A Dog in the Dhamma - Wanted to be a monk#2

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A Dog in The Dhamma # 1 - # 4

Postby siamdog » Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:13 am

1. Dogs in the Temple

The sonorous sound of the big bell in the early morning was the sound I got used to since I was a very little puppy. Just as it began, the big shots, the senior and the underlings (not less than a hundred dogs that lay around the monastic area) got up, lifted their heads and howled intentionally. Some who were too lazy to get up just stretched their necks and harmoniously, clamorously, joyfully howled for a while. Then they all stopped at the same time as if they were programmed!
Everything was restored – peaceful - as if there was nothing had happened previously.
I had always wondered why they did that. But I didn’t dare to ask the big shots because of their mean-looking and aloofness. By the way, I asked my fellow.
“I dunno,” he bared his teeth and said. “I just followed the big shots’ acts. It is better than not doing anything, and looks smart also.”
That wasn’t smart at all, personally, so I had never joined them in the howling. This made some seniors gave me the angry-looking that implied plainly:
‘This thing is so stupid that he can’t howl, or only be lazy?’
Then I avoided their eyes, pretending not to see anything. Time and again, they finally assumed that I was stupid and had not been interested in this matter anymore. In fact, I didn’t like the howl - especially the big pack’s all different howl. I had often jerked awake due to the noise when I was a puppy. It took me quite a while to put up with this frightful sound since I didn’t have mother, who would take care of and comfort me, like other puppies did. Monks’ old robes were my comfortable place to sleep. Condensed milk dissolved in water by Luang Ta (ta = grand father) Chaeng, who took care of me, was my food.
Though I didn’t like the howl in the morning, I still loved this moment most. It’s cool and relived; could be due to various plants within the monastic area. There were well-organized, untied fruitful trees, flowering trees. Faint wind caressed droplets of dew, flowers, grass and trees and dispersed fragrant, refreshing air all around. Calmness and warmness mingled well and turned to be a very comfort atmosphere. I always inhaled this air deeply … , it was so good.
I usually crouched on the spacious cement parking lot, in the corner where I could catch sight the most monastic area. By crouching, I could easily see what was happening, who did what. I considered that looking after the monastic area and keeping anyone from snatching away temple’s belongings or doing anything as one like were my accountabilities.
The temple where I lived was spacious, clean, cool and pleasant. From the gate you could see the superior ubosot (a hall for bimonthly expiatory ceremony of monks) with a surrounding low wall. Outside the wall there were shade trees all around. Crematorium and a hall for funeral chanting were far away. The further were a studying hall for monks and samaneras (novice monks), the abbot’s dwelling and general monks’ dwellings. Next to the dwellings was a bamboo garden planted in lines.
In the rear of the bamboo garden was a place where no one wanted to go - the mortuary.
The assembly hall, a place for offering food to monks, for listening to sermon and performing religious ceremonies, was diagonally opposite the ubosot. Another side of the ubosot was a large pond where people liked to drop fishes and turtles into. To prevent those turtles from wandering around, the temple fenced in the pond therefore. Anyway some (turtles) had wiggled themselves out and wandered as far as some (people) went to see and took them back to the pond.
We, dogs, were grouped and lived around the monastic area. The big shots were the bold seniorities to which no one dared to question. They chose areas where they wanted to live, then the underlings decided to whom they wanted to affiliate. These underlings had to keep strangers (either human beings or dogs) from intruding their territories. They had not to forget themselves trespassing into other’s territories also, even if there were so seductive things (sexy dogs, just as!). Well, the big shots had to supervise, monitor and help their underlings out when there were emergencies as well.
At the beginning they had scrambled for places, but could agree on where their gangs would live after the battling against each others was enough to test others’ capacity.
I would like to tell you that they were grouped just by dogs’ procession and decision; human beings had no concern with the matter at all. This indicated that dogs were smart, thoughtful too. We (dogs) were not stupid as you (people) thought!
There were five dog–gangs in this monastic area. The first gang was lead by ‘Mr. Rambo’. Monks named him after his strong, huge and handsome (with bulbous head) appearance. His unique characteristic was hairless skin; his body was hairless totally! Oh, he was not mangy. But I could not tell you what breed he was of since nobody had ever talked about this matter. I only knew that he was an invulnerable, robust and quiet brutal senior dog. In important fact, he was very proud of his appearance, strutting around the monastic area all day. That’s very tiresome! However, he was a vigorous and had many underlings. He would have more underlings than other big shots did.
Mr. Rambo’s gang occupied the ground in front of the ubosot. In the day time they usually lay at the foot of trees and at the rear of the ubosot in order to avoid obstructing people. At night they would amble, relax or lie down around the ubosot. If one would decide to go there (to do something bad), one should think carefully therefore. Be very thoughtful!
The second gang was lead by ‘Mr. Moses’. Hid name was also given by the monks who enjoyed creating dogs’ names. Mr. Moses had white hair with a few scattered black spots, and a round black spot just on his one eye socket. He looked superficially as though he was wearing one-eyed, black glasses, just as Mr. Moses (a people) wore. That was the origin of his name.
In my eyes, Mr. Moses was a quite handsome; young guy of brave appearance, but too hot head. He would bite every dog due to whatever. Other dogs were in fear of him and appointed him as a big shot, therefore. Mr. Moses’ gang stayed at the assembly hall area, where there were general and valuable things, including donation box and antiqued figures of the Buddha.
Once, the Abbot (an executive monk) had discussed with monks that they should put glass cabinet on the Buddha figures. But some monks objected the idea because the Buddha would be uncomfortable and looked unholy. Additionally, there were such many dogs that no one (thief) would be daring to steel the things. Wow! Did you see that we were useful - we could preserve the temple’s property? Comparing us (dogs) to the thieves, could you tell me who were better and more valuable!
The third gang’s leader was ‘Mr. Chern Longe’ - you could call him ‘Jackie Chan’. I happened to know that he was firstly called just “Longe” because he had lost (longe – Thai language that means lose) his way from somewhere else. The other dogs dealt with him harshly when he came into the monastic area. Mr. Longe fought toughly, furiously and bloodily until monks and samaneras ran helter-skelter to keep them apart. Then the dogs that admired his fearless and toughness had recognized him as their big shot. Monks and samaneras appreciated also and they all together added ‘Chern’ to the origin name, so he became ‘Chern Longe’ from then on. Monks said that it was a chinese action – movie superstar’s name.
Mr. Chern Longe’s gang occupied the area in front of the abbot’s dwelling and scattered around monks’ dwellings. This gang functioned as sentries – to look after monastic area all day and all night. They worked harder than other gangs because people always visited monks, partially the abbot. Some were kindly, some were malicious, and some wanted to cheat monks! Mr. Chern Longe had to perform as a protector; observing visitors thoroughly with his sharp eyes and ingenuity. He could classify and specify who were good or who were bad so precisely that everyone was bewildered.
Once, there was an expensively-dressed woman came to visit the abbot by a grand car. Mr. Chern Longe had watched the car since it was running through the gate till it stopped at front of the abbot’s dwelling. The driver got off the car and opened the car door for the woman. Just as she get off the car, Mr. Chern Longe barked loudly and acted like to shoot forward her. She was in shock and then indiscriminately screamingly abused all dogs. The driver tried to drive away dogs and acted like to kick them, but he was afraid to do that since Mr. Chern Longe snarled preparing to bike him.
As if it was not enough, his underlings rushed into the two; they got in the car in a hurry urgent and drove off. Mr. Chern Longe’s gang ran after and barked at the car to Mr. Moses’ territory, and then they ran back and left it to Mr. Moses’ gang to chase those two people off. Mr. Moses’ gang stopped chasing at Mr. Rambo’s territory (the assembly hall). Then Mr. Rambo’s gang took the responsibility for driving off the car until it ran beyond the temple’s gate.
The Abbot gave Mr. Chern Longe a scolding for this inordinate act; chased the visitors away before the abbot had a chance to talk with them. Mr. Chern Longe sat in front of the abbot with a woebegone face, said nothing…
Days later, the Abbot gave Mr. Chern Longe a hug of approval and said to him.
“Aye, Longe, you guy are so smart. You’re more proficient at evaluating people than me. I would rather be cheated like that temple’s abbot, if you didn’t help me.”

Now, let’s go to the forth gang. This gang’s leader was ‘Mr. Wanne’. He was named after his face – indeed. In fact, he was ferocious but was frisky for those who he was acquainted with. He always played tag with people. Monks and samaneras usually stopped off for plating with him when they weren’t busy. He was slightly built with soft white-hair and big crystal clear eyes. One day, everyone who had come across him exclaimed: ‘Hey!’, and giggled. Even the Abbot couldn’t help to be amused. Why not!? There were two black rings round each of his eyes. He looked as though he wore big eyeglasses with those quite big rings. But the person - Mr. Wanne - concerned had no inkling about the matter. He had only been wondered with innocent looking - why those laughed at him. The Abbot had asked for the doer but none had known. Then he asked someone to rub out the rings, but they were still there. The rubber said that they were permanent-inked. Mr. Wanne had worn the eyeglasses since.
Mr. Wane wasn’t very ruthless. He had fewer underlings than other big shots did. Dogs might have not confidence in him because of his strange-looking. His gang kept watching on the crematorium’s frontage where no need of vigorous force had, since none would like to steal anything from that place. His force should be a supplement force for other gangs that I had mentioned before. When any gang was in need of help, Mr. Wanne’s force could give assistance immediately because his force was almost at the middle; among the ubosot, small vihara and monks’ dwellings.

Now, let’s talk about the fifth gang, the last gang of this temple. To compare the temple to a house, this gang would be liked the backyard’s guard. At the bamboo garden, beyond monks’ dwellings, was this gang’s territory. There was quiet, peaceful with medium-seized stemmed bamboo. The Abbot asked monks to cut these stems for making use and to prune the clump of bamboo regularly. Folk could ask for permission to dig bamboo shoots for meal. Anyway most people weren’t to feel like going there, although that area was clean, cool and pleasant with stone table and chairs for sitting down and relaxing. Even monks and samaneras wouldn’t like to visit there unnecessarily because the mortuary was nearby.
‘Dok Kaew (orange jasmine’s flower)’ was this gang’s leader. So sweet name, right?
The big shot was female undoubtedly. Miss Dok Kaew’s background was very similar to my. Both of us had been left at the temple since we were puppies, but in a different place. She was dropped under the burst into blossom, fragrant orange jasmine trees beside the temple’s wall. A monk had come upon her and picked up her. On my case, I was dropped next to the temple’s gate. Fortunately, no one had an idea of naming me “Pratoo (gate)” or “Pratoo Wat (temple’s gate)”.
Miss Dok Kaew was an elegant dog with polished black hair, a bunched tail and dark brown – yellow eyes. She looked imperturbable and reverent when she stared at anyone. In addition to resolve, toughness, and self-confidence she was dignified of femininity also. She didn’t let the natural desire to dominate her satisfaction during the rut. No male dog was able to force Miss Dok Kaew because she would fight with all her heart until the others abandoned the effort.
Her savage and resolve made the dogs in the bamboo garden recognize her as the leader. This indicated that there was equal right (between men and women) in dog social.
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siamdog
 
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ADog InThe Dhamma # 2

Postby siamdog » Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:52 am

2. My Life

As you known there were so many dogs in the temple and they were grouped and lived in five areas. Did you have a doubt which gang I joined in? Have a guess! Well, I was sure you miss your guess because I was not belonging to any gang.

I was under the patronage of Luang Ta Chaeng. Luang Ta Chaeng told the kith and kin that I was unable to open my eyes when he picked up me. Luang Ta said the one who abandoned me was really mean. As so young puppy would surely die if it didn’t have milk and no one brought it up because it was unable to take care of itself. The puppy’s mother would run around madly to look for her puppy due to maternal instinct. They (animals) were only not able to speak human language but they felt love for their puppies liked people. Their suffering, when their puppies were taken away, was not different from humans who lost their babies.

Dog mothers would bustle anxiously about everywhere to seek for their puppies. Living as a human was much more comfortable than living as an animal did. But people frequently made animals be more suffering instead of giving them sympathy and help. By the way, the wicked people would get fruit of misdeeds sooner or later.

