Thursday, December 15, 2011

Forest monks

One afternoon, thirteen of us crammed into an open air taxi; which appeared to me like a smaller, cleaner and more modern version of a dala dala. We were told we were going to visit a special Buddhist monastery, one with meditating monks - the only of their kind on the island. For an hour and a half we drove up hills, around corners, and through highly touristic villages, all the while trying not to jab an elbow in the face of the person sitting next to us. We only later found out that the monastery is located a mere 10 kilometers east of Bang Bao. But due to a number of mountainous hills, no road was ever created to connect the two locations. Instead, those in Bang Bao have to drive the entire perimeter of the island to reach the monastery. On our return, we opted for a boat ride instead.

The monastery is located on top of one of the aforementioned mountainous hills, surrounded by trees. It houses four small sleeping huts set on stilts (one of which being the resting place of one or two deceased monks in a coffin hanging off the underbelly of the hut),
an unpretentious temple,
a few other one-roomed buildings and places of worship. The four living monks spend most of their days sitting in meditation, or walking along a prayer path in order to release pent up energy.

The local is quite beautiful, not to mention peaceful.  Yet, I don't see how the monks manage it.  I'd be bored in minutes... (I can't manage to meditate for more than 10 minutes, none-the-less years).

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