Santhip Kanholy, on TED, said, “Enlightenment is an actual experience which changes the perspective and perception of the individual, which has been touted in all the ancient religious scriptures spanning all global cultures. Buddha is considered to be enlightened. So is Jesus. Thus all major religions have sprung from individuals who have experienced enlightenment.”
I admit that I was surprised when I saw the embedded video in this post of a group of Americans searching for and finding their own form of enlightenment in China.
The popular stereotype about someone searching for change and enlightenment fits the plot we find in Eat, Pray, Love, a best seller that was made into a movie with Julia Roberts, where Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir takes her to Italy for pleasure, India for enlightenment and Indonesia where she discovers love again—repeatedly, it seems.
In the following video, we follow a group of Kung Fu and Tai Chi students from the U.S. in search of Kung Fu wisdom in China.
While in China, they visit Chinese families, schools, temples and universities. They travel through both ancient and modern China visiting Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.
After surviving personal conflicts and emotional struggles, the group returns to America as Elizabeth Gilbert did in her journey—to be compassionate and harmonious with others and the environment.
Of course, finding harmony might not have worked out for Gilbert because in a 2015 article for The New York Times titled “Confessions of a Seduction Addict,” Gilbert wrote that she “careened from one intimate entanglement to the next—dozens of them—without so much as a day off between romances.” She acknowledged, “Seduction was never a casual sport for me; it was more like a heist, adrenalizing and urgent. I would plan the heist for months, scouting out the target, looking for unguarded entries. Then I would break into his deepest vault, steal all his emotional currency and spend it on myself.” After reading what Gilbert wrote for the NY Times, I think it is arguable that Gilbert never found the enlightenment she was searching for, but her memoir did make her famous and wealthy.
However, in three weeks, the group that went to China for enlighten went places few foreigners have seen and maybe that adventure and discovery was a form of enlightenment all by itself.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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