But high education costs coincide with slower growth of the Chinese economy and surging unemployment among recent college graduates. Whether young people like Ms. Wu find jobs on graduation that allow them to earn a living, much less support their parents, could test China’s ability to maintain rapid economic growth and preserve political and social stability in the years ahead。
Bob: So I got involved in Buddhism in practicing meditation probably in the early 1970s. Growing up, when I was 4 years old, I hit my first experiences- crying everyone was gonna die. It can happen at any moment.
Leaving the Village
TT: When you are a 4 year old?Bob: Yea and that was a very powerful moment in my life-realize that it was not quite gonna last. Then the next 5 years, I was visited by a lot of death. With my brother, my younger brother with a ?? illness. We shared a room together. My best friend who I played with every day after school and she died one night- went into a diabetic coma. And then my grandfather who lived downstaris and whom I was very close to. So by the time I was 9, it’s very extreme and very big loses in my life. It was a very challenging time growing up. This was the middle in the United States and the middle of the Vietnam War. The middle.??. they hear along. There was a lot of unrest in the 1960s. That’s when I grew up.
Part III Listening Comprehension
The ancient village of Mu Zhu Ba is perched on a tree-covered crag overlooking a steep-sided mountain gorge in southwestern Shaanxi province, deep in China’s interior, 900 miles southwest of Beijing. The few scarce acres of flat land next to a stream on the valley floor were reserved until recently for garden-size plots of rice, corn and vegetables。
TT: You were in the east coast, in Boston? Bob: East coast in Boston. I was very lost and very confused within a year. So then I barely graduated in high school because I wasn’t really interested at all in school. Didn’t make any sense. But then many of my friends went off to college. I got a draft number so I did not have to go to the military. You know the war was happening but I was glad. But I was very confused. I ended up doing another year of high school. And then I thought I might as well go to college since all my other friends went to college so I did about a year of high school and I got into a college in Lyndon, Vermont. The reason I wanted to go was that I really got into downhill skiing. So I went to the school in Lyndon, Vermont. I majored in skiing, and getting drunk, smoking marijuana, and trying to get girl friends.
Listening Passage 1
金沙网址， Villagers were subsistence farmers. Every adult and all but the youngest children worked from dawn to dusk, planting, weeding, hand-watering and harvesting rice, corn and vegetables to feed themselves. They also built and maintained three-foot-wide terraces where the sides of the valley began to curve upward before turning into vertiginous, forested slopes that soared into the clouds。
TT: Trying to? Bob: Yea. I wasn’t that successful. I ended up flunking out after my second year of college. And I was re-admitted background warning. Academic warning and my mother xx me, “Wasn’t there something that would interest you?” I didn’t want to do anymore reading, writing, and everything, in particular anything. And I happen to see in the course catalog something about the wisdom of the East. So I shared with you earlier. Even growing up, I’ve always had the love of Chinese food and going to Chinese restaurants since I was a little boy. When I saw the word- wisdom of the East, there was association that East have to do with China. Then I remember, you know, the pictures of the big Buddhas, the dragons, and the colors. There’s something mystical about it to me. Something I felt allured to. So I am gonna take this class. I have no idea what it’s about. Below it, it said Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, and I didn’t know anything about any of that. TT: It’s one class? Bob: It’s one class. Yes. It’s called the wisdom of the East- Hinduism, Buddhism, and Daoism. So I went to this class. I walked in and I was shocked to see that my professor was sitting on top of his desk, not on a chair, in a full lotus position. I’ve never seen a professor like this before.
