09 June, 2009

Small Bursts of Wisdom

It is 3 am, and I am laying on my firm platform bed, with a tatami mat on top, my knees on fire from the temple floor, my ankles full of bug bites And now my stomach feels hollow, not really growling and you know what all this does to you? You think, and reflect and revel in really how fortunate your life has been. The precepts are designed to make you more humble, and propel you to reflect and practice with a clean slate. They are NOT any harder than living your fears, and that I can attest to. Sure, everything is new, the robes, the kind of practice, the surrounding and the circumstances. But I have seen a lot more love and forgiveness in ten days, than a year at home in the comfort of supposed ideal conditions.

Most, if not all of these novices come from really poor backgrounds, so poor they cannot pay for school or food. Some even from the loss of parents or caretakers. The abbott at this temple does not rule with a iron fist, but instead with firm loving kindness. With the practice you have to gather respect, and that comes down to your mind and spiritual progress. It is not always easy, and the novices last night in temple were laughing with me, not at me.

We have spent the last couple of days teaching them English, on a casual informal way. The ones who want to learn come visit us, and bring their books and questions to us. It is truly amazing how they will even form the knowledge they want, and will practice with us, all they really need is some slow, concise English grammar, and lots of laughter. I would like to learn Thai this way as a child would. One student in particular, although there are many more similar, Sang was so earnest trying to get as much as he could get in the couple of hours with us..after school. His desire far outpaced his fear of losing face with natural speakers, that some kids experience.

I will use Sang as a role model, when things get difficult for myself, knowing that my desire to have wisdom and be happy far exceed my fears. I hope I can provide these kids some of the knowledge they want.

Alang on left and Sang

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