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China is an incredible place to explore and live some of the best experiences of your life. “Living in China as a Local” is a series of storytelling posts made by young people who experience a daily life in China and love to share their personal experiences with the world. Let yourself be inspired by those fascinating stories and embrace this breath-taking country (if you would like to collaborate with us click here).
Buddhism was always one of the religions most catch my attention since I’m young. That was one of the reasons why I got so excited when I made it to come to China! After all, Buddhism is one of the main religions in this country full of diversity.
What fascinated me the most about this religion was the way Buddhists live their life’s in the mountains in harmony with nature and in with an incredible inner peace. Although, this was basically my only perception of it. I didn’t know much about Buddhism … only what I’ve watched in movies, books and other stories.
Now, the situation changed! Since I came to China I had the opportunity to make some Chinese Buddhist friends and they taught me a lot about their religion. I’m happy to learn more about it and they are more than glad to share what they believe. I found that Buddhism is much more than I thought. Let’s go for a small lecture. First of all, they have two main branches. Secondly, meditation and mindfulness are the keys to inner peace. They believe in reincarnation and rebirth. Another interesting fact is that there is no single holy book … they have several scriptures. I could continue … but the list would be too long.
Basically, being a Buddhist doesn´t mean you need to live in the mountain and be bald. They can also live in a city and have long hair. That’s up to each one of them since they practice their beliefs. This idea was just a misconception I had. Probably because all I knew about Buddhism was taught me through movies and stories. That’s why I believe if you really want to know the different realities around the world, you need to travel and see it with your own eyes.
I’m wondering if after my Internship in Beijing I should move to a monastery and live among Buddhist monks for a month to let myself immerse even more in this religion. That would be quite an experience! Even better after living in a big city like Beijing. What do you think?
I got a Chinese name! Chinese people have an English name and some foreigners also adopt one when they come to China. So, I decided to do it. Why not?
After three weeks in China, I finally ask my Chinese colleagues at the internship to give me one. Every Chinese name has a meaning, so it is a big deal to give one! It took a couple of days to arrive to a consensus, but I couldn’t be gladder about the result: 马尚 (mǎ shàng).
Let me explain to you what it means. 马 (mǎ) was chosen based on the beginning of my surname (Ma rques). It means “horse”. The question is: what does a horse stands for in the Chinese Culture? The horse is a symbol of freedom and strength. They love to run miles and miles without a destination and exploring everywhere they go. Feel the joy of freedom. Did you ever try to ride a horse? Was it easy? He can allow you to ride him for sure. However, if he decides he doesn’t want to do it, good luck with that. You better give up, they can be very stubborn when they want. That’s why they represent a free, strong and rebellious spirit. Then, we have the other character. 尚 means noble. This one was chosen based on a characteristic of mine.
Cool name, right? I love it. The funny part is that also means “right away”. So Chinese people always get confused when I introduce myself to them. You can imagine their faces!
The best part: it’s official! Even at the police station, they registered me as 马尚! I have two names! How funny is that?
This story reminds me of the saying: “when you are in Rome be a Roman”. When you go somewhere different from your home’s culture you should adapt to your new atmosphere and environment. I assure you that it can be fun!
I’ve been living such an overwhelming experience in China. Having the opportunity to discover this country, its people, its food and its best places while I’m interning in a great company has been amazing.
Many people thought I was crazy when I said I was coming to China. Probably they still do. Even my Chinese friends do not understand why China when I had the whole world. However, the moment I landed here, I realized I couldn’t have chosen better.
This country has something very special in it. It’s incredible to see how history meets the future and how chaos and peace leave in harmony. You only can feel once you explore it by yourself. No movie or book can make you understand this place.
If you ask me for a word to define China, I would choose diversity. This country is humongous, and regions are completely different from each other! I’m talking in terms of food, tradition, language, religion, currency, scale and so on! Every region is almost a country by itself with his own and unique characteristics. Every place you go will always surprise you with something completely new! Basically, that’s China. Being surprised every day.
Regarding my professional career, I also think there is no smarter place to choose. China is growing at a rhythm that was never seen before and it’s expanding its influence to other countries all over the world. This comes with a lot of opportunities and challenges for young talented people. After all, who doesn’t like a good challenge?
Let me finish with a warning: if you come to China, it’s quite possible you’ll fall in love with this breath-taking country. I did.