posters of the actress
Zhang Ziyi had been plastered on the wall for extra insulation, Mrs. Cao
carefully kept all of her daughter’s school papers. Wu Caoying was in
seventh grade, but her village school was already teaching her geometry
and algebra at a level beyond most American seventh graders. She was
also studying geography, history and science, filling homework notebooks
with elegant penmanship。

  How did Donna make extra money to support herself?

  The problem was English, an increasingly important subject for
students who wanted to qualify for anything but the worst universities。


  The village had an English teacher, and Ms. Wu started learning the
language in fourth grade. But then the teacher left, so she was not able
to study English during fifth and sixth grade。


  Ms. Wu resumed English classes in the seventh grade, but her mother
was concerned and began hiring substitute teachers as English tutors for
her daughter。

  Mrs. Cao said that she was convinced that this would help her
daughter become the first in the family to attend college. “If we had
not come here, she would have needed to stay home, to help cook and cut
wood,” Mrs. Cao said。

  But their financial sacrifices were only beginning。

  For high school, Wu Caoying began attending a government-run
boarding school two miles from the family’s house. Many high schools in
China are boarding schools, an arrangement that allows local governments
to impose hefty fees on parents. Tuition was $165 a semester. Food was
$8 a week. Books, tutorials and exam fees were all extra。

  Boarding School

  Ms. Wu and seven other teenage girls had bunk beds in a cramped
dormitory room. She dressed better than the other girls, in a tight blue
coat her mother had just given her for Chinese New Year。

  She woke at 5:30 every morning to study, had breakfast at 7:30, then
attended classes from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30, 1:30 to 5:30 in the afternoon
and 7:30 to 10:30 in the evening. For entertainment, there were
occasional showings of patriotic movies. She studied part of the day on
Saturdays and Sundays. But she also joined a volunteer group that
visited the elderly — social work that might help on a college
application in the United States but not in China, where the national
entrance exam for universities is all-important。

  Mr. Wu no longer worked at the coal mine across the street, which
had been closed because of a combination of safety regulators’ concerns
and depletion of the coal seam. He had become a migrant once more,
taking a job 13 hours away by train at a coal mine in a northern desert.
Mr. Wu worked 10-hour shifts up to 30 consecutive days. Safety standards
were lower at the new mine, in an industry that kills thousands of
Chinese miners in industrial accidents each year and maims many more。

  The new job, however, allowed Mr. Wu to double his income, and he
brought back his pay every two months to his wife to pay for their
daughter’s education。

  Their main worry was their daughter’s academic performance; they
thought she did not study hard enough. “She likes to talk to boys,
although she doesn’t have a boyfriend,” Mrs. Cao said。

  Their daughter ranked 16th in her class of 40, respectable but not
good enough in their eyes. But they despaired of being able to help Ms.
Wu when she came home on weekends. “We just have an elementary school
education. We don’t really know what she’s studying,” Mrs. Cao


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