Two students in our class were given an exotic African horned melon called a kiwano. No one had ever tasted or seen the fruit before. They were asked to try it and explain it to the class. However, they couldn’t find the right words to describe it. And when they found something to say about it, each had a different description of it. We eventually each got a piece of the mysterious fruit, and tried to explain it to our own selves. Some said it was like an un-sour lemon, some related it to a banana, some said pumpkin, and I and a few others said kiwi. The moral of the fruit tasting, was that just like Buddhism, you can’t just teach how to reach enlightenment and realization. Everyone has their own way of reaching realization. You can’t just describe how to do it flat out.
The second teaching was meditation. We were to sit anywhere we wanted on the field outside and list 5 items of the 5 senses list in our heads. So you would name 5 things you see, 5 things you hear, 5 things you feel, etc. After 5, you would start all over again with 4 each, then 3, and so on. We learned how calming and aware we are when our mind is cleared of all worries and other thoughts, and only focused on our surroundings. We saw insects on the blades of grass we wouldn’t have noticed before. We appreciated the sounds of the birds and heard the loud buzzing of cicadas in the trees. We heard the commotions of the world around us and the sound of the wind blowing the leaves in the trees. We felt the heat of the sun and the itchiness of the grass on our legs. We only tasted the remnants of the strange fruit and smelled grass for the cycle of the senses. Meditation can be so relaxing and so liberating. To only focus on the now frees the mind from negative emotions and thoughts. Everything is nice. I can appreciate the monks who dedicate their lives to meditation and learning of Buddhism.
Fencing today was intense. We played a game called Castle, which is like capture the flag, but with kings and pointy weapons. Our team barely won, since it was a long and hard battle. I found out that I’m great at defending myself with the saber, but not so fantastic at attacking my opponent. However, the boys of the group loved to heartily attack their opponents and became extremely overly-competitive, as boys normally do. Regardless, we all had a lot of fun.
Tonight VSA hosted a talent show. It was actually a hilarious show, with acts like: solving a Rubix Cube in 1:17 seconds; singing Pi Day, a parody of Katy Perry’s TGIF song; a Bollywood dance to the song Jai Ho (one of the performers was from my proctor group. Go Mashal Mirza!); a bagpipe and tuba duet; ballet; singing; and storytelling. Hilarious acts included a group of boys (the Testosterones) singing A Thousand Miles and a group singing to Backstreet Boys - I Want It That Way. There were no prizes awarded, it was all just for fun.
I can now talk about the surprise our proctor group gave to our proctor! We bought a basket at CVS yesterday and ran through the aisles finding things she would like. We bought tons of nail polish, some soap, tea, gummy worms, a bag of dum-dums, a horrible tabloids magazine, and a duck hat. We also bought a poster board and everyone wrote a message to her. We printed out group pictures and put it on the card and on the basket. She absolutely loved the gifts and could not stop smiling.
We’re such a loving group!