I was stooped down a bit. I didn't realize it til long after. I think subconsciously i wanted to be at the same level as him. We are very much different, he and I. And yet very much the same.
I felt uncomfortable at first. There was NO way I was allowed to be here. Alone. In a Buddhist temple. With a monk.
It also took me awhile to realize that this was one of my life goals. To learn with monks. I never really knew how I could do it, seeing that I'm a girl. And a Mormon. But today, I did it.
It was God-sent. Yes, I think Buddhists can be sent by God. :) Honestly, this morning had me a little depressed. What was I doing? Three months? In a completely foreign world? The sparkly-magic of tourism had already been punctured. My friend Nathan told me to find a temple. I was overwhelmed.
So I took one street. One road. One building at a time. This was my second temple of the day. It was white. Unlike the other ones. I stopped in, and was about to head out. But this one captivated my attention more than usual.
A monk was watering. He asked where I was from, in beautiful English. I was shy at first. Am I allowed to talk to monks? Turns out I was.
I asked him to tell me where he slept. He showed me instead.
He grabbed the keys to the locked temple. His room. The best bedroom a Buddhist could ask for, I think, inside a temple. He explained a bit, then showed me the spot of ground he slept on, encompassed by mosquito net. 4 hours a night, he said. He has enough energy. More time for meditation.
He talked to me about stuff. How we don't need stuff. I agreed. I thought the conversation pleasant, to both agree on the need to live like a minimalist. I thought I'd be on my way.
I was wrong. The conversation lasted until we were friends.
He talked a lot. I wonder if its a Thai thing. In that case I think I want to live here forever. He told me about Buddhist holidays. And his tattoos. And about taking care of the people. And about taking care of your things, especially your body. That's why his clothes and his body looked good, he said, though they were 5 years and 41 years old, respectively.
There was more. He told me about architecture. I saw where the other 12 slept. Where they studied. Where they meditated. He told me I could see.
He told me to choose good. And choose happiness, instead of their opposites. That your mind can only think one at a time. Everyone dies, he said. So choose happy to fill your mind.
I asked where he learned English. He said one hour of language study a day. From songs. He pulled out his iPhone. Showed me how he learned about the past tense. "Wonderful Tonight." I laughed at the irony of it all, Nathan's company filling my heart. Jazz music filling the grounds of the Buddhist temple. Bliss.
As I rode away I almost cried. I told him I would see him again. I don't even know his name.