I took a trip to the SiMenTa (Four Gates Pagoda – 四門塔) Pagoda, just outside of Jinan, Shandong, China during my stay there. Simenta is the oldest pavillion-style pagoda in China, and tended by a monastic community at the base that goes back about 1400 years. And for that long, monastic abbots have been buried in a stupa garden not far from the main pagoda. It's entirely open to visitors, yet no one goes there, which was wonderful because being an African-American, I was attracting more attention than the pagoda and I wanted to be alone. The overcast day really gave the place a solemn air and sense of stillness beyond the crowd.
Present meets Past…What does that past have to teach us?