Donna Fredrick’s served with the Peace Corps for two years in Brazil. She joined the Peace Corps after she graduated from the college because she wanted to do something to help other people. She had been brought up on a farm, so the Peace Corps assigned her to a agricultural project. Before she went to Brazil, she studied Portuguese for three months. She also learnt a great deal about its history and culture. During her two years with the Peace Corps, Donna lived in a village in northeast Brazil. That part of Brazil is very dry and farming is often difficult there. Donna helped the people of the village to organise an arrigation project, and she also advised them on planting corps. They didn’t require much water. When Donna returned to the States, she couldn’t settle down. She tried several jobs, but they seemed very boring to her. She couldn’t get Brazil out of her mind. Finally, one day she got on an plane and went back to Brazil. She wasn’t sure what she’s going to do. She just wanted to be there. After a few weeks, Donna found a job as an English teacher, teaching five classes a day. Like most of the teachers, she doesn’t make much money. She shares a small apartment with another teacher. And she makes a little extra money by sending stories to newspapers in the States. Eventually she wants to quit teaching and work as a full-time journalist。
The relentless work left little opportunity for education. Mrs. Cao, now 39, learned to read some Chinese characters at first- and second-grade classes conducted in her village. But later grades were taught at a school in a larger village at the other end of the valley, a seven-mile walk away, and Mrs. Cao dropped out in third grade。
TT: Is he Chinese, the professor? Bob: No. He’s American. His name is Bill Jackson. And I never saw anyone like this before. As he began to talk, the way that he talked, the way that he presented himself amazed me. This was very different than a regular professor.
Her husband, now 43, grew up in a similarly poor village on the other side of the mountain and did not attend school at all。
TT: How does he present himself? Bob: There was certain type of quiet, humility, kindness, intelligence, and curiosity combined. The ethos of him combined. And he assigned us to read and start studying and reading the Tao Te Ching so I started reading the Tao. TT: In the class? Bob: In the class. This was a beautiful translation by xx. I just fell in love with the Tao Te Ching. Up to that point, I’ve never been exposed to any type of literature like this or thought about that. I never knew that people thought about like that. It opened my door, my heart, my eyes. The wisdom of Lao Tzu is so simple and so profound, and so common sense that I just fell in love with the Tao Te Ching. Then I keep on reading. There are certain epigrams I read over and over again. One of them is epigram 47. It says, “no need to look ouside your window for everything you need to know is inside you.” There’s a little bit more but that part paricularly. But I began to realize if I want to know something about myself, I need to look inside here. And up to that point in my life, I never thought into that. I never heard that type of idea- to look inside yourself. And that began my meditative journey.
Why did Donna join the Peace Corps after she graduated from college?
They married early, and Mrs. Cao had just turned 20 when she gave birth to Ms. Wu. The couple earned just $25 a month. As their baby grew into a toddler, they began worrying that she would inevitably drop out of school early if she had to walk so far to classes every day. So like hundreds of millions of other Chinese over the last two decades, they decided to leave their ancestral village and their families。
TT: Do you remember which year is that? Bob: This was in 1974 or 73. And so Bill Jackson was, from the Buddhist point of view, like my heavenly messenger. The heavenly message is the awakening to the realities of aging, illness, and death. And then the monk, the one who has become awaken; the ones who didn’t have. And Bill, he was definitely like a heavenly messenger. By his example, he showed there’s another way to look at life. So that’s how I began to practice meditation. Then I got more formal when I moved to San Francisco when I studied at graduate school. I began taking Vippassana mediation retreats. TT: It’s very interesting. There are 2 points I heard from what you said just now. One is about the death. You witnessed several deaths of people who were so close to you. Then the wisdom of the East. The message was given by your teacher. But here in the MBSR teacher training, we talk about “suffer” a lot. I was wondering this is like a time travel. You are talking in your previous years, in 1970s, experiences that have brought you to this journey. Bob: Yea. So I began practicing mediation, and reading about the wisdom of the East. I just get so intrigued. That led me to SF to get a master’s degree in counseling psychology where I continued to study Hinduism, Buddhism, and I was introduced to a Vipassana meditation teacher. I got so into Vipassana. She said to me (It was a woman and her name is Rina Sircar) do you want to come to Burma and meet my teacher? I said yes. So I traveled with her and some of her other students at the Southeast Asia department. I met her teacher who is a Buddhist monk. His name is Taungpulu Sayadaw. I ordained with him as a Buddhist monk. Several months later, we were bringing the monks to the United States. We were renting a house outside of SF. Saydaw said how about we find a place and buy it and start a monastery. So we moved the people from the place near Santa Curz where we lived into forrest. We raised enough money. We bought a forrest monastry and I ended up living there for eight and half years studying very intensively the Dharma and practicing mediation. I also finished my PhD in philosophy and religion at that time. TT: At the same time? Bob: Yea. I was living in the monastery. the school is in SF. TT: It sounds