Luang Ta Chaeng had brought me up carefully in his dwelling. My mattress was monks’ old robes that were washed tidily. I felt safe and slept well because Luang Ta slept not far from my. He looked after and protected me from danger. He fed me on milk and water when I was hungry. He mixed rice with canned fishes for me when my tiny teeth grew up. I liked this menu very much even though I could have several menus by now.

Monks and samaneras, who usually played with me, said that I was ugly and all dirty haired when I was a little puppy. It was hard to tell what color my hair was. But the more I grew up, the more I was lovely. To tell the truth, I didn’t know what lovely was but only knew that my name was ‘Thong Thao’. Luang Ta Chaeng named me by himself; other monks were not involved at all. Otherwise my name would be odd like other dogs.

Luang Ta explained my name originated from my fairly grey (thao in Thai language) hair. People usually said it was strange-looking color. Early, I was not interested in my hair color, but after hearing they said so I ran all over the monastic area to see other dogs. I found that no one (dog) had the same hair color as me. My hair between the under of my chin and my chest was yellow, Luang Ta said it was golden yellow (thong in Thai language). He named me ‘Thong Thao’, therefore.

I loved to run after Luang Ta to everywhere in the manastic area since I was a little puppy. People and dogs in the temple were familiar with the picture of a little dog running, falling over and getting up again and again, and trying to catch up with Luang Ta Chaeng. Where there was Luang Ta, there was Thong Thao – except when Luang Ta made his daily round of alms collection and did monkish practices. Therefore, all junior and senior dogs were acquainted with me.

Luang Ta Chaeng, a tiny old deft monk with glowing look, was the whole dogs’ beloved monk. He usually visited dogs around the monastic area, group by group in his leisure time, to check whether dogs were all there. He would wear his bag over the shoulder. He would wear his bag over the shoulder; there were full of common household remedies for dogs such as antiseptic, cotton, antiseptic, soap, and sulphur in the bag.

He remembered all dogs in the temple and regularly examined dogs’ health with scrupulous care. He applied medicament to wounds and gave medicine to the patients (dogs). If any dog was pregnant he would estimate when she should drop a litter. Then he prepared place for dropping for the dog that was about ready to give birth, and told her to drop a litter there. She seemed to understand and followed his instruction.

Luang Ta provided the dog that just dropped a litter with food so they had not to scramble for meal among other dogs. She could be replete and had enough milk for her puppies. Luang Ta was usually kind to puppies particularly; that would be for the reason that puppies were lovely like infants. Some dog mothers didn’t feed milk to their puppies when the puppies grew up for a little. Luang Ta provided meal for the puppies and kept watch on them until they replete; otherwise, they would have nothing to eat – the big dogs would take all food. Luang Ta bathed the grower puppies so they were more clean-looking.

I ran after Luang Ta to visit dogs almost every time. So I knew many things, understood for something, and did not for others - especially human affairs – such as why people chased temple dog instead of making merit. The dog was no one else but me!

I remembered that was a Buddhist Day. There were many people to make merit. Most of them were old and middle aged; yong people and children were rare. I was playing in front of the assembly hall while Luang Ta and other monks were chanting and giving kith and kin’s blessing in the hall. Suddenly I was seized and lifted up by someone. I startled and looked up to see the people. She was a beautiful woman so that my fear was lessened. She hugged me and said to the man who came with her.

“So cute!”

The man stared at me for a little while and nodded.
“Mmm, it should make money,” said he. I wondered what he meant.

“No! Don’t sell it. I like it. I’ll take it. Take a look, its color is so strange.”

“That’s cool and it’ll make much money,” he stood firm.

“Do you know what breeding stock it is? What would you tell buyers?” asked the woman.

“Look, any breeding is okay. Let’s talk big!” he said sloppily.

“No! I’ll take it.”

I looked at the woman and then the man. What on earth was it? What were they doing? Who were they? How could they take possession of me shamelessly? Did they though that I couldn’t understand anything? I writhed and fled from her embrace abruptly. She tried to grab me but was too slow. The man joined in therefore. I ran around quickly to evade from them and shouted simultaneously. They chased me disorderly.

Suddenly, the senior dogs that had hid themselves at bushes, nooks and crannies, rushed into the both and barked earsplitting. Some (dogs) snarled and growled madly as if they would bite those people at any time. But I knew that they wouldn’t because the abbot prohibited definitely the temple dogs from biting people who came to make merit. Therefore, all dogs had only snarled and barked threateningly, looked like berserk zombies. Anyway the two were very terrified by the action.

They (people) were encircled by a large pack; the woman screamed, the man yelled to drive dogs off, and the dogs barked threateningly. The noise had made many people come out of the hall to see what was happening. Two Luang Phies strode out of the hall too.

When the dogs saw yellow robes, all disappeared in an instant leaving the two people vituperating them continuously. Being startled but curious to know what would happen next, I hid in a corner nearby. I heard Luang Phie Khaeg asked the two solemnly.

“What of it?” he asked like this because all monks understood well those dogs would not behave rowdily if no one (people) did anything bad in the temple.

“Nothing, sir. We just carried a puppy,” said the man without assurance.

“Where is the puppy?” asked Luang Phie Khaeg.

“It’s over here a moment ago. The grayish one, sir,” the woman pushed herself forward.

“Oh, him!” two monks exclaimed at the same time and their eyes met. Then they turned back to the hall.

“Luang Phie, sir,” called the woman.

Both of Luang Phies stopped walking and turned to her. The woman and the man walked up to the monks. The woman said to Luang Phie Nahm, she should think that the faired-skinned handsome monk would be a kind person, but didn’t look at Luang Phie Khaeg at all.

“Luang Phie, sir. May I have the puppy? I like it very much and want to bring it up.”

My heart skipped a beat. I listened carefully to Luang Phie’s answer. Luang Phie Namh looked around and asked smilingly.

“Where is the dog?”

“It had already run away, sir,” said the man.

“It ran away - that means it didn’t want to be with you. So you should better not take it because it should escape from you again,” Luang Phie Nahm said patiently.

“It couldn’t sir. I’ll cage it.”

Luang Phie Nahm smiled and turned away, but Luang Phie Khaeg stared at the man and pointed at the monastic area.

“Don’t you see, the temple’s area is more than ten rais (1 rai = 1,600 sqm.). Dogs live a happy life and are free here. Now, you’ll confine it in a small cage. How would it feel about?” asked he.

“Oh, Luang Phie! It doesn’t have a feeling of that. It’s just a dog!”

“Eh!” I exclaimed to myself just when the two Luang Phies exclaimed loudly.

“Dog has feelings similar to people.”

Oho! Luang Phie Nahm’s words truly touched my heart. But the man and the woman took no interest in those words. The woman said to Luang Phies.

“My goodness, Luang Phie! How can you compare people to dog? Right then, let me have the puppy. If you agree on I’ll catch it by myself. It should be over here.”

Luang Phie Nahm was at a loss for words, but Luang Phie Khaeg said in stern voice.
“All dogs in the temple were under the abbot’s care. You have to ask him yourself. But I don’t know whether he’ll agree on or not.”

“Tut, so trivial! If you don’t agree so we don’t take it. Just a temple dog!”
The man said loudly with dissatisfaction. The woman looked around and saw many people, some were displeased and some were suspicious of them, looking at her and her boyfriend. So she asked the man to go away therefore.

Being absolutely safe, I ran toward Luang Phies. They sat down and rubbed on my head and said: “Boy! Take good care of yourself. People usually want to take you when you are a lovely puppy but would like to abandon you when you are old and ugly - that’s the way being dog is. Just like those,” he looked at the area where my seniors hid.

I recalled I was saved by the seniors’ help so that I ran to thank them. But some were very annoying; looked away affectedly, looked at me out of corner of his eyes, and some affected ignorance. In fact, I thought they were satisfied with my good manner – being graceful for their help. My goodness! I was a temple dog, frequently listened to sermons, so I knew what good things and bad things were.

“Well, well, where is Thong Thao?” Luang ta Chaeng asked while he was hurrying off the hall. He looked around for me. I rushed toward him. He held me in his arms; I hid into his hug at ease.

“That was a close shave, Luang Phor,” Luang Phie Nahm called my Luang Ta ‘Luang Phor (phor means father)’

“Fortunately, the seniors had saved him in time,” said Luang Phie Khaeg. Luang Ta smiled broadly, nodded in agreement and said.

“Well, the dogs are united together and care for relatives.”

Luang Ta carried me and took me to his dwelling. I lay on his lap happily in front of the dwelling. I thought that if I had been caught by those people, they would case me, would not feed me. If I would be stubborn, they would beat or kick me. My god! That was so terrible. Anyway, I only knew that I loved Luang Ta the most, at this moment. He rubbed on my head kindly and spoke softly.
“Well, you would not be show off for days, Thong Thao.”
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A dog in the Dhamma # 3

Postby siamdog » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:10 pm

3. The Full Moon Night of March

I lived happy life as a well-disciplined dog did. I carefully followed the abbot’s, Luang Ta’s, Luang Nar’s, Luang Phies’, including Uncle Co’s teaching.

The rules that all temple dogs had to learn by heart were: ‘you (dogs) must not show yourself when there were temple fairs; you must not walk around, lie or sit on the parking lot or on the ways; you should stay out of sight in shrub, nooks and crannies until the fair ended. Then you could relax as usual.’ These rules were set because:

First - to prevent the dogs from irritating people who came to make merit. Because some people might be displeased of seeing dogs wandered about the temple.

Second - there were many cars drove in and drove off the temple when there were temple fairs. Some dogs got used to sit or lie on the ways or parking lot to take air and to have the sun. They wouldn’t move away even when there were fairs. Some, therefore, were scraped by cars, some were run into, and some were run over by cars. The deaths were released from suffering but the disabled were more a burden to the temple.

Third - some well-wishers, who saw many dogs in the temple, said to the abbot that they would ask municipal officers to catch the dogs. But all monks and Uncle Co (yes, Uncle Co who did not get on with dogs!) did not consent. The abbot then asked the officers to give dogs vaccinations instead.

It looked like there were few dogs in the temple because they (more than a hundred dogs) scattered round the monastic area. They learned to hide themselves, to stay out of sight for their survival.

Daring Uncle Co, however, had to emphasize the dog’s appropriate behavior before the fair began.


Today was a head-shaving day (called by Buddhist monk). Early, I wondered why it was called ‘a head-shaving day’, but I know why later on. I gained knowledge by observing surroundings such as monks and laymen, and listening to the abbot’s, Luang Ta’s and Thaan Maha One’s (a popular preacher) teaching.

I knew about Dharma through listening to Luang Ta Chaeng’s and Thaan Maha One’s preaching. If I was not a temple dog I wouldn’t have a chance to listen to the good things, wouldn’t know right from wrong, wouldn’t know good from bad. I would live the life of a dog that knew nothing but a struggle for survival, day after day. Borne to be a dog, lived a life of a dog and then died a dog as human being frequently abused at others – you bastard! I really did not understand why people had to abuse like that. Did we (dogs) have any concern with your (human beings) matter?

Dog differed greatly from people on shape, look, spoken language, and way of life; such as learning, livelihood, etc. The only thing that people and dog were alike - in my opinion - was having no choice of birth. I thought like this because I often heard people said that if they would have choice of births they would choose to be like this and that person. To be a millionaire like Bill Gates, to be a famous person like Oprah Winfrey, to be a super star like Jackie Chan (not our Chern Long – the big shot). But I had never heard anyone (people) said: ‘I would be borne to be a good person’ or ‘I would be borne to accomplish as much good as one could.’

By the way, no people had choice of birth and no dog did too.

I once quelled my fear and asked Mr. Rambo, one of the big shot.
“Would you ever like to be a people?”

He turned to look at me frigidly as if he wanted to say that:
‘What a weird question!’ then he turned back. Well, I posed a new question that should be better than the first one.

