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Memories. Essay

1301 words - 5 pages

Memories of my homeland are nothing more than a blur as I try to journey back into my childhood. My assimilation into the American culture took place in 1984 when I was only four years old. Nine family members squished into a one-bedroom apartment located in a run down, crime infested area of Long Beach with only the hope of leading a better life as an inspiration for getting up each day. My story sounds pretty generic compared to many other immigrant stories. What makes my story interesting is how my perspective on culture, religion, and life as a whole matures through the year while my parents' remain largely unaffected by the transition into American society.My parents came from mainland China, although I was conceived in neighboring Vietnam. They practice Buddhism, which is the most popular religion in mainland China. My parents grew up in poverty and were strictly disciplined by my grandparents. My dad reminisces of times when his teacher would feed him rice because he was such a hardworking student. His culture, tradition, and religious belief expected no less of him. Both of my parents retained what they went through and made an effort to assure that my siblings and I would be bounded by the same ideals. But they never could imagine that by moving to America to pursue a better future for their kids that it would adversely cause their kids to reject the ideals which they are trying to enforce.I was not very religious as a child. I was too busy trying to understand my new environment. My parents, on the other hand, continue to practice Buddhism and believe in the traditional values set forth by their ancestors. We always have an area in the house dedicated to a shrine of some sort. Most of the time, this shrine would be near the entrance of the house to keep misfortune from entering the house. Aside from Buddhism, my parents also brought over the ancient Chinese belief in Feng Shui, which states that the landscapes around you emits energy and can have an effect on your health, wealth, and happiness. As I grew older, I started to understand more about what my parents were doing in terms of practicing Buddhism and teaching their kids about their culture. Yet at the same time I became more confused about a lot of things.Recently I started to question whether or not my parents were true Buddhists. My dad made a big shrine in the living room and everyday he would pray in front of it for an extended period of time. I never really got into Buddhism like my parents did, but from what I know, Buddhism preaches living an honest, forgiving, loving, and sincere life. Yet at times my parents would do or say things that totally contradict the principles of Buddhism. An example would be how they are quick to judge individuals based on their ethnicity or how they act. They fear what they do not know and are quick to discriminate. This is most likely as a result of the culture they were raised in, but it obviously contradicts the teachings of Buddhism....

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