If you are seeking a genuine Chinese experience, ring the buzzer at 644 Broadway in San Francisco where a nun will welcome you. When the door closes behind you at the Gold Mountain Monastery, all outside interference suddenly dissolves as you enter another world. Incense laces the air as a strange sense of peace engulfs you.
You are escorted into a chamber where devotees sit on mats while embracing the teachings of Buddha. Foreign words like sila, samadhi and prajna escape your understanding. But after a brief wait, you recognize familiar disciplines from bygone days such as “all beings are equal”, “a moral life”, and “the importance of education”. Twists on these universal truths tickle your curiosity as ideas of reincarnation, meditation and enlightenment are presented.
Gold Mountain Monastery:
A sudden realization coats your mind: that your beliefs are not so disconnected from this sixth century B.C. teacher known as Buddha. While Buddhism does not profess to worship a singular all-powerful Being, you begin to understand that what propels one to perform good deeds has been around for ions. You leave with a reaffirmation of what you already knew but have not seen practiced lately. To quarrel, to pursue greed and personal advantage, and to tarnish the truth have no place in your life. The racket of the street becomes mere “white noise” in the background as you walk with an unhurried gait. Note: All curiosity seekers are welcome at Gold Mountain Monastery any day of the week.