“If you could be a people, what would you want to be?” after asking I fully paid attention to his answer, but Mr. Rambo turned abruptly to gaze me in the eyes and gave me a look that said:

‘Idiot!’ he then turned away and left in a huff, half-bored, half-annoyed.

I had reviewed my questions and Mr. Rambo’s appearance, and I came to the conclusion that Mr. Rambo wouldn’t want to be a people. It might be because he was very older than me, lived in this world longer than me and knew better than me. He looked to be happiest with being a dog.

Anyway, if I would have a choice of birth, I would like to be a people because I wanted to enter the monkhood like my Luang Ta.

I liked to pursue knowledge all over the temple when Luang Ta held a service or arranged personal matters. Anyway, Luang Phie Glaa, a sharp-eyed monk, had noticed my curiousness – running around to listen to people’s talks. So he named me a new name - ‘Ai Rad’ (brassy). God Almighty!

Well, let turn back to the head-shaving day. I already knew that head-shaving day was fourteenth day of the waxing or waning moon. Monks had to get a head-shave every this day, thus it was called the head-shaving day. The day after a head-shaving day was the Buddhist Sabbath. Folk called the fifteenth day of the waxing or waning moon ‘the Important Buddhist Holy Day’. In addition, the eight day of the waxing or waning moon were called ‘the Minor Buddhist Holy Day’.

This head-shaving day was more important because tomorrow would be the very Important Buddhist Holy day – Magha Puja day; the full moon day of the third lunar month. Monks called this day ‘Magha Maas’ - Pali language that meant third month. Magha was three and maas was month. ‘Magha Puja’ was the worship to the great assembly of the Buddhist’s disciples in the third month.

I got this information from listening to Thaan Maha One, the temple’s good preacher. You might think that I was a precocious dog by considering my words. In this respect, most of my words originated from Thaan Maha One. I usually crouched on the floor in the front and looked up to listen to him intentionally when he taught kith and kin Buddhist Teachings in the Buddhist Holy days or when he taught monks and samaneras. Thaan Maha had ever wonderingly glanced at me for many times, as if he would like to ask me: “Did you get it?”

Once, Thaan Maha One said that if one wanted to learn quickly one must have Su, Ji, Pu, and Li. I was interested in this subject immediately, looking forward to see what Su, Ji, Pu, and Li looked like. I waited expectedly for the time when he would take them out from his shoulder bag to show monks and samaneras, but he had never taken them out. However, I understood later on that Su was the abbreviation of Suta – listen, Ji was for Jinta – think, Pu was for Pujcha – inquire, and Li was for Likhit – write. All these were the essence of learning, he said.

He enlarged on the essence that while one listened to teachers one should think over it too. If one was not clear about it one must inquire for clarity. Then one should write down the knowledge so that one could go over it again. Alas, to be a smart learner was so easy! But I couldn’t be a smart learner because I was helpless to write and to ask in human language, I could only listen and think. What a shame!

In Magha Puja day, there were more merit-makers than in general Buddhist Holy days. There was also ‘Wiean Thiean’ - walking around the ubosot with lighted candle, joss sticks, and flowers in hands for three rounds in the early evening. The monastic area was brilliant and beautiful by colorful light bulbs that were installed everywhere. There were tradesmen sold flowers, food and snack. Adults and old people always came to make merits in the daytime, but well-dressed young men and young women came to join the Wiean Thiean ceremony in the evening in couples.

I was not the only dog who got excited by the temple fair. The junior, senior and the big shots were excited too. But we (dogs) had to follow those rules, to hide ourselves out of other’s (people) sight. We followed those rules rigorously during the day, but when darkness had settled down, many of us – included me – could not suppressed our curiosity so we concealed ourselves in bushes’ umbra and made eyes at the unusual activities.

I saw monks walked and prayed after the abbot’s leading. Men, women, the old, the young and the children followed the monks. Each pressed his hands together in respect and held flowers, lighted candle and joss sticks in his hands.

Before the Wien Thiean began, the abbot told everyone to attend the ceremony consciously, concentratedly and insightfully. ‘One should know that tonight Wiean Thiean is hold in order to worship the Buddhist’s virtues. One’s flowers and lighted joss sticks will give off a smell reached the heaven by one’s intended worship, while lighted candle are comparable to bright insight the Buddha gave us for guiding us to the peaceful life. All should make a prayer intentionally for good things, and be careful of your manners. While walking, one should not chat with others or play around. Be careful of candle drips, and watch your joss sticks, don’t scorch others’ backs also. Keep some space between you and the others. Put your flowers on footed trays and stuck your candle and joss sticks at the ubosot’ s frontage after circling the ubosot for three rounds.’

After making clear, the abbot began walking around the ubosot. Then all monks and people followed him. Old men and adults were very self controlled, some moved their lips silently (might be to repeat a prayer after monks or to make a solemn wish – I wasn’t know.). Those children who followed their parents and the older relatives were well–arranged. I wanted to attend the ceremony too, but was at loss to know how I can press my hands together in respect and hold flowers, candle and joss sticks. Therefore I could only watch them.

People were very careful of their behaviors in the first round, but after that some young couples began chatting, smiling at each other, their eyes met. The worst was teenagers at the rear of a procession. They chatted genially in groups and giggled indifferently, inappropriately. Some kidded around with others. I was afraid their joss sticks might scorch the front person. After the time, the senior had to scold teenagers about their inappropriate behaviors. Alas!

In addition, some young couples dodged in the bushes’ shadows after the ceremony. I did not know why they did that. But when they looked on all dark sides and saw glittering eyes here and there, the young women were scared out of their wits and asked the men to go away.


How Magha Buja day was of importance to Buddhist? Thaan Maha One preached on this subject that there was Buddhist miracle happened that day – the full moon with a lustrous halo in the third lunar month. On this day in the time or the Buddha 1,250 ‘Arahants’ (the monkhood followers of the Buddha who attained the ultimate enlightenment) assembled all together without making any appointment at Veluwanaram (the first Buddhist temple). Apart from this, those Arahants were ‘Ehi Bhikkhu’ – monks who were ordained individually by the Buddha.

As the Buddha thought the assembly was marvelous so he took this occasion to announce the principles of Buddhist practice to those followers. So that they were be able to teach the principles to other monks and people. These importance principles of practice for monks and people were called ‘Ovadha Patimokkha (the Fundamental Teaching)’ and there were three essence principles;
First – not to do any evil,
Second – to cultivate good, and
Third – to purify the mind

Thaan Maha One said all people, either Buddhist or non–Buddhist, would live a true happy life if they executed the principles. I would like to follow his teaching and have a happy life although I was only a dog.

Thaan Maha One also said happiness differed from comfort. The rich were able to buy comfort, or convenience, as much as they wanted. But it was not happiness; it was only satisfaction of getting what they wanted. You weren’t able to buy true happiness although you were the richest people. You yourself had to execute the principles so you could see, know and attain to the way of being free from suffering.

He said suffering originated from foolishness and ignorance. Even though there was a guidance giver, you were like a person who got lost in a pitch dark cave, if you were still unconscious, were unable to think something over and didn’t free yourself from suffering.

After trying to think Thaan Maha One’s words over, reviewing these three principles, I saw the way as clear as anything. For the first principle – not to do any evil, if we didn’t do all evil deeds, we would feel good therefore. If we executed the second principle – just to do goods, we should be much happier, because good doers should be happy naturally. When we were very happy then we would move towards the third principle – to purify our mind – so easy. It was clear that these three principles were closely related. Being on the principles wasn’t difficult if you firmly intended to be a happy person. But it wouldn’t be easy for those whose lives were in a mess.

I thought I was very lucky to be a temple dog at this peaceful temple. The monks were very kind to homeless, suffered animals. They provided us (people and dogs) good teachings in order to help us to live happy life. I was just a dog - less clever than you (people) – so that I definitely wasn’t able to understand every teaching. Anyway, I was proud of being a temple’s dog and intended to follow the Buddha’s teaching as best as I could.
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siamdog
 
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A Dog in The Dhamma # 4

Postby siamdog » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:30 am

4. Pleau – The Naked Guy

I loved Luang Ta Chaeng at most; I liked many people, nearly all people in the temple. For those I did not like, I did not hate, but just had no feeling one ways or the other in them. Anyway, speaking of friends, I had to think of Pleau - a male dog of the same age to me.

‘Pleau’ was a temple dog by birth. His dad was a senior leader of the dog gang in front of the ubosot – Mr. Rambo. Mr. Rambo’s appearance exhibited his habits so clear that other dogs did not want to be involved with him. He was outstanding, isolated and arrogant because of his hairless skin. Oops, don’t be misunderstood! He wasn’t mangy, sir.

His habits were intolerable; extremely selfish because he regarded himself as the lasting dog – not old - and was stronger, more powerful than other dogs. He was aloof, took no interest in others. He had never thought of his hairless as an inferiority complex, but seemed to be proud of the unique.

Mr. Rambo conducted himself so well that all dogs were in awe of and hated him at the same time.

How?

Every time Phie Gong, a layman who always pushed a wheelbarrow with a large pot of food to areas in order to feed each dog gangs, put food in the enameled basin of Mr. Rambo’s gang, Mr. Rambo hastened to the basin, but not too close, and pretended not interested in it while as other dogs hurried scramble for food. After putting food, Phie Gong would watch them eating and instruct the dogs to share food with others for a while. Then he pushed the wheelbarrow to other areas.

Just after Phie Gong had gone off, Mr. Rambo, who previously put on air of elegant, immediately jumped to the basin and growled loudly. All dogs stampeded and fleeted from him in all directions disorderly. Some dogs, which were concentrated on eating and couldn’t flee from him, were bitten severely by Mr. Rambo. Then Mr. Rambo ate bit by bit, ate just what he wanted to eat. He would nudge rice off and joyfully ate pork, beef, fish, etc, in amidst of other dogs’ jealous and hateful eyes. Little dogs watched him with sad eyes and their mouth were watered.

However, no dog - either little or big dogs - dared to join him for food except some female dogs which Mr. Rambo was having a liking for. They suppressed their fear and walked carefully to the basin, nibbled at the food and kept a glance at him at the same time. If Mr. Rambo remained inactively, then they dared to have more food. But they were startled and prepared to flee away all the time, in case Mr. Rambo changed his position. Whereas other dogs continued waiting as long as their big shot were not full.

Sometimes, fortunately, Luang Phies or Luang Ta happened to pass through the area and saw MR. Rambo enjoyed eating alone. He should scold Mr. Rambo and drove the big shot away.
“Bo! Go away! So grand air! Selfishly eating, bad dog!”

That’s right! He was bad. I agreed with Luang Ta. All underlings, either senior or junior, rushed at the basin immediately when there was a knight in yellow robe came and rescued them from the tyrant. Each ate quickly as much as one could. Those who were full drew back, letting those who couldn’t push past other dogs to the basin earlier to take the place of them. Some drew back because they were annoyed by having been pressed, even they weren’t full. The food got less and less; the dogs had to share the rest for those who weren’t full. Sometimes there were the leftovers and those who did not fully satisfy would clean up the basin.

However, I would like to let you know that all the temple dogs were healthy. No dog was skinny or scrawny.


I had complained about his father more than enough, instead of talking of Pleau - my friend - as I intended. Well, let’s turn back to my friend. Luang Ta Chaeng said Pleau was born after Luang Ta had picked up me for a few days. And in a couple days later his mother was bitten to death by a snake.

Luang Ta said Pleau’s mother was very ill–fated because snakes rarely invaded the temple; even there were plenty of snakes in this neighborhood. Because the temple dogs usually ganged up on those snakes strayed in the monastic area, and bit them to death. Pleau’s mother would unfortunately hide her puppy in a nook at the time the snake slithered to that place. She should fight against the snake to defend her puppy. So other dogs heard the fighting noise and ran to help her, but they were too late. Before hurriedly slithering away, the cobra had bitten Pleau’s mother. It should know it would surely die if it was too slow.

Then Pleau had become an orphan, just as me. Anyway he would be luckier than me because he still had a father; even his father took no interest in him at all. But I thought that having what we should have was better than not having. I, therefore, privately assumed Luang Ta was my father. Whereas Pleau dared not to assume Mr. Rambo was his father, although there were only two dogs (Pleau and Mr. Rambo) of the whole temple dogs were alike in appearance. How should they be not father and son!

