Saturday, July 09, 2005

Wat Songdhammakalyani

16 June 2005

I cannot begin to describe how amazing an opportunity I have--this place is really something else, and it is a little unbelievable to think that I will be living here for almost 2 weeks. I am staying in a little room in one of the guesthouses, and it is very simple, but nice. My bed is little and wooden, with just a thin little comforter on top. The heat inside the room is almost oppressive, but with the fan going strong, the breeze is quite nice. This is such a warm and friendly environment, and I am eager to be surrounded by the women staying here.

Evening chants at 7:00, followed by meditation and group chat--feet are asleep, knees sore. The collective voices of the women are beautiful and I am honored to let my own sound blend in with theirs. Each woman takes turns leading each chant for the evening and morning sessions--this simple act of giving them voice is so powerful. This is empowerment, this is authority. And it is incredible that I am here to learn from it. Something really special is being made here, something that is changing the concept of "sangha" and traditional Buddhism.

Bedtime comes at 8:30, and I am happy to be falling asleep--tomorrow will be another full day.

First day in Thailand!

15 June 2005

very happy--today was a good day and tomorrow looks to be wonderful too. I think that's one of the best things about traveling; each day--hell, each moment in each day--has the potential to bring new experiences. I am happy to be here and to be blessed enough to be able to meet new challenges and opportunities.

After my language lesson (which was so helpful! at least i feel like i'm somewhat more competant!), I set off to explore Bangkok. I rode the skytrain for a while, stopping at various places and walking around. I've found that I'm enjoying this city much more than I thought I was going to--Delhi left me in such a state of shock that any big, foreign city now seems overwhelming and scary! But I am glad to be learning new things about myself and my own abilities--perhaps the greatest gift that comes with international travel. After my exploring, I went out for dinner with John and Tarn--sooooo good. I ate food I had never eaten before--such unique tastes and flavors. I am eager to try even more....

Tomorrow is more language tutoring and then I leave for the temple! I am so excited to be in the presence of such a great teacher, Dhammananda. And nuns!!! What could be better?!

I'm reminded how nice it is to be living simply again. To have only what I need, and to find great value in those possessions precisely because they each have a specific purpose. Each night I do my "laundry"--washing the shirt and underwear I wore that day. And it's such a simple act, but always feels so good. I mean, I know it sounds silly, but there is deep meaning in those little daily tasks, and when we become mindful in the "doing" of those actions, it feels so beautifully whole. I must learn to bring that into my life more fully--

I think that's about it for now. Very content, but also excited for more adventures.