One of the easiest places to see real live Mainland Chinese folk beliefs is in the front seat of a Chinese taxi.
And one fun thing about Chinese culture is they tend not to have our Western hang-ups about openly discussing differing beliefs, whether Buddhist or Atheist or Christian or whatever; it's just generally not as awkward for them. I find it refreshing, and I'm still not totally used to it.
This has been the quest of many individuals and many groups throughout the history of mankind. The efforts usually fall into one of three categories, or a combination of the three. One tried and true method is force. Force can compel others to comply with the will of the one who wields it. But the gains of force are usually ephemeral. Another way to influence the world is through wealth. Wealth has the virtue of not requiring force, but, like force, it is ephemeral. The third effort is the use of ideas. Although the use of force and wealth has not been abandoned in the effort to influence the world, now more than ever, in this information age, world influence is being won on the plane of ideas, and ideas that win are usually enduring.
As a Chinese teacher, I feel like I am at war. The enemy is a voice in the back of my students' minds repeating "you can't do this." If they quit, the battle is lost.
In this war, time is of the essence. I must help students achieve a steady string of quick, small victories until they prove to themselves "I can do this."
On April 15, 2 home-made bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring dozens. One of those killed was 23-year old Lu Lingzi, a graduate student at Boston University. She and her friend were waiting near the finish line when the bombs exploded.