Luang Ta said he had put Pleau under the care of another female dog with newborn puppies after his mother was dead. So that he should absorb that female dog’s milk. Firstly, it was okay. But as time went by, Pleau grew more and more like Mr. Rambo, especially his hairless skin that awfully differed from other puppies. The female dog should rather dislike his father, so she unreasonably disliked him too and fed him occasionally. For that thing, Pleau had to surreptitiously eat the leftovers since he was very young.

Pleau was nice for his habits that were so different from his father. He inherited good habits from his mother’s. Pleau’s mother was a good breeding dog with beautiful hair. She liked to fawn on people and loved her owner very much. Her owner was a dog lover, bur the owner’s relative, who had inherited the house after the owner’s death, disliked dog. He left her at the temple on the sly. Pleau’s mother, a wonderful dog, became a temple dog and died in the temple therefore. Luang Phie Glaa told Nera (samanera) Khai about Pleau’s story, and I heard the story too. Luang Phie was the one who named the orphan puppy ‘Pleau’. Luang Phie said this was a chic, attractive and the fittest name.

Even Pleau’s appearance was quiet different from other dogs, but I wasn’t be friend with others because of their looks. I liked him because he showed me he loved me first. I did not know whether he had ever heard the words ‘if you need someone’s love, you must show your love to him first’.

Every time I ran after Luang Ta Chaeng to visit dogs, when we arrived at Mr. Rambo’s gang, which Pleau belonged to, he always quickly ran toward me. He always showed his delightfulness, wagged his tail, barked playfully, and kidded around with me. I firstly did not want to play with him, but his consistent sincerity made me play with him willingly.

I thought he did not have any playmate because of either his strangeness or those puppies disliked his dad. I myself did not have friends also; I had only acquaintance with other dogs as we lived in the same temple. We might greet each other or not - depending on how we felt at that time. I did not consider that relation as friendship. There should be more to be a friend.

Factually, I did not have friend because I rarely had time to play with others. I had to run after Luang Ta and pursued knowledge in the monastic area in order to have intellectual development and mental growth in paralleled with body growth. I wanted to be a good, lovely dog for Luang Ta Chaeng and every people in the temple.

However, Pleau always tried to make friend with me, then I liked him little by little. He was a very generous guy also. He usually gave me a scrap he kept safely and secretly, such as small pieces of omelet, fried pork, or chicken bone. Although he did not have many things to eat, just two meals a day as much as monks did. Monks took two meal a day; the early morning meal and the before noon meal.

I did not know how he kept those scraps for me since they (dogs) had to quickly pull and tug at food. I was so deeply touched by his generosity that I didn’t wanted to eat his presents. Anyway, he always urged me to eat. That embarrassed me queerly. Truly, I had more and better things to eat than he did, but I had never given him anything. Luang Ta mixed canned fishes and rice up together for me almost everyday; sometimes Luang Ta had given me sweets, snack, or charcoal broiled squid that were left over. An idea crossed my mind then - I should give him my food.

Once at lunch time for monks, Luang Ta gave me a good-smell, appetizing, and meaty grilled chicken calf. I wasn’t hungry because I eat excessively in the late morning. I thought of Pleau instantaneously, and then I held the chicken calf in my mouth and dashed to Pleau. He came out to greet me gladly. I gave him the calf. He smiled and looked in my eyes with clear expression: Thanks a lot, my friend!

I happily watched him ate the calf, being pleased to repay him for all his kindness and bring him happiness. There was a slight choice he might have to eat meaty chicken calf in his lifetime.

I watched Pleau and looked round at the same time. Some dogs of the older age to him should smell the chicken so they came to see us from a distance. They didn’t try to snatch the chicken from him because of my guarding. Actually, they weren’t afraid of me, but rather they didn’t want to have something to do with me. All the temple dogs knew I was Luang Ta Chaeng’s dog. They would more be reluctant to bother Luang Ta. I could hold my head up and showed my red collar imposingly by the greatness of Luang Ta.

Pleau’s generosity made me realize of giving and repaying. When I got good things to eat I gave a share of that food to him without thinking that my gifts were better than his gifts. Someone (people) said that:

“If you want to give, give him the best thing then you would get the best back.”

Pleau reminded me of the words because he tried to give me the best things he could find. And I repaid him the best things I got too.

His other goodness was that he usually warned me not to walk around and show myself too much. He was afraid for the safety of me because he was also aware of the would-be kidnapper who tried to take me away. I had tried to listen to his warning, but couldn’t because of my excessive curiosity.

Sometimes I told him odd stories I heard. He listened attentively and enjoyed my stories. That made me love to talk with him. But sometimes I got bored with his stupid when I asked him whether he understood or not; after listening for long time, he just smiled and shook his head.

Forget it! On second thought, he would not be friend with me if he was smart as much as, or smarter than me.
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A Dog in The Dhamma #5.1

Postby siamdog » Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:24 pm

The Temple Fair

I heard that our temple would have a fair–yearly soon. I was so excited and extremely wanted to know what the temple fair was, because I had never gone to any fair. There should be so amazing! I desired the fair was hold tomorrow.

The joyous was visible before the fair began. There were more and more people came to the temple. Then I had to dodge them and hid in the hall’s corners and watched what they did.

Many men and women lent their hands in preparing the fair at the assembly hall. They tied candle and joss sticks into a bundle and inserted small doubled-over thin papers (with gold leaves filing) between the sticks. Merit makers would buy there bundles and used them for offering worship to the Buddha; the gold leaf should be gilded on the Buddha image. The temple received a proportion of its income from the sale of these altar offerings.

In addition, they prepared ‘Todd Pha Paa Samakki (an off-season offering of robes and other necessities to monks)’ for the last day of the fair in order to raise money. This income would be used for repairing the old, decayed monastic things such as monks’ dwellings, and for constructing left-done parts such as learning hall that had only framework and roof. Someone suggested to the abbot that the temple should make ‘sign ball (consecrated stone-ball marker buried under the temple)’ for people to make merits and apply gold leaves to the ball. The temple would have more income, therefore. He also said that some temples had many balls. The abbot laughed and explained then.

“This temple doesn’t have any sign ball for applying gold leaves. Actually, the word ‘Sign’ is the marker of an ubosot’s center before constructing the ubosot. It’s for setting the ubosot’s width and length correctly. Some folk call this center ‘an ubosot’s naval’. They made a firm, solid sign or marker and placed it at the place to indicate that was an ubosot’s center – namely naval. Nowadays, people usually make a round sign, so it’s called ‘sign ball’. The sign ball must be made before building the ubosot. The ubosot of this temple was constructed a long time ago. Now, the temple has no money, no plan to build a new ubosot, so we don’t have a sign ball. We hold a Todd Pha Paa Samakki for raising money for maintaining the temple instead.”


Many people joined together to prepare the Todd Pha Paa ceremony, making Pha Paa buckets for local people of our village and the neighboring. Men cut off bamboo stems from the bamboo garden, split those stems into small pieces and cut the small pieces into a 0.5 meter length approximately. Then they finished the bamboo’s surface by knifes and split an end of each piece for a length enough to insert a bank note. The ends were tied with thread. Other people cut thin colored paper into strips and wound strips around those bamboo rods, except the split parts. Merit makers would insert bank notes in their colorful bamboo pieces for Todd Pha Paa.

Some people volunteered to buy medium sized plastic buckets. They unloaded the buckets from a car and put them in plies. Others duplicated merit-making notices and attached the notices on the outside of all buckets. Then the volunteers put ten bamboo rods in each bucket. After providing Pha Paa buckets, the women who were glad to give up their time to the temple fair, lend their hands to load up a car with these buckets, and the driver should drive along village’s lanes in order to distribute the buckets.

People would put rice in more than half of the bucket and put things, such as canned fishes, small bottles of fish sauce, soaps, tubes of toothpaste, boxes of tea leaves, analgesics, etc., into the bucket as they would like to offer. Bank notes should be inserted into a gap of the bamboo sod and then the rods would be stuck in the rice. Those people would bring Pha Paa buckets to the temple on the fair days and offer monks the buckets.

I was very happy in watching these people pooled their efforts for the fair. I wanted to help them work and would like to ask them: ‘Anything I can do to help you?’, but I could only ask to myself.

Their friendly chat, laugh and the sound of joyousness from everywhere made me lose myself-control and be too enjoyed. I ran around madly until Luang Phie Glaa who was responsible for the fair preparation scold me.

“Hey, Ai Rad! Do run around madly. Get out! Be with your Luang Ta. Luang Ta is rubbing the Buddha image in the vihara over there,” Luang Phie Glaa pointed at the vihara beside the ubosot.

A man who was wiping altar tables turned his head and asked Luang Phie Glaa.

“What’s Luang Ta rubbing, sir?”

“Oh, the Buddha image in the old vihara - the antique image. The abbot said it would be a hundred years old. Luang Ta thought that there will be the temple fair so he want to rub it in order to make it bright a little more,” Luang Phie made a long reply; I stopped to listen therefore.

“I should better help Luang Ta,” that man said and got up abruptly.

“Ta Ruay, you hurry to rub the image for the numbers, right?” a woman teased him.

The man called Ta Ruay didn’t interest her but walked ahead of me towards the old vihara. After getting there, he went straight to Luang Ta Chaeng. Luang Ta was rubbing the image with piece of material dampened with kind of oil; I didn’t know exactly what kind of it. The image was approximately two meters wide, so old that I couldn’t tell its color – gold or black. Anyway it looked strangely dirty.

“Venerable Sir, I would like to help you rub the image, sir,” Ta Ruay said in hurry and pressed hands together in respect to Luang Ta and the image at the same time.

“Mmm,” Luang Ta nodded in acknowledgement and handed a piece of material and a bottle of oil to Ta Ruay. Then Luang Ta looked at me.

“How do you do, Thong Thao? Lots of people; so funny, right? Anyway, be careful of strangers. Don’t be so joyful that you lose your self-control. Don’t you have learn your lessen?”

I wagged my tail acting in fear and trembling, whimpered and then rubbed myself against Luang Ta’s legs. He laughed and went back to rub the image. I rounded on Ta Ruay and saw him saluted the Buddha image. He murmured for a while and wet the piece of the material with the oil. He rubbed one side of the image’s base for a long time, didn’t move to other areas at all. He rubbed and bent forward to look at the area closely, and then rubbed and bent forward to look at the same area again. He said in an undertone to himself. I wanted to know what he said so I got close to him.

“What’re the exact numbers? Not clear, indeed. It’s three, isn’t it? Um, it should be three. Now what is another number? It looks like five. It’s three-five, right?” then Ta Ruay paid homage to the image again and said to the image.

“Luang Phor, please make the numbers any clearer, sir. If I’m lucky in lotto I’ll provide a Pha Paa for the temple, sir.”

I watched and listen doubtfully. What did he do? What did he mean by his words? I looked at Luang Ta Chaeng; he had moved to rub the back of the image, wasn’t interested in Ta Ruay at all.

After pondering for a moment, I thought of what the woman, who teased Ta Ruay, said – rub the image for the number. If so, what he was doing was for finding numbers. I knew what the numbers were because I saw a circle of numbers on the face of a big clock in the hall. I knew those symbols were numbers from listening to people. But I didn’t know which numbers was one, two, or three … because no one taught me.

Now, Ta Ruay stopped rubbing the image and stood, gazing at the image’s base where he rubbed. He would want to make sure about the numbers.

“Um, the same numbers – three-five is for sure. Are there only two numbers, Luang Phor? Would you please give me one more number, sir? I would therefore have more money for making merit,” then he went back to rub the image for a while and moved backward. He gazed at the image’s base for a moment, shook his head and said to himself again.

“No more number indeed. Luang Phor would give only two numbers. Isn’t it, sir? Only two numbers, right?” he pressed his hands together in salute and asked the image. I looked at the image’s lips to listen attentively to the Buddha’s answer.

