Thursday, November 24, 2011

Priscilla talks one on one with a Monk

Stopping off at many temples, I decided to save the best for last the Wok Sondok temple in Old City was mentioned to me to go see.  One of those beautiful moments from my higher power comes through.  I am walking through the temple taking pictures and I see an outlet nearby.  I stop to plug in my camera charger and it is not working.  As I leave the temple, a nice, kind Monk approaches me and says, “Do you need to charge your camera? You can plug it in my room.”
At first, I am confused as I would think women would not be allowed inside a monks room.  In general women are not suppose to touch monk’s and if something is to be given it is placed on a surface or passed through another person. 

So, he invites me into sit down and I sit and observe what is in his room: a T.V, a bed, a bookshelf, a map of the world, and some miscellaneous souvenirs.  He sits down and pours me a glass of water (placing it on the table) and asks me the standard getting to know you questions.  I tell him I would like to study Buddhism more and inform him of some of my reading material.  I ask him if it would be okay to ask him about being a Monk because I want to learn.  He kindly agrees to answer my questions.

Basically, I learned that being a monk is something you independently choose in your teenage years.  After 20, you begin to study and go to school to reach the stage of …… A monk can go on the streets and to the stores, but he is not allowed to attend festivals.  He has two meals a day of breakfast and lunch and does not eat after 3pm.  He can watch some tv related to news, but not too much. 

What was interesting was when I asked him (quite clearly and slowly) about his thoughts processes/behavior.  For instance, what does he do with a thought about a behavior he is not allowed to engage in? How does he control his impulses and what does he do in the moment? It was a bit hard to communicate it through English, but basically said overtime you do not have those thoughts and you pray.  The prayer was a good thing for me to hear.  I also discussed the environment and people impacting behavior.  He said he only spends times with monks.  I joked that, “So you don’t hang out with people who have dinner? He laughed and was entertained with my light humor.  I kept it appropriate of course-he is a monk.  We also talked about meditation and how I am feeling during the meditation, mindfulness, and being aware.  He seemed impressed when I told him about my meditating sessions and told me to keep on doing it. 

When I left the other monks were looking at me.  Oh Priscilla off hanging out in a monks bedroom what those monks were left thinking? Who knows? But the way they were looking at me it seemed like they may have had some impure “thoughts.” It is hard to believe that a monk does not even have thoughts about any impulsive behavior ever? Right?
Do you think you could live like a monk?

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