to me- it sounds so natural that it just unfolded and the path came to you. Bob: yea. Just following the sutra of the Dharma. The Dharma shows me everything. I don’t have a choice. The Dharma told me what to do. Hehe in some way. TT: So when you talk about the memories or the past, some images came out? So when you talk about what has happened, like the red wood, like the place you started your intensive practice for many years, what type of images? Bob: I think the deeppest images-the relationship that I had with my teacher. Taungpulu Sayadaw was the head teacher. He died in 1986 that he left the number 2 olddest teacher, Hlaing Tet Sayadaw , to be in the monastery. I lived with Hlaing Sayadaw for 8 and half years. He’s like my father and I loved him so much. He taught me so much, by example of the Dharma. So I think the teaching of the Sayadaw and his embodiment is the deeppest image that I have. I lived with him for eight and half years and he’s the most contentted human being I really ever met. I lived with him for eight and half years so you get sense of a person if you live there for a long time. He was just incrediblly content and he didn’t need anything materialy. But yet material thing wasn’t xx. He was also incredibly humble. He was increbly quiet. You know everybody has a personality so he had a personality but his personality was such that he didn’t have any needs to be known, or to be seen. Like if you went into a room, some people are very charismatic. He was the opposite of charisma. If you went into a room you might notice someone nap before we notice him. He just didn’t have that energy of being noticed even. So one day I just looked at him. Who is this guy? This guy is so oddly, content with himself. I wanted to be around him. So so many nights I would just be with him and massage his feet and I just listen to him breathe. His breath would take me to the deepest forrest.
“All the parents in the village want their children to go to college, because only knowledge changes your fate,” Mrs. Cao said。
TT: Really sounds like your father. Bob: yea. He’s my father. I mean I am blessed with another father, my birth father who I love deeply. Hlaing Sayadaw is my another father. I loved him very very deeply. I was his son. TT: Eight and half years with him. Bob: Yea with him but all in all I studied with him for 25 years until he died. TT: It’s in your 20s? Bob: I was in my 20s. TT: And you learned from him for 25 years. Bob: yea until he died. TT: He’s a critical person who has influenced you a lot. Bob: yea, yea. TT: So it sounds very natrual that you chose the life in monastery. What brought you out? Did you answer this question a lot? I saw the smile. Bob: I’ve definitely answered it with a longer version or a shorter version. TT: How do you feel now?
What was Donna assigned to do in Brazil?
By the time Ms. Wu reached middle school, the crystalline mountain air of Mu Zhu Ba was a dim memory. The family had moved to Hanjing, a coal mining community on the plains of northern Shaanxi province, nearly 300 miles northeast of their ancestral village。
Bob: It’s the right thing. It’s the right thing to do. How I left was that…While I was living in the monastery, because of my history, I am working with death and this was also attracting me- The monks go to cemetery every month to do some mindfulness of death meditation. I also really need to go to cemetry, meditating on the death, my own death, and everything’s death. Then I decided I want to work for a hospice. While I was living in the monastery, volunteering with the people dying. So I began to that as well. I was looing at monastery, people who dying. Then I got assigned a young woman, my age, was dying of a brain tumor. She lived very close to monastery. Then I began to help support and voluntter there to help her and her family. She had two sons. Her husband had left them during the middle of her second brain surgery. So I started caring for her and something very strange happened to me. I fell in love with her. And I was not looking for love. She’s all swollen with steroids and she was missing the top of her head. She had brain. They had taken out the top of her skull and it got infected. So they had to take out the top of her skull. She just had a skin flap. But there’s something about her just opened my heart, in such a deep way. And her mother eventually had a neverous breakdown and left. I ended up becoming the primary care giver for her and her two boys. She opened my heart to love in a way that I never experienced. And I for her, I promised her I would stay with her till she either got better or if she died, I would stay with her till her last breath. I would take care of her, I promised her. And I ended up living there. I go back and forth between there and monastery. It’s closeby but towards the end, she really needed a lot of help so I stayed there and took care of her. I was with her till her last breath. The next door neighbors became the gardian of the two boys because I hadn’t worked in 10 years. I didn’t have any money. So, anyways, I went back to Boston to be with my family for about a month and I came back to Cal to monastery. There was a nurse that worked on the case helping to take care of the woman that was dying. She was a good friend to me. Her name is Jan and she had been there the whole time. And after Daisy died, that nurse said why don’t we just go for a walk and we’ll talk. She had been there and she helped out so much. It was so easy to be with this woman, Jan. And that was 27 years ago. Jan and I ended up getting married. She’s the nurse. I really felt like Daisy opened up my heart to love and Jan was really the partner. So that’s how I left the monastery. I didn’t exepect that to happen but my heart just started to open and My teacher Sayadaw, he was so accepting and understaning. He was really quite amazing. Some years after, sometimes go back all the way if I stayed at the monastery, I’d been a monk and maybe I would’ve gotten enlightened or whatever.