“Two numbers – three-five. Isn’t it, sir? Luang Por, please make the numbers definitely clear,” then Ta Ruay gazed at the area he saw the numbers and smiled.

“So clear! Are you sure, Luang Phor?”

“Mmm”

I heard the answer but the Buddha image’s lips did not move. Ta Ruay turned to see me, his eyes were popping. I looked at him too, but my eyes couldn’t pop out.

“Puppy, do you hear anything as I do?”

He bent his head and asked me. I barked in response that implied I heard too. Ta Ruay hurried towards to the rear of the image. He looked to the left and right, but no one was over there even Luang Ta Chaeng. Luang Ta should go out by the vihara’s back door whenever we (Ta Ruay and I) did not know. Ta Ruay ran towards the back door and looked around. I ran after him. There was empty, was nobody. Ta Ruay walked back to the image. I followed him again. He kneeled down before the image and pressed his hands together in respect.

“Luang Phor, sir. I’ll buy the numbers you give me and will make merit as I promise. Thank you, Luang Phor,” then he bowed down as a sign of respect and left the vihara willfully. I followed him with my eyes, bewilderingly. If I could speak I would ask him: You won’t rub the image any more, will you?


The yearly fair would start tomorrow. Amusement was visible now. The music of a stereo sound testing was melodious and amusing for some times. People (excluding monks and samaneras) swayed a little while they were walking from place to place. Middle-aged women chatted about ‘Li Kay (a musical folk drama)’ that would be performed in this fair too. They seemed to love Li Kay very much. They talked of the leading actor and actress, and then laughed happily.

I listened to them and then was interested in Li Kay. I wanted somewhat to see what ‘Li Kay” like. An aunt said this Li Kay’s costumes were so beautiful. The leading actor was very handsome and the leading actress was pretty. I did not know what leading actor or actress was, but anything that was beautiful should be worth seeing. I definitely intended to watch the Li Kay. I now could only see the Li Kay house that was built in advance. The large floor of the stage was laid with planks. The stage set was a very large cloth with colorful picture of marvelous house, roads, trees and flowers. There was a low wooden table; I guessed that it was for the actors to sit. There was no other interesting thing, so that I went about other places therefore.

Vendors took their tables and chairs bit by bit into the temple and arranged their stalls. Playthings were installed and tested. The strange-looking thing was the merry-go-round, I heard they called. It had a revolving circular platform with stiff horses that bounced up and down on the platform. I would like to have a try on the horse, but it would be no way.

A thing that was more interesting than merry-go-round was a very large up right wheel. It had cages for people to sit in, and it rotated slowly around its axle. Afterwards I knew it was called ‘Ferris Wheel’. I stood looking up its height excitedly. I really wanted to ride in it and let it take me to the sky. I wanted to know what it would be when I was over there but I could only dream.

Another odd thing was what people called ‘Dropped Down Young Lady’. It was a playing – I couldn’t say it‘s funny or pitiful. There was a screen with an attractive picture. In front of this screen were very big water tanks and there was a board rested on the top of each tank. A woman would sit on each board; the board was broken down at its middle when a player threw a ball hit the target beside the woman, and then the woman dropped down into the water. I did not know what they did with those boards. The viewers always laughed but those women should suffer cold if they dropped down for many times.

There was also a shooting gallery. I ran from place to place to see everything excitedly. I definitely couldn’t be still. It seemed that I became crazed alone. Other dogs were interested in the yearly fair somewhat, but they did not act as I did.

I had to keep myself out of strangers’ sight in the daytime. But at night, I needed not to be so careful and could run to see interesting things closely. I went long the edge of the Ferris Wheel and stood looking up its height; my heart missed a beat. Oh, how could I take the air over there?

I discussed this matter with my friend – Pleau. He admired my idea very much but denied to get in the Ferris Wheel’s cage with me. He said he was afraid of heights, and then urged me to go back to Luang Ta.


Luang Ta Chaeng, including other monks and samaneras, was currently fairly busy. They had to be responsible for this fair’s components.

The temple set up the ceremony stand. There was the Buddha image on a table of altar table set, splendidly decorated with flower vases. A low table for offering worship was in front of the altar table set. A big bowl filled with holy water was set beside the altar table. People would drink the water, put the water on their heads or wash their faces with the water for their auspiciousness. Some people poured the water into small plastic bags in order to take them home. I heard the abbot said there was the service for making holy water since the life time of the Buddha.

On both sides of the altar table set was a donation box to a side. This donation was for the temple’s electricity and water supply bills. A big bucket was on a large table; there was a certain amount of rice at the bottom of the bucket. Dried food and monk’s necessities were put on the rice. An appropriate sized bough, assumed the ‘Pha Paa Tree’, was wrapped around with colorful paper and was stuck in the bucket. A man tied the top branch of the bough and drew down threads to tie it to another and another branches.

“Luang Phie, what are these threads for?” Nera Khai, the youngest samanera who stood looking adults making Pha Paa, asked Luang Phie Khaeg doubtfully.

“That’s for kith and kin to attach their donated bank notes on it,” Luang Phie Khaeg said, then turned to a lay people and asked him to lay reed mats on the ground.

“Luang Phie, would the money drop down?” said Nera Khai.

”They’ll rest notes on the thread and staple the notes,” Luang Phie explained.

“What if the merit makers have only coins?” Nara Knai was still doubtful.

“They do put coins in the bucket,” said Luang Phie.

There were gibbons made from yellow towel dangling from branches of Pha Pa Tree. I knew they were gibbons because of Nera Khai’s question.

“Luang Phie, what the dangling gibbons are for?”

“We take the bough for the tree in forest so we should provide some animals climbing the tree,” said Luang Phi Khaeg.

“Why do the gibbons are yellow, Luang Phie. Could it be white?” Nera Khai went on.

“These things will be offered to monks, so they should be yellow,” said Luang Phie Khaeg.

“Why there’re just gibbons? Why there’re no other animals, sir?”

Luang Phie Khaeg should be unbearably fed up with Nera Khai’s unlimited questions, so he said sharply.

“Arrange them by yourself, if you want other animals,” then Luang Phie Khaeg took no interest in Nera Khai any more. He asked the volunteers to lift clusters of young coconuts and stems of bamboos onto the table and pile them in beside the Pha Paa bucket. A volunteer cut down a small banana tree and put it next to the stems of bananas. Another volunteer put sugar canes close to the banana tree. A volunteer who shouldered a bamboo basket of pomelos called for Luang Phie Khaeg’s advice.

“Luang Phie, should I leave pomelos in the basket or pile them up?”

“It would be better to pile them up. Anyway, please set them good-looking. People will bring the temple many fruits in an instant. The small fruits that couldn’t be piled up should be left in the baskets.”

Nera Khai moved over Luang Phi Khaeg and questioned him again.

“Luang Phie, why are there many fruits piled up like this?”

Luang Phie Khaeg turned to stare at Nera Khai’s face. Then the Nera said in a hurry.

“Oh, I see! We take the Pha Paa tree for the tree in the forest, and these piles of fruits are taken for wild fruits. Is that right, Luang Phie?”

“Mmm,” Luang Phie Khaeg said in a stern voice and walked away from Nera Khai to take a look at other places.

I liked Nera Khai since he was very doubtful as me. I gained a lot of knowledge from Nera Khai’s questions and monks’ answers.


The temple yearly fair started today. It would take seven days long. Monks made his daily round of alms collection in the early morning as usual. After having breakfast, all monks pitched in to check preparedness of the fair carefully, the abbot did too. Luang Ta Chaeng followed the abbot by keeping a fair distance, and I ran after Luang Ta as usual. The abbot looked all over, and then got into the ceremony stand. He looked around and walked past the Pha Paa Tree.

“What!” he exclaimed.

Everyone over here turned toward the abbot who was pointing at the tree. Everybody looked at the tree and wore an odd expression as if they wanted to laugh but dared not.

I rushed to look up it too. Now, there was money attached to the threads. Colorful bank notes flapped in the breeze attractively. In addition to yellow gibbons dangled from the tree’s branches, there were two little monkeys dangled, and green, black and red rubber snakes winded around branches. To give something extra, there were three or more rubber house lizards and geckos clung to the branches.

“How are these stuffs over here?” The abbot inquired pointing at those various animals on the Pha Paa Tree. I did not know who he inquired, but no one replied. Anyway, I knew at once that was Nera Khai’s work, for sure. Luang Phie Khaeg should have the same idea as me, so he left the stand abruptly. After a while he came back with Nera Khai.

Luang Phie Khaeg walked ahead of Nera Khai and they stopped by the abbot. Luang Phie said to Nera Khai.

“Now, tell Luang Phor that you yourself did.”

“Well, Luang Phie Khaeg said we take the Pha Paa Tree for the tree in the forest, so there are gibbons. I then told Luang Phie there should be other animals too. Luang Phie said if I want other animals I have to arrange them by myself. I, therefore, arranged them as Luang Phie said. I had borrowed monkeys from my elder brother. For these snakes, house lizards and geckos, I asked Tid Oon (Tid was a title for a man who entered the monkhood and had already left the monkhood) to buy from the morning market. There is lacking for birds; I can not get them at all, Luang Poo.”

Nera Khai called the abbot ‘Luang Poo’. He said, looking at no one so he did not see Luang Phie Khaeg who was staring towards him. I saw men and women over here smiled in a reserved. My Luang Ta smiled broadly. But Nera Khai’s Luang Poo did not smile at all. He said to Nera Khai.

“Take the stuffs away,” then he walked off.

Nera Khai opened his mouth to say something but Luang Phie Khaeg twitched Nera Khai’s robe and scowled at him. Nera Khai had to take his animals away unwillingly, therefore.

.......
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siamdog
 
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A Dog in the Dhamma #5 (100%)

Postby siamdog » Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:04 pm

5. The Temple Fair (100%)


Folk had offered foods to monks at the forenoon meal. Vendors had taken their things into the temple and arranged them for the fair at night. The more and more people and cars had made me lost control of myself. I asked Pleau to spy on activities with me. Pleau had been of two minds at the same time; was curious and was afraid of Uncle Co’s punishment. Finally, we agreed that we should wait for the night time; then we would spy on interesting things with the aid of darkness. We, for now, just had our eyes on those things.

Normally, the long electric lamps that fixed on posts throughout the monastic area should be turned on at sunset. The light was just enough to see the ways and to make the temple be less scary. However, these lamps wouldn’t be turned on at moonlit nights because there was the bright lantern on the sky – the moon.

Tonight, including next six nights of the fair, almost everywhere was all lit up by lamps of the temple, stalls, eating places and play stands.

A man had requested spectators through loudspeaker to make merit by buying flowers, incenses, candles and gold leaves for offering worship the Buddha, by donating money to the Todd Pha Paa ceremony, or by donating for the temple’s electricity and water supply bills as the spectators wished. They could also buy oil to refill the lamps that were lit up for offering worship the Buddha image. The announcer said refilling the lamps would make the worshippers’ lives were bright and thrived as the lamp’s light. Their obstacles would be gone.

The temple had never forced people to make merit or to donate. All spectators intended to make merit as much as they could. The announcer also told there were auspicious objects for those who wanted the objects for their prosperity. The charitable people had provided inexpensive objects for spectators and he would offer all income from the sale to the temple.

Many people visited the stall. There was the large photograph of the King on the table. A footed tray with flowers and altar offerings were placed in front of the King’s photograph. A glass cabinet was next to the table. There were many photographs of the King in all sizes and medals with the King’s image in and on the cabinet. These objects were nice-looking and worth to have on one’s person or to worship. Some spectators asked the vendors bewilderedly.

“Are these the auspicious objects?”

“Right. These are great auspicious. I confirmed you that showing worship to the King makes you be prosperous,” the vendor said fluently and went on to say. “Dear all, do pick the King’s photographs for your prosperity. Those who already have the photos don’t have to buy more. But if you want more you could make merit moreover, because your money will be donated to the temple. You could buy the medals for children and teach them to love and pay reverence to our King. I’ll also give an incantation of worship to those who buy the photos or the medals.”

“There is the incantation, right?’ said a spectator.

“Yes, sir. Here you are,” the vendor picked up a small sheet of paper and showed the incantation. One spectator took the sheet and read out loud.

