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It is May 17, 2009. All of us here at our Wat, feel quite happy.

I find that things are quite merrily moving along. I haven’t quite yet completed 100 hours of my first days as a monk. But I must have already hit a learning curve along the road. It is quite an impressive teacher that’s allowing me this curve. Is it the great Shakyamuni? I find that things will be very mindful as his presence within each of us grows. I would like to be able to grasp nothingness from everything-schmuck-ness but heck I’ll just have to wait until it’s my turn. So I keep going on, from every which way the helpers are letting me align with my Buddha nature. I’m gratefully blissful. Methinks: that’s enough about my so-called profound stuff. Today, earlier during the afternoon/evening, I met up with Patiporn and Tipargorn (He is a resident of Tatrum- which holds many of the monks and is quite near in the area of our Wat Nongbua). It was a nice (and informal) meeting between us three peoples. We had two monks and one non-monk Sa-nGha. We also, had the by now- an effervescent presence of Tem--he’s a helper at this WAt office. His role is that of a multiple-errands-runner but due to his very reluctant skills of spoken English, he usually does not want to join in meetings of English speaking types. But other than that- English as Second language teaching- it’s a great new thing--coming along. I want to get done here, one of these days. Although, it really is pretty neat to be able to hang out with this crowd (or is it a gang?!). I am tired, really tired starting of every morning with a bunch of these meds, etc. and them stretching over onto this overall lazy-hazy body that has carried a cyst for sometime, at this point. Let’s see how this overall cyst-mist-the-lifestory (of yours truly) pans out. I don’t claim to know any answers. But as far as broadening my horizon-type-questions go, I always try my best to bring them to your table. What would the Buddha (the top master of human psyche that exists) have about answering me, if he ever had seen me (as a med-Buddha)? … I guess that will do it for the evening of May 17, 2009. Peace out, now. It is another morning here. It is today, May 18, 2009. I feel like food. Earlier on, we (two plus many others--the monks) took to the streets. We were anointed (by the lay person) to be the receivers of their alms and mendicant-like. But after begging for food, I guess it did put my life’s humility into perspective. I have found out that being a monk has been measured (read: graded) within the ranks (and files) of the preexisting SaN-gha. But in any case, it appears that all of the SaN-gha has had a bowl in their hands, at some point during their lives and careers in spirituality (read: Buddhism). It is clear in my heart that talking the walk, was much easier than say readily putting my arms out in embrace of this method of training my mind--to be humble, sharing and also accepting from a generous hand(s) (that gave away- the alms). I am not always sure as to what my problems with people of the streets (read: panhandlers) of India or anywhere else could have been. I recall that when we were younger, my parents instilled this sort of a dread about any person, who begs. The begging in India might have raised some older dread (for both my parents who also were raised in dirt poor origins) within their hearts (So they told all of us (the kids) never to possibly entertain any beggars). Now of course, I find that any time spent as a poor person, must be a real story in itself. I don’t claim to know it, just by becoming a monk, but somewhere there in lies, in a nutshell the story of my capacity to have some kind of “humility” (as opposed to the co dependent- “that humiliated ___”). I find in this morning a very content and almost loving feeling crossing us all here at

