Saturday, November 23, 2013

Morality Training

Thank God someone's watching out for me!

Today, Saturday, the EP spent the entire day at Wat Pah Nanachat.  Every year the students participate in a "morality" training at a different wat (temple) in the area.  Today's journey brought us to the International Forest Monastery.

Although the monastery is about 20 km away from school, all students are expected to be there by 8AM, using their own transport.  We began in the main sala for prayers.

lotus flowers at the entry to the sala

shoes, of course, are left outside

gifts for the monks

I was flattered because as I went to sit with the other teachers, a group of girls motioned to me and pointed to the empty mat next to them.

At 9, the monks quietly filed out to eat first.  They are allowed to eat only one meal each day.  The students and their families helped supply much of the food, and there was an abundance.  When the monks returned, we were allowed to take our turn.

teeny, tiny yogurt drinks

Anyone who knows me well, knows how I feel about my food touching.  However, you are allowed to eat only from one bowl.  I was slightly traumatized, but survived.

I have yet to see a dishwashing machine in Thailand.  Although there were well over 100 people, each person hand washed their own dish.

After breakfast we had a little free time, so I was able to walk around a bit and read words of wisdom posted on various trees.

Disclaimer:  I have utmost respect for Buddhism, I agree with many of the principles.  But reading the signs made me feel like I was back in the 70s in some kind of drug induced coma.

I had to look up "arahant". In Buddhism, it means "the perfect one".

a meditation sala

bamboo trees
A short walk through the woods brought us to another sala where the monks would discuss meditation.
After explaining proper body positioning and breathing, the students practiced for a solid 10 minutes.  There was not a sound!

One of the monks modeled walking meditation...

and then it was the students turn.

The monks had their meal for the day, but the rest of us were ready for lunch.  Thai spaghetti and meat sauce.

A little sweeter than I'm used to. I think Thais put sugar in everything they cook!

Some clean-up to help the monks….

and back to the main sala for closing.

Truly an enlightening day for me, and so good to see the children in this setting!
I'm told we can expect excellent behavior for probably two weeks following the visit  :)

a few parting shots of my colleagues…

Namo Amida Buddha!