A Coal Miner’s Daughter
TT: You had that thought?
Why did Donna go back to Brazil once again?
Mr. Wu built the family’s two-room brick house himself. They bought their first small refrigerator, a coal stove and a used stereo, and a bare light bulb for the living room and another for the bedroom。
Bob: Oh yea. I had some regret, even though I was very glad to be married too. But as time went on, I think realizing that my practices is my life. The monastery is in my heart. It’s not outside of me. And being in relationship and having chilldren, I never would have known about being a husband or father.
The house, on the town’s rural outskirts, was across a two-lane paved road from a small coal mine where Mr. Wu learned to maneuver a shoulder-carried, 45-pound electric drill in narrow spaces far under the earth, working long shifts and coming home covered with coal dust. He earned nearly $200 a month then, providing more money to educate their daughter. In the family bedroom, where calendar posters of the actress Zhang Ziyi had been plastered on the wall for extra insulation, Mrs. Cao carefully kept all of her daughter’s school papers. Wu Caoying was in seventh grade, but her village school was already teaching her geometry and algebra at a level beyond most American seventh graders. She was also studying geography, history and science, filling homework notebooks with elegant penmanship。
How did Donna make extra money to support herself?
The problem was English, an increasingly important subject for students who wanted to qualify for anything but the worst universities。
The village had an English teacher, and Ms. Wu started learning the language in fourth grade. But then the teacher left, so she was not able to study English during fifth and sixth grade。
Ms. Wu resumed English classes in the seventh grade, but her mother was concerned and began hiring substitute teachers as English tutors for her daughter。
Mrs. Cao said that she was convinced that this would help her daughter become the first in the family to attend college. “If we had not come here, she would have needed to stay home, to help cook and cut wood,” Mrs. Cao said。
But their financial sacrifices were only beginning。
For high school, Wu Caoying began attending a government-run boarding school two miles from the family’s house. Many high schools in China are boarding schools, an arrangement that allows local governments to impose hefty fees on parents. Tuition was $165 a semester. Food was $8 a week. Books, tutorials and exam fees were all extra。
Ms. Wu and seven other teenage girls had bunk beds in a cramped dormitory room. She dressed better than the other girls, in a tight blue coat her mother had just given her for Chinese New Year。
She woke at 5:30 every morning to study, had breakfast at 7:30, then attended classes from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30, 1:30 to 5:30 in the afternoon and 7:30 to 10:30 in the evening. For entertainment, there were occasional showings of patriotic movies. She studied part of the day on Saturdays and Sundays. But she also joined a volunteer group that visited the elderly — social work that might help on a college application in the United States but not in China, where the national entrance exam for universities is all-important。
Mr. Wu no longer worked at the coal mine across the street, which had been closed because of a combination of safety regulators’ concerns and depletion of the coal seam. He had become a migrant once more, taking a job 13 hours away by train at a coal mine in a northern desert. Mr. Wu worked 10-hour shifts up to 30 consecutive days. Safety standards were lower at the new mine, in an industry that kills thousands of Chinese miners in industrial accidents each year and maims many more。
The new job, however, allowed Mr. Wu to double his income, and he brought back his pay every two months to his wife to pay for their daughter’s education。
Their main worry was their daughter’s academic performance; they thought she did not study hard enough. “She likes to talk to boys, although she doesn’t have a boyfriend,” Mrs. Cao said。
Their daughter ranked 16th in her class of 40, respectable but not good enough in their eyes. But they despaired of being able to help Ms. Wu when she came home on weekends. “We just have an elementary school education. We don’t really know what she’s studying,” Mrs. Cao acknowledged。