“Sufficiency Economy,”

“That’s right, our King’s incantation. Recite it and follow it, you would never be poor.”

The vendor advertised loudly, smilingly and pleasantly. Many people picked up the photos, other picked up medals. Most of them were glad to buy because the objects were inexpensive and they knew that their all money should be donated to the temple. Many buyers asked for the incantation sheet – Sufficiency Economy. They said they would stick the sheet onto the bottom of the King’s photograph, so they could see the words and reminded themselves of the appropriate living.


Drawing lots for prizes was a smashing way of obtaining income for the temple. Those who wanted to draw lots had to buy ticket – ten baths per ticket. Methods of drawing lots were ‘Soy Dao (pick the star)’ and ‘Tak Khai (draw the egg)’. You could either pick stars (star-shaped paper with a number) dangling from the tree’s branches - Soy Dao, or drew a hollow ball that contained small sheet with number – Tak Khai. Those who were lucky should gain prizes; those who were out of luck should get nothing. Anyway, all their money was contributed to the temple.

These prizes - money and things - were donated by the stores and people. The big prizes were refrigerator, television, radio, electric fan, electric rice cooker, and bicycles. There were more than ten bicycles; large size for adults and small size for children. Most spectators had their eyes on these bicycles. In addition, there were small prizes such as vacuum bottles, teddy bears, dog and cat toys, and many playthings. These prizes – more than a hundred prizes – had tempted both children and adults to hang around and buy tickets to draw lots all the time.

I and Pleau, who was not so willing to go around with me, had found a dark corner, then we spied on activities excitedly. (I had to convince him for quite a while, explaining that we could stay out of sight because we were familiar with this area - we knew where to hide.) We moved from this corner to that corner when we wanted to see other things. It was such good fun except when we hid near to the stall that sold grilled meat-balls and charcoal broiled squid. The sweet smell of the broiled squid, carried on the air, had blown gently to Pleau’s nose completely. Pleau lifted his nose and sniffed the smell deeply. I felt pity for him, so I asked him to go elsewhere.

Now, I over heard people said, “Li Kay is on show, let’s go!” I pricked up my ears. I must see to be clear about what Li Kay was so I asked my friend to see Li Kay. However, we could only view the show from a distance because the ground in front of the Li Kay house had been filled up with people who sat on their mats or paper. Anyway, I saw women and men put on make-up gaudily. They dressed oddly, their clothes were sparkling. They walked to and fro on the platform and stretched their arms dancing for sometimes, song and then carried on conversation that I could not understand.

That sort of thing was popular among the aged people. It’s not fun at all! Pleau turned its back on the Li Kay house and looked towards the broiled squid stall. He sniffed as though he was trying to find out the squid smell.

“Let’s go, Pleau,” I asked him to leave because I was so tired and thirsty. Then we surreptitiously moved out of the fair zone.

“Would you like to go to the fair tomorrow?” I asked him in advance.

“No, not be interested. I feel too lazy to go,” Pleau denied at once. I knew he was too ‘lazy’ to hide himself in nooks and crannies for a long time.

“Okay, as you like,” I told him but said to myself that I would go again. There might be more strange things tomorrow.

Well, there was no new thing on the next day. However, people were more excited than usual. It was a day of choosing lottery number. The vendors who had come to arrange their stalls in the afternoon turned on their radio. The folk that did the temple a favor also turned on the radios. There was a sound of announcing numbers on radio everywhere.

I had moved closer to look at the folk group chatting together; Ta Ruay was also sitting with the group. I recalled that Ta Ruay got the number from the Luang Phor in the small vihara. I had to see if Ta Ruay won a Lottery! Then I went lie low under the table. I looked at the folk andI listened to the radio too. They, in a moment, cheered and clapped their hands loudly. I looked at Ta Ruay; his face went red, and split onto wide smile, he laughed with delight. Then he picked small sheets of paper off his shirt’s pocket.

“So, how many tickets do you have, Ta Ruay?” someone asked. Ta Ruay counted the sheets in his hands and answered.

“Eight, that’s all,”

“Eight. Each ticket is two thousand. Sixteen thousands are in all. That’s not a small!” said a woman.

“Then how much do you get from underground lotto?” said a man.

“A secret,” Ta Ruay played tricks with others.

“How about that! You get a large fortune, do you?” another man teased him.

“Just a little,” said Ta Ruay smilingly.

“Anyhow, you have to give us a meal!” there were many people backed up the request.

“All right, all right, I’ll give you food that sold in the temple. Anyway, no alcohol. So, do order what you want to eat, but food cost wouldn’t over five hundreds.”

“You crazy! Only five hundreds for lot of people!” a man opposed and many agreed with him.

“Okay, okay! One thousand! You pay for the excess if the cost is over the budget,” Ta Ruay ended a discussion abruptly and then suddenly recalled. “Hey! There should be others who are lucky in lotto too. A cheer at moment ago sounded like you also win a prize.”

Everyone denied urgently.

“No, no one win a prize. We were just cheerful for fun,” someone said.

People had come to worship and apply gold leaves on the image in the small vihara since the day Ta Ruay won the lotto. I did not know if there was something in connection with Ta Ruay’s fortune.


During the afternoon of the last fair day, there were a recitation of the last life of the Buddha and an offering of Pha Paa Samakki buckets. People had brought the buckets back to the temple and offered them to monks. Temple’s committee members placed all Pha Paa buckets around Pha Paa Tree in the ceremony stand. These colorful Pha Paa buckets with flapping bank notes looked wonderful. I was so happy that there were a lot of people come to make merits. Dear me! I wanted to make merit as people did too.

Then I saw Ta Ruay walking in, carrying a big Pha Paa bucket in his arms. The bucket was over-filled with things and moneyed-stems crowded in the bucket. He offered it to the abbot. The abbot accepted it and asked him to place it beside other buckets. Everyone looked at Ta Ruay and then had a gossip with each other. I did not know what they said; I just saw Ta Ruay beamed all the time.

The last night of the fair was just the same. Anyway, the drawing-lots stall had been especially busy with activity, spectators who wanted the remaining big prizes gathered to buy tickets. There was a cheer occasionally.

I had spied on the stall at some nearby area, would like to buy a ticket too, but did not have any money. How awful! If I had a chance of drawing lots, I might win a bright color tricycle displayed in front of the stall. I liked this cycle and had spied on it everyday. If I had a cycle, I would ride it round the temple to show off to all dogs, indeed. (I believed I could drive it.)

There was a loud cheer followed by laughter while I was dreaming happily. I looked at those who gathered to draw lots. A black fat guy was laughing heartily and wholly while he received the tricycle I dreamed of from the vendor. He lifted up the cycle with his one hand to show it to surrounding people, many of them laughed too. I thought they – a big guy and a small cycle – did not match at all. How could he ride it!

“For my son, it’s my son’s. It just matches to my youngest,” said he.

Oh dear! My heart sank. The cycle I dreamed of had gone away now. Well, forget it! Thaan Maha One preached to people about releasing: ‘don’t attach to things that aren’t ours’. The cycle was not mine; T had no money to buy it. Even I had, I was not sure that I could ride it. I might be ashamed of falling and rolling over while I was riding it. Well, don’t think of depressing stuff. Let’s see other things instead.


I rushed to the fair zone next morning. People had put things away; some were taking stall apart and loading things onto pick-up trucks. The temple’s belongings had been stowed away; some people were cleaning up the area that was full of scattered litters. The place was vastly different from it was last night.

“All party must end up - this is the truth. All things come about and pass away.”

I heard someone said slowly. Then I turned towards the voice and see Luang Phie Khaeg. He stood folding his arms over his chest and looked straight ahead. I looked round to see whom he said to. There was no one else, but me.

“I just say to you, Thong Thao,” Luang Phie said, did not turn to me. I did not know how he knew that I was watching him.

“Your funny thing was over. You don’t have to go around surreptitiously any more. Don’t you think that no one knows what you did? Be careful, I would ask Uncle Co to teach you a lesson!”

Luang Phie Khaeg spoke at a steady pace and still looked a head. He would be so tired of me that he did not want to see me. I pretended to know nothing at all. Eh, to whom Luang Phie said? What did he say about? I stepped backward little by little form Luang Phie, and turned back to dash away at the right moment!
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A dog in the dhamma # 6

Postby siamdog » Thu May 05, 2011 6:59 am

The Image at the Small Vihara

Not long after the fair, there were many people come to the temple. They said they wanted to worship the image in the vihara. The vihara was usually closed except as a special case such as the temple fair, significance days of the Buddhist religion and cleaning days.

Normally, people had never been interested to worship the image. But now, many people wanted to do that without warnings. They gathered in front of the assembly hall after knowing the vihara was closed and no one had the key to the door except the abbot. The abbot came to see them soon.

“What’s happened? Why do a lot of you come here?” the abbot stood asking. The people, some were standing, some were sitting on the ground, pressed their hands together in respect promptly.

“We would like to ask permission to worship the image in the vihara, sir,” said a man.
“Well, what’s going on? Why do you happen to have faith in the Luang Phor in the vihara? There are other images. The principle Buddha image is also in the ubosot.”

Luang Ta Chaeng came on and stood near the abbot. There was also a nosy dog – me - followed him secretly.

“This should be definitely connected with lotto, right?” said Luang Ta Chaeng forthrightly, smilingly.

“It’s a stretch, sir. Er - to be honest, some people said Luang Phor in the vihara gave number so precisely. The man won the lotto at the last drawing of the lottery, then he has got rich, sir.”

The abbot confused, then he asked for sure.

“The Luang Phor in the vaihara, are you sure? How could the image give the number? Do you remember the incorrect temple’s name? Misunderstood?”

“No, we didn’t, sir. The lucky man lives in this neighborhood, how did he tell the wrong name? Luang Phor, please open the vihara’s door and let us worship the image. So we may be in luck and have some money, sir,” said the man.

The abbot’s face grew solemn. Then he asked all those people to have a talk in the hall for a while. “Don’t be in a big hurry,” said he. All people followed him into the hall and sat down near the abbot. I had hid in a discreet corner where I could see Nera Khai’s round face and Nera Pad’s face appeared and disappeared at the back of the hall.

“I’m still doubtful about the image’s number. The Luang Phor stays in the vihara for a hundred years and I’d never heard the image gave anyone number. I really guess who start this rumor.”

I truly wanted to answer the abbot that: ‘Ta Ruay, sir. Ta Ruay rubbed the image for the number.’ But I couldn’t speak. Pity, it’s so oppressive!

“They also said the image was so holy. He could speak, sir,” said a man. The abbot so surprised that he cried out loud.
“Hey! That’s too far!”

Something made me looked at Luang Ta Chaeng; he still smiled as usual.
“Honestly, I’m not feel good that people said like that,” said the abbot.

“Why, sir? I think it don’t harm anything,” a man said and then a woman added.

“That should be better, sir. The temple has the famous image, so there will be more merit makers and the temple will draw more money,” many people nodded in agreement, but the abbot shook his head and spoke slowly.

“I can’t think so. I’m a monk who can’t look forward to a stroke of fortune. If there’s too much talk about this, people who don’t like monks or don’t like to visit temple would accuse this temple of making up a story. That’s what people call hoodwinking - making people believe in something blindly in order to make temple’s gain. I don’t want to take criticism like this, since not only I but the temple also will be harmed. I’m the abbot and I must maintain the temple’s reputation, and my too. People, I impose you to turn back. Please don’t make me be in a difficult position.”

All men and women were quiet and looked sideway at each other. Finally, there was a man spoke out respectfully.

“Luang Phor, sir, we understand all you said but we would like to impose you respectfully too. We’ve made the effort to get here anyway, so please don’t let our faith be in vain. Please open the vihara and allow us in the vihara and worship the image just once. Some of us have come from distance places. They hope to rely on the Luang Phor’s greatness. Please be kind to us just once, sir,”

There were many people supported the man’s words. The abbot turned to Luang Ta Chaeng for idea. Luang Ta said nothing but just smiled. Then the abbot turned to those people who were waiting for his answer. He kept quiet for a while and said to them.

