I blame my interest in Buddhism on Tina Turner.
She was once featured on 60 Minutes, draping her lithe, gazelle frame on an Italian leather chair in her house in Nice, France (yeah, it was a modest house, overlooking the ocean) as Morley Safer became more and more bewitched with her radiance.
I was jealous of her immaculate skin and that Bono was her neighbor, but what most peaked my interest was how she credited one central thing that lifted her above poverty, debt, and Ike Turner’s rough hewn hand slapping her cheek in hate: Buddhism.
The camera panned to her worship altar, where she mediated every morning. She even demonstrated a Buddhist chant for Morley. Her voice deepened, her chest swelling with rhythmic joy as ancient song filled the air. A smile splayed across her lips. She even made chanting sound rock n’roll.
It was way cool.
Maybe I wanted to be her, or was in search of my own inner peace. I’ve attended mediation classes, talks, stared at monks, hoping their goodness would rub off on me, even eaten at Buddhist vegetarian restaurants to, you know, eat food that contained wisdom, not just MSG.
Buddhism will always draw me in, so when I heard about the Wenshu Temple and Monastery in Chengdu, taking a look was a must.