There is something about pilgrims that touches one's heart. And somehow people in Casa de Paz have been blessed with the presence of many of them. This is just the latest one. I chose to write this post for the different degrees of serendipity and the inherent level of trust in humanity. :-)
While I didn't know brother Zilong Wang was one of these pilgrims --"23" laps-around-the-Sun! he was brought by brother Birju
-- I felt a great kinship when we first met at the Kindness Temple
. His calm and serene presence, his gentle smile and poignant comments during the Awakin Circles --he has been coming many times to Oakland-- altogether makes a great combo to be in his presence. A sharing he made in one of our latest Awakin circles still resonates in my heart and mind. He said something like:
"Buddha taught that his teachings are like boats for us to cross the river. The point is to cross the river, afterwards we don't need to carry the boat in our heads." :-)
And if you read his 3000-mile reflections
"If various religions are different ways to cross the same River of Life, why should we fight over which boat is the right, supreme boat, and sink each other before we even get half way across the river?"
This young brother crossed the continent from coast to coast and
never locked his dragon horse --his bike
. But when he got to San Francisco his bike was stolen. But somehow, days later he got it back. When I read the incredible story
I was even more happy to see that a courageous woman was key for this to happen. And I clearly remember sister Vanessa volunteering many times at the Free Farm Stand started by brother Tree
That's when serendipity needs to be shared in written form ;-)
In his reflections he also says:
"[After 74 days riding]Knocked on the doors of over 400 strangers, asking if I could camp in their backyard. On average, one in five says yes. Of those who say yes, over half of them eventually let me sleep inside (on the couch, on the floor, or in the guest bed), and three quarter of them would feed me dinner or breakfast. Stayed with around 60 different families whom I didn't know, across the country."
A couple of weeks ago brother Zilong attended a Work That Reconnects
retreat at the Canticle Farm and he stayed at Casa de Paz so we have more quality spacetime for connection. This piece from his reflections pretty much summarizes my experience with this young love monster:
"Going across the country, the number of bad people I've encountered is ZERO. Sure, some are less helpful or friendly than others. But I have not met a single person that was malicious or meant harm. Almost always, people would go out of their way to help me, and open up their homes and hearts to the foreign traveler.
Also, it seems that being religious, or belonging to a particular tradition, is not a prerequisite of human kindness. Generosity and compassion are universal. But I do notice a deep impact of religions on inspiring good in people."
That's why people like your humble servant, who are still swimming in the river of life without a boat, need to step up our kindness, generosity and fearlessness to make it our religion and reach the shore ;-)
May many more loving pilgrims like dear brother Zilong visit the shores of (y)our lives.