the Wat. It has come to the end of our day here at the WaT. I have been close to farms and lakes, people and more through the day, here. The one lake to remember was Lake Ambun. The other one Wat that we were able to discuss is: Wat Cokt-hum. Think that will do it for the really crazy amounts of madness that one can pack in ceremonies and newbie-monkshood. I am signing off today, Peace out on May 18, 2009. We have done another alms round. It was without a doubt, another humbling experience. It put some of the things in the whole practice of Buddha’s way into perspective. Tapigorn monk is probably shortly going to head on back over to Tartum (district) where his village is. (Tartum is the name of a district. These districts are like counties over in America). While we’re over in Tartum; Roeng will be having some sort of a localized version of Buddha (golden statue) consecration. This statue will be carried back there by Dr. Roeng. We the other monks, hope to follow him. We are his personal followers (read: helper monks). I feel that matters are very freaky geeky as far as my learning on the job-time has been so far. The job (if you may call it that) is staying as a good novice monk (of my teacher). Every now and every then, I’ll just become a rogue monk. In any case, lot of learning and people’s respect has gone into my first 4 days as a monk. We are optimistic here, of my finishing day 5, that’s May 19, 2009 Tuesday. This morning, I had a moving feeling which I got from the SaN-gha heart. It went extremely kindly at the alms round (basically: early morning walk with a bowl exercise, which is described earlier). Then, suddenly I ran into another monk whose mom was ready with her food outside. It was pretty moving to see her, give her own son the alms (with humility plus deep faith written all over her face). Then, my new monk bud and I went over back to the bus station and finally as if preparing to exit somewhere….we did in fact quite the opposite. We went right back inside the WaAt campus. Then, I got to hear a very nice chanting after we had dispersed our respective SaN-gha’s earlier earnings or collective alms offerings. These (meal packets) became the sharing of (merit via) generosity amongst our small group of SaN-gha of which I had become an invitee novice (monk). The younger monks were totally cheerful and ready to accept the Dhamma after waking up early (by Thai traditional standards 4:30a.m is the wake-up call). So, this morning has taught me already and looking forward to more of it, until it will be our-Thai lunch hour (of SaN-gha kind). I am also, contemplating writing a phonemic style spelling for Wat--as WaAt? It feels the second one’s closer to the original Thai way of saying the word. Peace now. Oh by the way, Tapigorn monk forgot his cellie here. Poor guy-he will be missing out on a piece of technology. Hope that he gets to come back to pick it up. Right now, he’s gone back home. His home Tartum is a bit ways from here (roughly 60 km.) So, I stand corrected, if it was mentioned about it being very close to WaAt Nong boa. The first thought of today, is my learning of can-d0-compassion. This is possibly the very basis on which things have appeared to the Buddha (the enlightened one). His very actions let us reflect everyday on this one way of can-do-compassion. In American contexts, this will apply as it seeks to pluralize- its citizenry (the writer belongs there). It is another morning at the WaAt. May 20, 2009 and around breakfast time that we have gathered. Another day at the alms round and another lesson  have we done. I want to express this thought today--before it completely looses itself…

Earlier on, my friend Roeng and my self were chatting away. Then, he mentioned about speaking to a village chief whose mother had passed away. It got me wondering about death (mine to be specific). Let’s use a little bit of anthropological-culture here. Let’s pretend for a second that I passed away in Timbuktu. The cultural mores of the dying would be applied to anybody who does die there. But, who would like to bring a foreigner’s body to the way of Timbuktuans dead body disposal (for lack of better descriptive)? This is where a spiritual belief system does tie in to the cultural mores of its people. So, I have a good chance of getting an Indian as are my looks, also I have a half-way decent chance of getting some white man preside over my dead body. This is because upon my death I will be treated as an American (I am passport carrying and non-union kind of U.S guy) and also because of the way I look, Timbuktuans might assume that I was of Indian blood (good guess!) and get me a Hindu death certificate. (Does the certificate really count anyhow?) Which one of these realities is worth a duality-check in my mind? I guess, this can now be the reality check of death in and off itself. Thank you and sending all readers much loving. I am particularly happy that things are a matter of personal Sa-nGha-ness (as in my participatory attitude in Thai culture of monks) to my Thai host WaAT (temple). I’m getting ready to be involved in a death ceremony. It will be held in a village chief’s residence. His mother’s taken off to her heavenly (*nirvana) abode. The ceremony is on a Sunday. Other than that it’s May 22, 2009 and we have rounded up and eaten the alms (for breakfast and leftovers as lunch). As usual the request for Ajahn Roeng had been made by the relatives of the deceased lady.