China | Guilin | Yangshuo

Making New Friends & Meeting Chinese Buddhist Monks on Li River Cruise

China Discovery Tour

Guilin | China

11 Jan 2020 | Sat

Day 15 of 18

  • Li River Cruise | Guilin to Yangshuo
  • Making New Friends & Meeting Chinese Buddhist Monks on Li River Cruise
  • Xi Jie | West Street Yangshuo
  • Yangshuo Green Lotus Hotel

Making New Friends & Meeting Chinese Buddhist Monks on Li River Cruise

When someone greets you for the first time with

The world is too small – It is good karma that we meet today

you know things are about to get interesting!

Meeting John and Martin

I wanted to dedicate a special post to an amazing encounter we had with two individuals and a group of monks aboard our Li River Cruise. A series of events took place that would eventually put us across from one another. When Kanchana and I first boarded the boat, our tour guide helped us find our assigned seating. While waiting for the cruise to begin, a large group of people boarded and requested that they take the area where we were seating (so they all could sit together). We did not have a problem with this, so we switched places with them. Little did we know how this would set up a chance encounter with two very intriguing people.

Martin & John

Initially, the four of us – Kanchana and I, along with Martin and John, each introduced ourselves. We are from the United States, living in Thailand – they are from Taiwan. John offered us a couple of Chinese moon cakes (which were very good).

Chinese Mooncake

After a bit of conversation, we learned that they were part of a group of people from their company in Taiwan that was visiting China. As it turns out, it was something that John (manager of the group) has been doing every year for over 20 years for his employees.

Sometimes it is difficult for employees (working in Taiwan) to make the trip back to China to visit their families, so John has taken it upon himself to do so for them. Each year, around their birthdays, he takes a group of 12-15 employees back to their hometown in China to meet and visit family members. Each year they try to plan it so that the visits are somewhat close together, within the same region of the country. In addition, this year, John also included a group of Chinese Buddhist monks (from a nearby temple) to join them on their family visits. John has hopes of being able to complete this journey at least once, for all of his employees, before he retires.

Initially, each of the chosen employees returns home to visit for a week or so in advance, then John and his group stop by to visit them and their families. It’s a very positive experience where he tells a little bit about what the employee does and how valuable they are to the company. It is something he does to reassure the family that they are being taken care of while working in Taiwan.

Meeting Chinese Buddhist Monks

Later in the morning, many of us walked up to the upper deck of the boat so that we could see the Li River and its beautiful surroundings. It was here that we got to meet the Chinese Buddhist monks that were traveling with John and Martin.

Meeting Chinese Buddhist Monks

This was a great experience. With Martin translating for me, I was able to mention helping build our Lao/Thai Buddhist temple in Raleigh. All the monks were impressed, so much so that one of them immediately gave me the prayer beads that he had around his neck. The head monk (Master Lu) gave me the Chinese name of “Fa Jing” and a beautiful stone bracelet. I was honored and humbled by their act of kindness – it was something I was not expecting.

The head monk (Master Lu) and I exchanged cell phone numbers, and we text each other on occasion. We have a lot of “lost in translation” moments, but we are able to understand one another. He wants me (us) to come to visit their temple sometime in the future. We’ll see how it goes – fate will make it happen!

Meant To Be

I am a firm believer in “things happening for a reason” and feel our “chance” meeting with John and Martin and the Chinese Buddhist monks was something definitely “meant to be/meant to happen”. I knew the day would be special based on the very first thing John told us when he first arrived at the boat… “The World is Too Small – It Is Good Karma That We Meet Today“. Indeed, it was – very good karma!

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