“Now then, I’ll let you in as your had asked,” a cheer went up from the people. The abbot waved his hand to stop the cheer and went on.

“This is the only permission. I won’t let anyone in the vihara any more, either you or others. Even whatever you heard from whomever, please don’t spread the rumor. I don’t look forward to a stroke of luck, don’t support all vice, especially gambles.

“The moral saying of people of old is ‘to be robbed for ten times isn’t as bad as just one fire is. Fire broke out for ten times isn’t as damaging as indulging oneself in gambling.’ That means your house would still settle there if you were robbed for ten times, because robbers couldn’t take it along. Anyway, your house wouldn’t be left if it is on fire for once, but you would still have the land. By the way, there would be nothing left, either house or land – but catastrophe, if you would indulge yourself in gambling. This is the people of old’s teaching. Let think over it carefully.

“By the way, please don’t disturb the Luang Phor in the small vihara any more, whether you’ll be in luck or not. I hope you should understand all what I said. I hope you all enjoy the blessing of well-being,” then he stood up, handed the key to Luang Ta Chaeng, and went out the hall to turn back to his dwelling.

Luang Ta Chaeng said nothing, leading those people to the small vihara next to the ubosot. They followed Luang Ta silently; no one dared talk to him. After unlocking the door, Luang Ta moved away. Those people had tripped into the vihara as if each wanted to be the first to arrive the image. Luang Ta glanced at them with an amused look and went away, but I was still there. I wanted to see if they would do what Ta Ruay did.

Firstly, they all did the same thing, lighted candles and incenses then worshiped the image. Some people who had brought garlands along offered the garlands to the image by placing their garlands on the image’s lap or hands. Then they sat on the floor and moved their lips silently. Now, the restricted vihara was preserved with a smell and smoke of incenses. Those who were unable to stand the smell went to open windows. Some people circled the image and asked each other softly.

“How can we get the number? There’s no fortune sticks anywhere,” a woman asked her friend. The friend hardly said a word when a man replied.

“Rub! But we have to ask Luang Phor for permission firstly, then we can rub the image. Do you bring some white clay body-powder, oil, scented water and gold leaves along?” said an expert.

“There’re just face powder and perfume. Are they okay?” said the woman. The man – an expert – shook his head.

“Take this,” he offered those things to the middle age woman generously.
“Thank you,” the woman took the things, and then turned to asked her friend.

“Now, what should we do?” her friend signaled with the lips toward the generous man.
“Let’s follow him,” the women tried to observe the man and imitated him. By the way, some women and men were not interested in getting numbers; they just walked watching what numbers others got. Those who had tried to get numbers dripped their fingers in small bottles of oil, and then applied the oil on the image’s base, legs or knees – as they liked. There was a man warned others of their actions.

“Don’t disturb the image’s body, just rub at the base,”
“Dammit, there’s no number appeared at the base. Luang Phor, let me disturb your leg, sir,” said someone.

I looked at the image’s face abruptly to see if the image said anything. No word at all. I thought if the Luang Phor would say, he should say that he was so annoyed with these people. There were so many people and smoke of incenses. What a chaos!

After applying oil on the image’s base, they picked gold leaves and pressed their hands together in respect. Then they applied the gold leaves on the oiled base and sprinkled Thai fragrant scented water on the gold leaves. Next, they strewed powder over the gold leaves and moved backwards, stood closing their eyes and worshiped the image for a while. Then they rubbed the areas where they applied gold leaves on. Now, each looked intently if there was number appeared, and what the number was - if it appeared.

Suddenly, Ta Ruay came in the vihara in great haste while I was watching those people enjoyably. He looked at those people with angry-looking and snapped at them.

“What in blazes do you think you are doing?”

“So clearly, why ask!” said a man, who did not do anything, just stood folding his arms over his chest and looked at that and this.

“How can you do like this? It disturbs the Luang Phor,” Ta Ruay said to unspecified person. The same man answered again.

“You could do that, too. The Luang Phor shouldn’t reproach you.”

“Improperly, improperly! You can’t go in a crowd into this vihara. Hey! Don’t rub the body! The base is enough,” Ta Ruay said loudly, angrily.

A woman who was stooping down and lifting her head up to see number turned toward the noise. Then she greeted Ta Ruay.

“Oh, Ta Ruay! Just arrive, don’t you? I stopped by this morning but you weren’t at home.”
Ta Ruay rounded on the woman.
“It’s you, Waen! You took these people to this place, right?”

“Uh-huh. So what? We want to get rich like you, just so,” Wane said taking no interest in Ta Ruay’s look. That made Ta Ruay got more irritated.

“Jeez you! I told you that don’t you talk too much, don’t tell anyone!”

“She told and so what?” another man asked starting at Ta Ruay and went on.

“You want to be rich alone and didn’t be generous to others, do you?” others turned toward Ta Ruay. A middle age woman moved in and said to all.

“Don’t be so busy wrangling with each other, that waste time. Hurry to get number so we can go. It’s stifling in here. Ta Ruay, you’ve already got rich so you should leave if you don’t want to get more number.”

“Who says I don’t want?” Ta Ruay said under his breath. He looked cooled down and moved from that group. A man walked to him and asked him.

“Uncle, I heard that you’ve got much money form the last drawing of the lotto, right?”
“Just a little,” Ta Ruay said putting on airs.
“It’s said that this Luang Phor can say, is that so?”
Ta Ruay was quiet and cast a sideway look at the image’s face. Then he said.
“I dunno.”
The woman called Waen walked to Ta Ruay just at that time and talked to Ta Ruay.

“Ta Ruay, as you told that the Luang Phor can say, what did you do to make him say?” the man who talked to Ta Ruay a moment ago turned to Ta Rauy at once.
“Eh, why did you say you dunno?”

“What the blazes did you ask for?” Ta Ruay was moody.

“Well, we just want to know whether what you said is true - the image can say,” the man stared at Ta Ruay seriously. Ta Ruay did not look him in the eye when he nodded.
“It’s … true.”

“Oh, what did he say to you?” asked the man. Now, those who overheard the conversation turned to pay attention to Ta Ruay’s group. Ta Ruay was tongue-tied; he did not want to answer, but had to do because of those people’s constraining eyes.

“He didn’t say anything but ‘Mmm’. That’s all” Ta Ruay told unwillingly. There was a strange expression on those people. By the way, there was another question.

“What did you ask him so he answered ‘Mmm’?”

“Well, I’ve got the number from rubbing, I, therefore, asked him if it was the number, for sure. The Luang Phor said only ‘Mmm’,” then Ta Ruay walked from those people. So the people turned to talk with each other.

“Only ‘Mmm’ is fairly important. It could confirm us in the belief that we would win the lotto, so we should fully pay the lotto.”
“That’s right,” there were many supporters.

“Um, will the Luang Phor also answer us if we ask him?” someone was uncertain. Ta Ruay heard the words, so that he mentioned casually.

“Now, he wouldn’t say when you went in a crowd. It’s more possible that he would be annoyed.”
“The bad-mouthed shouldn’t definitely win the lotto,” said a man.

Ta Ruay walked to the man, getting angry, and asked him.
“What do you mean?”
“You heard it,” said the man provokingly. Another person came to keep the two men from quarreling immediately.

“Well, enough! Don’t quarrel with each other,” then he said to others. “Are you done, so we can go? We’ve disturb the Luang Phor a long time. There would be more trouble if we‘re in this vihara any longer.”

Most of them agreed to the idea. They raised their hands pressed together as a sign of respect to take leave the Luang Phor. Then they left the vihara a few at a time until there was only Ta Ruay. He stood looking at the Luang Phor’s face and then knelt down before the image. He bowed down as a sign of respect for three times.

“Luang Phor, I must apologize you, sir. You’ve been very kind to me but I‘m bigmouthed. I made a mistake of talking too much. I didn’t think that it would make you be annoyed; the Luang Phor should get hurt. I apologize highly. Don’t be angry with me, please. I wouldn’t ask you for more number today, but I would like to ask for your kindness – please forgive me, sir,” with those words, Ta Ruay bowed down again, and then he had to raise his head with a jerk when he heard a voice.

“Mmm”

Ta Ruay sat stiffly looking at the image for a while and then said.
“Luang Phor, thank you, sir.”

He bowed down for more three times, stood up and then left the vihara. Somehow, he turned to the Luang Phor again before passing the door. Now, I left the nook I hid. There was no one, so what did I be there for? Then I left the vihara too. I turned to see the small vihara after walking a few steps and then saw Luang Ta Chaeng stood locking the vihara’s door. Eh, when did Luang Ta came? Why did not I be aware of him?
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A Dog in the Dhamma # Wanted to be a monk...

Postby siamdog » Tue May 17, 2011 11:18 am

Wanted to be a monk…

I knew that I had grown up right; I was not a little dog now. I had deepened the understanding of surroundings. Anyway, I dared not to face and learn things outside the temple.

However, sometimes some new things came in the temple, like this morning. I had followed Luang Phie Nahm who was bringing two big bottles of water to the abbot’s dwelling. The telephone in front of the abbot’s room rang just when we (Luang Phie Nahm and I) arrived at the front of the dwelling. It was the only telephone in this temple. Luang Phie put down the bottles and went to pick up the phone urgently.

I heard he said. “Yes, sir … Yes … He’s at the dwelling, sir … I’ll inform him, sir,” Then Luang Phie hanged up the phone, turned to pick up the bottles and put them on a small table. On the table, there were a glass turned over on a tray, a pot for dedication of merit to the departed was next to the glass.

Now, Luang Phie went to knock at the abbot’s room softly and said. “Luang Phor, Mrs. Mannsri just informed on the phone that she is coming to pay respect to you in a minite, sir.”

The abbot opened the door and went out. He went to sit down on a wooden chair. There was a small low wooden table in front of the chair. Luang Phie Nahm prostrated himself in a sign of respect.

Then the abbot asked Luang Phie. “Did Mrs. Mannsri tell you what business it is of hers?”

“No, she didn’t, sir. She just said she is taking her grandson to pay respect to Luang Phor, and she is about to arrive at the temple, sir.”

The abbot nodded in acknowledgment. It was not for long before a white car ran through the temple’s door. It ran along the temple’s road passing by the ubosot, the vihara, the crematorium, and went straight ahead to the assembly hall. Finally, it turned to stop in front of the abbot’s dwelling.

The car’s door opened and a white woman got out of the car. She looked toward the dwelling, bent over to speak to the driver, and then the driver opened the car’s door and got out too. He was a big, fat, white young man. They walked toward the dwelling. Just when they went up the dwelling, they pressed their hands together as a sign of respect to the abbot and Luang Phie Nahn who was sitting on the floor beside the abbot. The abbot smiled and greeted them.

“How are you?”
“I’m fine, sir,” said the woman.
“What brings you here today?” said the abbot.
“I would like to ask for a favor of you to ordain my grandson, sir.”
“This young man, right? Whose son is he?” the abbot asked and looked at the fat guy who was sitting on the floor with his legs tucked back with difficulty.

“My eldest daughter’s son, sir. He’s still unemployed so he wants to do something useful with his time,” then, she turned to laugh to her grandson. The young man smiled, he had the appearance of being good-tempered.

“Are you willing to become a monk by yourself, or someone forces you?’ the abbot asked the fat man.

“I’m willing to become a monk by myself, sir. No one forces me, sir,” he imitated the abbot’s question.
“Is there any reason?” the abbot asked smilingly.

The fat man smiled too, and looked at his grand mother’s face. The woman smiled back, she was about to laugh. Then she answered the abbot on her grandson’s behalf.

“The reason is that my grandson – Tawat – is over weight just as you can see. He feels so uneasy. He had tried to reduce his weight but he can’t, if he is at home, because we all have a good appetite; we love to look for something to eat all day. Thus he intends to enter the monkhood. He expects to limit dishes and to go without evening meal too. There should be a decrease in his weight this time. In addition, he intends to enter the monkhood for his parents’ and grand mother’s – me - merits. There are considerable two benefits at the same time.” then she laughed, her grandson smiled. The abbot and Luang Phie Nahm smiled too.

