31 century museum around the world

It’s not as you think. It’s not as it seems.

Language : ENGLISH : THAI

This morning, after cycling to Doi Suthep, on my way back home around Wat Umong, I noticed a monk pushing a wheelchair heading towards Wat Umong. I cycled pass him and turn around to take a better look. I found that in the wheelchair, there was a dog and a monk’s alms-bowl filled with food. I was surprised, so I stopped to watch.

As he approach closer, I started to notice that it seems like he’s unwell. He was slow and frail. So I asked him whether he’s sick, and if so, why is he out asking for alms? Why didn’t he wait for meals at the temple? “It’s not as you think. It’s not as it seems.” He replied. I didn’t understand the answer, so I repeatedly asked him that there are many other younger monks out asking for alms, why didn’t he wait for them at the temple? He replied still, “It’s not as you think. It’s not as it seems.” I was baffled. I followed him with curiosity wondering why a sick monk was out on his round for alms.

I asked him how long has he been ordained? Where was he staying? Is he staying at Wat Umong? Aren’t there anyone taking care of you? He answered that he has been in monkhood for over 30 years. He moves from temples to temples. He’s new at Wat Umong. He started to explain that nowadays, monks aren’t as how we think, and they’re not as they seem to be. Once they reach the age of 30 to 40, they will leave their monkhood, get married and have children. For they fear when they grow old, they would lack people to care for them.

I still wonder if anyone is taking care of him. Why is he still asking for alms on his own despite him being so weak? He answered that if he didn’t, then he would have nothing to eat. I questioned him further about the other young monks. To which he replied, that us humans have to help ourselves to our utmost first. If the day comes when we cannot depend on ourselves anymore, then just go into the forest, find a peaceful place and leave this life. I was struck dumb for a second. It really was surprising and unexpected to receive such an answer from him, especially from monks these days. Those words were truly simple and detached.

I felt a steadfast purity from him. I turned these questions to myself. If we were to be sick and ill, would we still go on out for alms? Would we depend on ourselves till the end? Or are we already accustomed to dependency that we forgot about independence? In that moment, I was elated and felt his way of practice is truly admiring, truly natural.

31st October 2012

Share Published on Nov 02, 2012 at 1:39 am.
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