I grew up in Southern California. Although I’ve some rudimentary knowledge of Chinese, I still find parts of the language rather foreign. Needless to say, to learn Collective Topics, the preliminary course of the Five Great Treatises is a great challenge.
Thinking back now, we were constantly reminded of our passion for learning when we first started. But not only was the text difficult to understand, it was hard to take part in class discussions based on my level of comprehension. I’d often find myself in a state of complete confusion.
One day, a fellow nun invited me to prepare a review session with her. Stunned, I’d never thought I’d have the ability or qualification to do so. “By helping others, you’d be helping yourself too!” She persuaded with much enthusiasm.
She was extremely considerate throughout the whole process. First, she’d describe how the chapter could be divided. Next, she’d explain the text to me in great detail. Whenever I couldn’t grasp the concept, she’d try, time after time, to figure out ways for me to fully understand. She patiently stood by my side as I overcome each and every obstacle.
Every discussion brought on a new sense of self-confidence in place of my fear of public speaking. I thought to myself: at least I could make sense of the simpler parts. On the day of the review session, what I completed was not only the task of helping others, but also a breakthrough of my own limits.
I am thankful for everyone’s encouragement and company. It helped me overcome my fear of learning and allowed me to see that even someone like me could learn Collective Topics in Chinese. There is much hope!