Friday, June 24, 2011


A Buddhist Prayer
May all beings be peaceful and happy.
May all beings be free of all ignorance, all cravings and all aversions.
May all beings be free of all suffering, all sorrows and all conflicts.
May all beings be filled with infinite loving kindness, compassion and equanimity. 
May all beings be fully enlightened. 

      My travels around the world have taught me that there is always something to see, always something to learn, always something to experience.  On our way to Kanchanaburi province our bus broke down in a remote area and we had to wait almost two hours for another one.  Fine.  This was a perfect opportunity to explore a town that never has foreigners walking its streets.  We fanned out across a town about the size that DeLand was 20 years ago and discovered their open-air market, saw preparations for a  Buddhist funeral which was going to take place underneath a tent set up in the street, and finally came upon a Ramayana Buddhist temple (most Buddhists in Thailand are of the Theraveda XXX variety).  These were Chinese monks who had come to Kanchanaburi  province decades ago (perhaps during China’s Cultural Revolution?  I wasn’t really sure on that point) and stayed.  We took off our shoes and respectfully entered the temple, which was in a very different style than most Thai temples.  The monks heard us and came out of their chambers, wearing their saffron-colored robes.  They were as curious about us as we were about them – I’m sure that Americans had never stepped foot in that temple before!  (When I keep referring to “we” I mean about 4 other Fulbright folks and a Thai researcher from Thammasat University who was able to translate what the monks said.  The abbot was very happy to take us around the temple showing us meditation rooms, relics, etc., but after a while I wandered off from the others and followed the sound of chanting and bell ringing.  In one of the chapels of the temple was a monk who was chanting a prayer while ringing a bell and, as the abbot had told us they didn’t object to photography, I recorded him for a few minutes.  Hopefully I’ll be able to upload that clip.  The longer we stayed the more monks came out of their chambers, keeping a respectful distance from us as we did from them.  Unable to linger longer, we went back to the main road where a replacement bus soon took us away from the village of the monks.