Monday, January 29, 2007

Pat is off the Golf Course and Into the Temple

The enlightened glow comes after a very long process ripe with baptism and a sense of rebirth. Buddhism is 2550 years old and its traditions are still being kept alive here in the Kingdom of Thailand. It is a wonderful tradition for men, who wish to announce to their family and their community that they are ready to take on more responsibility or that they are ready for drastic change in there life, to become a monk for a short time. Some young men stay in the temple for a couple of weeks, others a few days, some as long as 6 months or even 1 year. It is a pause button for life. While they are monks they are not allowed to make money, eat after lunch, touch a woman, kill even an insect, and well another 200 + rules that I don’t have time to list for you, especially since even the monks I asked struggled to get more than 30 of them.

I am going to let the photos do most of the communicating here, but for Western people I’d like you to think about this. Monks live in peace and exist outside the commercial world all together. They are provided with time to truly meditate and ponder things the modern man has lost tack of as these moments of self indulgence are seen by Western people as idleness and unworthy because, after all, it produces no income.

Not going to preach, but understand the water symbolism a bit. It is of course the washing away of sins and past mistakes. The monk will have all of his hair shaved from his head, he will be washed, and then he will wash the feet of his parents who are responsible for bringing him into this world. It is a ceremony devoted to honoring parents.

Last note I promise. Buddha is not a God. He was a teacher who found enlightenment and offers his philosophies as to how this peace of mind could be reached. 2550 years of influences on the religion has not corrupted its simple focus on self development, respect for nature and others, and attempting to live in the now rather than get lost in past or future.

By the way the man becoming a monk here is my close friend Pat, a great golfer, a fabulous friend, and now a guy trying to become a better man. He will be in the temple for 15 days. I'm putting all the photos down bellow, enjoy.