QING YUN: I don’t usually remember my dreams, but there is one kind of dream that I do remember because I have it quite frequently. In those dreams, I’m climbing up the stairs of a high building, or a mountain, and the stairs are broken. It’s always about climbing up to some broken stairways. I can hardly stand on the stairs, I have to stand on the very edge and try very hard to reach the next one. The stairways always look like ruins, but I always reach the top. That makes me feel very honoured. I asked others about this dream but they couldn’t tell me what it meant. Anyway, monks don’t really believe in this, we believe in karma. So usually I don’t pay much attention to my dreams or to what they might mean. But this is a kind of dream that I have very often. A stairway with only the handrails left, all the stairs are broken. It’s nearly impossible to reach the top, I have to climb along the handrail and work very hard to make it. That’s what my dreams are like.
    I’m a monk, so my life is pretty regulated. I get up at 4 o’clock in the morning to pray with the other monks. We pray for the country and the people, that there may be peace, that nature may treat us well. This takes one hour, then it is time for breakfast, which takes half an hour. We have food because other people give to us, a lot of people donate so we can buy our daily needs, and we pray for them to thank them for their kindness. After breakfast, we clean up the temple.
    I’m a student here, so at 8 o’clock I have my morning classes with the other students. Each class lasts for one hour, then there is a short interval to take a rest or to practice. Lunch is at quarter past 11 and lasts half an hour. Then we pray again. If someone helped us with anything, we pray for them. That’s our morning schedule. At 2 o’clock in the afternoon, classes start again. The two hours between lunch and the afternoon classes are for taking a rest. We get up early in the morning so we need to take a rest after lunch to get energy for the afternoon classes. There are two classes in the afternoon. At quarter past 6, we call our master to read from the buddha scriptures. The call consists of beating on a wooden board in a certain rhythm. After the reading, we pray again for peace. Most temples have dinner in the evening, but I personally don’t eat anything after lunch. Also, after lunch I don’t drink anything that has colour. The only thing I drink that has colour is a kind of tea that I prepare myself, it’s bitter and cools the body.
    In the evening, people come to pray for the dead people and bring them their wishes. This starts at half past seven. If nobody comes, we start meditating half an hour earlier. Meditation is very important for our practice. We meditate for one hour, until 9 o’clock. Then we go to sleep at 10. That’s how we spend every day.