Author  Jocelyn Nie

When I returned home from the 2023 Translation Seminar in the Sudhana Center, my son said to me: “Mom, you look like a different person.” I was a bit surprised to hear that comment. Then I started to contemplate what had changed me during those seven days. I concluded that there are three things which must have shaped me.

First and foremost, it was the in-depth sutra-translation in the small group setting. I felt time was flowing wisely, both fast and slow. They are not contradictory. I could spend hours on sutra understanding and discussion without feeling any tiredness, and without realizing the time at all. Sutra translation is my “boat,” no doubt. Meanwhile, I felt my day was flowing almost without a second spent in vain and had achieved so much in just a few hours. That’s when I felt time was moving slowly. 

One thoughtful boy told me he felt energized by the seminar, because of the people. I couldn’t agree with him more. This reminded me of another cute and intelligent girl who shared with me her thoughts on the difference between doing sutra translation alone and with a group of people. I was enlightened by her sharing, as this idea had never occurred to me at this depth.  Then, I realized I enjoy it more with a group of people and have benefited hugely from the mirroring effect compassionately achieved by my group leaders and members. 

The second energizer for me was the community service work. I got up early every morning and devoted myself happily to any job that served people, filled with gratitude. By the way, getting up early has been a challenge for me at home. Meanwhile, I had been experiencing pain in my left leg joint for quite some time before I joined the seminar. I didn’t expect it to recover quickly, as I saw it as karma. To my surprise, the pain significantly reduced during my stay in Ukiah. I believe the community service routine greatly helped with that. Additionally, the sense of togetherness while performing these activities made time flow swiftly, slowly, and joyfully.

Last but not least, the daily recitations in both the morning and evening were my fundamental energy source.  Practicing at home alone is not easy, considering all those distractions and delusions that can arise. It’s truly incredible how I felt my practice being empowered by the Three Treasures during the translation seminar. 

Our youngest participant, a smart and beautiful fourteen-year-old girl, shared with us that she felt practice here was much easier and more concentrated. Thanks to her insight, for participants like me who are interested in sutra translation as a spiritual path, this translation seminar offered the right and fastest way to attain Samadhi. 

I wholeheartedly appreciate this incredible journey of experiencing time both fast and slow. 

I feel deeply grateful.