“As a traveller, I know you will never understand the soul of a nation if you do not speak its language”

Interview with BERNHARD MOESTL, a European with Asian mind.


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First of all, thank you very much for this opportunity! You are a bestseller author abroad and you have been living for some time in Romania. Such a big surprise. When did you decide to move in Brasov and why? And how do you speak our language so well?

Thanks a lot for the possibility to appear in your wonderful journal. Having been fascinated by Romania since 1988, when I happened to visit the country for a few days on my way to Istanbul, I returned many times to introduce Romania to my friends. In 2010, after having spent many years in Asia, I realised that the Romanian lifestyle is much closer to my dreams than the Austrian one has ever been. The prospect of learning a new language was one of the reasons I came here. As a traveller I know you will never understand the soul of a nation if you do not speak its language.

How your writing career began? When did all start?

Being originally a professional photographer I was always attracted by language and literature. My grandfather was a professor of German, so I probably inherited that from him. To make money for my trips I started working as a photojournalist, doing the writing part, too. But I would never have written a book if a big German publishing house hadn’t heard about my knowledge about Shaolin monastery and Chinese martial arts. I published my first book „Shaolin“ in 2008, and without ever imagining that this is possible, it also became my first international bestseller.

And what is your life story? How long have you lived as a Shaolin and when did you decide to leave?

After completing my Masters in Photography I decided I wanted to see the world and especially Asia. So I set out as a photographer, tour guide and journalist, as I have been fascinated by Buddhism and training martial arts since I was twelve. In 1996, Jian Wang, a Chinese manager, made it possible for me to stay in Shaolin for a year. After my visa had expired I returned many times to Shaolin and in 2013 one of the monks came to visit me in Brasov.

Your seminars are extremely special. What do you bring so different in this area? People want to know and understand why you are so different?

Besides the fact that my way of thinking was heavily influenced by the many years I spent in Asia, I try not to waste the time of other people. Whoever attends one of my seminars should go home with something new they can use in everyday life. Therefore, I am not talking about the teachings of Buddha or the monks of Shaolin, but I show people how they can use this thousand of years old knowledge to master their personal challenges. I want the participants to experience themselves rather than to listen to my words.

Regarding your first book translated into Romanian language and your Master Seminar on September 19, in Bucharest, what can you tell our readers about the book and what are the topics of the master seminar?

The book and the Master Seminar cover two different topics. The book “The Dragon Temple” reveals the story of a young European guy, who, unhappy with his life, comes to the Shaolin-Temple. The abbot, who becomes a fatherly friend to him, gives him many surprising insights until he forces him to pass a final exam.

The Master-Seminar is about public speaking, where we will learn how to speak in public by making the biggest possible impact, but, at the same time, and how to control our own emotions. We will talk about everything a good speaker needs to know: from how to enter a stage to how to build up an exciting speech. We will train all those topics in many practical exercises.

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