A Monk’s Tale, Re-posted for Difficult times

It is January, 1986. You are sitting on a porch near the meditation hall of a Buddhist monastery on Hong Kong’s outlying island of Lantao. It is February, 1986. Around you are grassy hills, and two islands lie light blue in the distance. It is difficult to imagine anything more peaceful. The man sitting beside you is a Chan [Zen] Buddhist monk, a soft-spoken Englishman with a strong Cockney accent. He is dressed in traditional monk’s garb, a long tunic with Chinese fasteners and baggy trousers pulled tight at the bottom. The sleeves aren’t long enough to cover the heavy covering of paisley …

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