Goodbye Patong

Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

My last post was about reverence vs. irreverence. I'd like to continue this dichotomy with the conflicting nature between our place of quarantine (Phuket) and our new residence (Chiang Mai).

I'm at the slump in the trip. My energy is worn, my mind is fogged, and classes are getting into swing. I've enjoyed being surrounded by people of similar interests and engagement. There are no boring classes and each day is met with excellent conversation. On the flip side, there's constant opportunity for recreation and indulgence. Don't get me wrong, I love fun, but I tend to take a low-tone experience the majority of the time, and a lot of what goes on happens to be high-tone. What I mean is, things are too busy and there's lots of socialization. To cope, I take quiet walks by myself in the park and around the gorgeous campus we are lucky to attend (Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University). This makes me feel reverent, as if where I'm at has a profound energy to it. I'll chock that up to the massive golden stupa containing relics of the Buddha, the ancient Bodhi Tree (the species of tree The Buddha sat under when he attained enlightenment), and the occasional monk. What I love about this feeling is the cooling affect it has on my heart. While all the hubbub and the plane ride bubbled up feelings of being scattered and exhausted, the brightness of these areas helps bring calm and collectedness.

Going from Phuket to this is a drastic change. No more tourist causticity or incessant haggling. That being said, the last days in Phuket were spent amidst beautiful reverence as I've never seen in my life.

Wat Doi Thepnimit sits on a mountain overlooking Patong beach. It's brilliant temple is surrounded by intricately crafted depictions of supernatural protectors of The Dhamma ( The Buddha's teachings). On Saturday morning, a group of us brought offerings to the monks morning meal. We partook in setting up, listening to a chant and a talk, a large (and delicious) potluck, and helped clean up. the festivities were fun, but going back that night left a great, if not greater, impact.
The golden sunset I experienced that evening while being taught walking meditation by a Mae Chee (an eight precept nun) will stick in my mind forever. The wind blew on us as we went on, step by step around the temple. We were then guided to the hall where we listened to chanting and joined in meditation. Upon departure I met with a cool evening and a peace fell upon my heart.

I'll miss that temple, but definitely not Patong Beach.