In search of Nirvana

Jimmy Lee

2016 - 2018


Having spent my childhood in Hong Kong, my idea of China was vague. China was too distant from me, not only physically, but importantly also in its ideology.

Five years ago, I went to Chongqing province for journalistic work. I started to communicate with the locals. However, I was not able to either sympathize or understand their mindset. It confused me in relation to the concept of “motherland” as we basically look the same and are the same race but think totally differently and have totally dissimilar cultural backgrounds. I felt like a stranger.

Despite the fact that China nowadays has already been raised to become an economically successful country, the image of transition between undeveloped villages to well-developed cities embedded in my mind deeply. Through travel to the western provinces of China, my perception of a modern “motherland” reformed. Generally, the west of China is poorer than the east. 71.4% of western China’s population lives in poverty, itself home to only 29% of China’s entire population. I ask the people I met "do you want democracy?" and they reply "No, we only to live with dignity."

Nirvana is a Buddhism term, which has a close meaning to disengagement. Buddhists believes that they can find Nirvana in the west. Once people arrive to the Nirvana, he or she can reach endless happiness and suffer no pain. I started my journey in search of Nirvana as well as finding the answer to who I am. Sadly, I could not find the answer.

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