12 June, 2009

Dear Novice,

This is an email from my partner reflecting on his experience as a novice when he was a boy.

Dear Novice,

I am proud that someone like you are interested, enough to become a monk. Your pictures remind me of when I have been a chunky monkey when I was 13-14 years old. I do understand about other persons needs more than other people understand me. After I finished primary school then I have been the chunky monkey for a year. The life was troublesome then, because I have to live with many monks who came from different families and different personal natures. Then, I was a child and still need warmth from my family. I believe that the novices in the temple with you will need the same things as I did back then. They are still being children and left their families to live with many people from different places. If in the Western countries, I think that the students leave their family to stay in the school the whole semester but they will have time to spend with their families when vacation arrives. The Thai novices don't have time to leave temple to spend the time with families to get the warmth that children need. I think some novices are come from poor families, family problem, etc. So, we as adult (monks) should be understand about children’s life and nature. We should treat them as children more than use them for work whatever we want.

After I left the temple then, I felt scared to be monastic again. Now, I feel that I would not trust in monks (some) as much like before (thinking), but I also trust more in other’s monks. When I was a chunky monkey, I was a servant of the monks. My feelings were based on the fact that the monks in the temple used make work for them a lot. But my experience taught me to be patient. I know you will practice within the ten precepts of rules. That will be your merit and another way you can give your knowledge to others by English teaching that I can't do.

From my experience then, I never got an English class in school in my temple. So, I think that is not my fate and decided to leave and come back to continue high school and try to continue schooling all time when I have chance. I think I was lucky to spend life for a year in the temple to learn how to spend life with others and more patient. And more luck that I decided to leave for continuing high school and now on to my masters. I am happy with you that you are happy.

Novice Ket came to clean and organize my room of respect for me since I am a novice, too. He was not forced to, obviously with love I see around this temple. Certainly there is some curiosity about what I have in my Kuti, too. He is a joker and we often help one another with robes. And he comes over to eat an evening snack away from his superiors watchful eye. Upon finishing he promptly fell asleep on my floor. The photo at bottom is the Abbott, Dr Aphisit with the camera with novices playing with their monkey.
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