I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I weakly questioned my intention for agreeing to awaken at the crack of dawn, no, more accurately before the beginning of such. I said the word FUCK. Silently.
Covered with white cloths we began the morning with chanting and then walking meditation, my body stiff and a bit chilly. With each step I tried to quiet my “monkey mind,” the chatter requesting a steamy cup of tea. Oh Masala chai how blissful would you be now! Bowls of rice were distributed to give the monks an alms offering, the traditional manner in which the monks receive their nourishment in their so-called begging bowls. Jo Lee and his nephew gave a blessing for all to return the love. The energy exchange equal and complete. As the sun rose I could feel my heart expand, eager to open the day with more joy and patience.
Plentiful prayers and a breakfast of warm vegetable soup.
The afternoon seemed to fly by, a time allotted for questions, more practice, and then a trip to an artifact museum. Although this was not a new Buddhist meditation practice for me, it was thoroughly rewarding and educational. I highly recommend the program and would do it for a longer period of time for sure!*
Some Theraveda Buddhism basics:
- It is a practice and way of life not a religion.
- One chants in the Pali language, which sounds to me most similar to Sanskrit.
- One suffers because of external cravings, all is within (enlightenment comes entirely through one’s own efforts, without assistance from gods or other outside forces.)
- The “self” is as impermanent as the all (everything is temporary.)
- One practices Vipassana meditation to quiet the “monkey” mind, the ego.
- Compassion, compassion, compassion.
I see the beauty and truth of this path, feeling a sense of familiarity and comfort, yet cannot foresee myself fully committing to the saffron robes in this lifetime (I have nonetheless seen a past-life during a shamanic medicine ceremony where I was a male monk somewhere in Asia, wearing glasses, begging for food while lying on the concrete floor of a prison cell.) I could easily shave my head, I presently practice prayer, but life without pleasure seems not one I choose to subscribe. I am Eve. Ecstatic to be.
Farewell to my new friends and back to the city square to reunite with Jackie and swap stories.
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” -Buddha