“That’s a good and amazing idea - to become a monk in order to reduce the weight. By the way, is it possible that the one who has enjoyed eating might go without food?” said the abbot frankly.

“I will try, sir,” said the fat man.
“’Try’ is not the same as ‘can’. ‘Try’ is ‘try’. It may be succeeded or may be not,” the abbot said smilingly.
“I can do, sir. I have to be succeeded,” said the fat man firmly.
“Are you sure?” the abbot asked smilingly.
The fat man gave him a nod of promising. “Yes, I’m.”

“It’s good if you can. It’ll do you good, indeed. Anyway, you should know early that you can’t drink milk or any nourishing beverage after partaking of the forenoon meal. You can drink only water, pure juice. No other drinks, absolutely,” said the abbot smilingly, but firmly.
The woman and the young man looked at each other.
“Go over the idea again carefully,” the abbot told them.

The woman looked at the fat man’s face so he said. “I’ve already thought about it carefully, sir. I intend to practice the rule of discipline of the Sangha precisely; otherwise my ordination shouldn’t have merit.”

“Eh, had you ever entered the monkhood?” said the abbot.
“Oh, yes. He had ever become a samanera at other province during his secondary school’s vacation, sir,” said the woman.

“So that why his words are pretty good. Now then, if you have set your mind on the idea thoroughly, I’ll look for your auspicious time for entering the monkhood. There shouldn’t be a whole lot of ceremonies, but the important ceremonies are enough. Don’t do anything that isn’t necessary since it’s wasteful, although you have much money. You should better save up your money for the more useful things.”

Then they talked about the ordaining day, the preparation for ordaining and the preparation for the one who was going to enter the monkhood. I did not pay attention to those details. Anyway, before I went to see Pleau, I heard faintly the abbot said to those two people.

“Take the Sangha books along and commit the Sangha script to memory. You’ve to stay at the temple before the ordaining day for three days.”

After that I saw the fat young man came to the temple again with the woman for two times, with another man once. By the way, the man who came with him in the last time drove away, leaving him alone at the temple. (He took a small bolt of mat, a small pillow and a blanket out of the car before the car ran away.) I was so interested in him that I had to spy on him. I saw Luang Phie Nahm took him to the unoccupied room in the dwelling. It was the last room next to Luang Phie khaeg’s room. Luang Phie Nahm said something to the fat young man; I did not know what Luang Phie said. He nodded occasionally, raised his hands pressed together as a sign of respect to Luang Phie Nahm and then entered the room with his belongings. Luang Phie Nahm returned to his room.

This fat young man was Khun ‘Tawat’; I heard Luang Phie called him the name. Khun Tawat had to wake up very early and had to dress in the white. He and a samanera helped one another pushed a hand cart following the monks to make round for food offering. This wooden cart had a big wheel to a side; a small wheel in the front, and a long handle at the rear. Its floor was laid with boards.

The monks lent their hands to make this cart for carrying a load of offered food. The monks always poured food out of their alms bowls into an enameled basin or into a big pot on the cart. Then they made round for food offering again. They had to do like this because a number of people who wanted to make a food offering to monks were many times more than a number of monks. If the monks did not do like this, those people should be glum because they couldn’t find any monk with unfilled up bowls. Apart from this, the monks had to trouble carrying the offered Sangha buckets because some people also offered the Sangha offerings to the monks during the monks’ morning alms round.

I heard Luang Phies talked with each other that monks had to adjust themselves to the situation nowadays. And for one most important thing, if the monks did not do like this, the temple dogs should be starved to death – shouldn’t be well-fed, strong as you could see now. Luang Phies also said there were some people suspected that where a whole lot of offered foods were all gone. Some was so curious that he had to observe monks’ activities in the temple by pretending to be friendly and talking with the lay person, such as Uncle Co and Phie Gong. He came at the time the monks returned from the round for food offering. He waited until the monks finished their breakfast, and then saw Phie Gong mixed together all foods and distributed the foods among all dog gangs in the temple. He was struck dumb by what he saw so he said to the abbot that he had already seen where a whole lot of offered foods were all gone. So the abbot told him that was what we called ‘give alms’. Those who made a food offering had made merits and gave alms at the same time.

Phie Gong normally had the duty to push the cart following the monks; there was a samanera took turns each one a day to assist Phie Gong. But the samaneras stopped for a rest since Khun Tawat stayed at the temple, because Khun Tawat had taken over samaneras’ duty, went out and pushed the cart with Phie Ging. So the samaneras were very pleased.

I saw Khun tawat together with Phie Gong pushed the cart following the monks toward the temple. I ran quickly to Luang Ta at the small cooking house. The monks took meals at this house everyday, except the fair day and days of Sangha ceremonies. Uncle Co came to assist Phie Gong in taking offered foods from the cart and placed them on a table. Then they arranged sets of dishes for monks and samaneras. The monks chanted before eating and prayed again after eating, then they returned to their dwellings.

Anyway, I did not follow Luang Ta to the dwelling; I wanted to observe Khun Tawat. Uncle Co, Phie Gong together with Khun Tawat helped one another clear the eating area. They poured the leftovers into the enameled basin for ‘giving alms’ later. Uncle Co and Phi Gong arranged three sets of dishes after cleaning up the eating area. Khun Tawat dished rice onto three plates and gave Uncle Co and Phie Gong each one a dish, then he sat down and took a spoon. He looked at his foods dishes silently. Uncle Co looked sideways at him and mentioned casually.

“Monk’s foods are just like this everyday. Unspiced soup, hot curry, tamarind-flavored soup, spiced fry and stir-fried vegetables are the main dishes. All monks take these foods,” then Uncle co scooped foods and rice into his mouth and chewed with gusto. Phi Gong looked at Khun Tawat and smiled. Khun tawat smiled to Phie Gong, scooped the hot curry on his rice, and scooped it into his mouth. He was flushed after chewing for a little. Phie Gong get up hurriedly to pour water into a glass for him. He thanked Phie Gong and drank water urgently.

“You can’t take hot dishes so you’ve to take unspiced dishes,” said Phie Gong.
Anyway Khun Tawat acted as if he wouldn’t eat anymore. Phie Gong looked at his face and took the spoon into Khun Tawat’s hand.

“You can’t stop eating now. You’ve to eat until you‘re fill. Eat the unspiced dishes if you can’t eat the hot one. You’ve to practice on eating at regular hours at this temple. If you don’t eat now, you’ll be hungry, but can’t eat anything until the forenoon meal. The monks will take meals like this again and you do too. They’ll be just warmed,”

Khun Tawat was quiet; he might think of delicious foods at his home.

“The abbot asked you to stay at the temple beforehand so you can practice on chanting and on being a monk also. To practice on monkhood behavior of eating, living and sleeping. If it’s too much, it isn’t too late to change one’s mind,” Uncle Co made a casual remark, did not look at anyone.

Khun Tawat said nothing, but started to eat again - ate only unspiced dishes at a steady pace. Uncle Co was full and then got up to do his dishes, but Khun Tawat was still not full. Phie Gong had waited for him to be full so long that he had to warn Khun Tawat.

(to be continued)
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siamdog
 
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A Dog in the Dhamma - Wanted to be a monk#2

Postby siamdog » Sun May 29, 2011 2:44 pm

Wanted to be a monk#2

“You need to eat faster. The monks have to chant at the same time after taking meals. If you’re slow in eating like this, other monks have to wait for you terribly.”

Khun Tawat nodded in acknowledgement and was full immediately. He got up and assisted Phie Gong in cleaning things. Now, when he was going to assist Phie Gong in doing dishes, Phie Gong stopped him.

“It’s alright. You don’t have to. I’ll do it myself.”
“I can do, Phie Gong. If I’m abroad, I’ve to do many things myself likewise. To wash clothes, do the dishes, etc.”
“Eh! Aren’t those who are abroad comfortable?” wondered Phi Gong.
“Most farang (Thai people frequently call white people ‘farang’) do things themselves, sir. Farang maid’s wage is very high,” explained Khun Tawat.

‘Oh, I see. Well, why don’t you go to study abroad? Why do you want to be a monk?” said Phie Gong. He talked and did the dishes simultaneously, but Khun Tawat just sat talking.

“My grand mother will give me a lump sum that is enough for studying abroad in master’s level without difficulty. By the way, she made it a condition that I have to go to study abroad or to enter the monkhood. The same sum is for either choice. But in case of entering the monkhood, I’ve to become a monk for a Buddhist lent; not just seven, fifteen days or a month. If not, I wouldn’t get the money.”

“Why did you choose to enter the monkhood? Going abroad is smarter than being a monk, don’t you think so?” Phie gong was more wondered.

Khun Tawat turned to take a small, low plastic chair and sat down on it beside Phie Gong who was doing the dishes. Anyway, the chair had refused the fat young man’s intention to sit on it; its legs separated gradually. He got up urgently and put it away. Phie Gong looked side way at Khun Tawat and turned away to smile. Khun Tawat stood talking to Phie Gong instead.

“I thought over it for days. I don’t want to go abroad. I love to live in Thailand. In addition, if I study abroad, I’ve to give farang money unnecessarily. I’ve never thought that studying abroad is smart. It’s just like a fashion and this fashion should have passed from Thai people in one day - I hope that.

“There’s another important reason. I had seen my friends who had been rather slim before they went to study abroad. However, they are very fat when they came back. Dear me! Try to image that how I, such a fatty, would be if I stay abroad and take farang foods. Ouch! I don’t feel like imagining it,” then he laughed. Phie Gong laughed too.

“So you chose to become a monk - to get slim.” said Phie Gong.

“That’s right. I really want to get slim. It’s hard to reduce weight if I’m at home. All my relatives are fat; there is always something to eat on the large dining table in my house. Now this one buys something to eat, now that one buys something to eat. We eat at home and at outside. We please our mouths till we are as fat as pigs. I’ll be fatter and fatter if I’m at home. I had ever loved a woman. I was fond of her but she didn’t love me. She said I was excellent but my only fault was ‘fatness’.”

Khun Tawat stopped to laugh and Phie Gong did too. Phie Gong finished doing the dishes and went to the stone stools beside pathway. Khun Tawat followed him, then they sat on the stools. The stool did not resist Khun Tawat. I ran to hide among the clump of ixora near the stools to keep on listening in on their conversation.

“I want to reduce my weight but don’t want to go to a slimming center. I had seen many people went there. They got thinner for a time and then got fat again. They were fatter than ever; this time was swollen like puffing fog. I don’t know why. I think reducing weight depends on unyielding mind as well as on environment. I believe that I’m reasonable unyielding but the environment doesn’t facilitate the success, so that I’ve to look for the place with the facilitating environment. There is no place that is as perfect as temple.”

Phie Gong roared with laughter and asked frankly. “How have you got the idea?”
Khun Tawat smiled and said. “It’s because of my meritorious, probably. I wasn’t interested in going abroad at all when my grand mother gave me the choices. I just thought about what I would get out of entering a monkhood. Then I reached conclusions; firstly, I can repay my parents and my grand mother for their favor.

“Secondly, I would behave as a completed man and as a Buddhist by entering the monkhood traditionally.

“Thirdly, I would have an opportunity to study Dharma - the principle of the Buddhism. I want to know what the Buddha gave us – the Buddhist. So I could teach my offspring precisely in days to come.

“Fourthly, I would reduce my weight implicitly because monk’s eating is controlled - to eat at a certain time, two meals a day. I would certainly get thin without wasting money on reducing weight at the slimming center.

“Finally - the importance reason - I would have the whole lump sum because I don’t have to pay for the university fees. How about my idea, Phie Gong? How do you like the idea?” Khun Tawat asked Phie Gong at the end.

Phi gong turned up his two thumbs. “Great! That’s great! I don’t know how you got the idea. I wouldn’t able to think like this if I were you. Anyway, I admire your idea. It’s a good idea.”

“Thank you, sir,” Khun Tawat smiled delightedly.
I was going over those reasons, but I still didn’t understand so I decided to go back to Luang Ta’s dwelling to review it. Then I left them talking.


In the ordaining day, Khun Tawat’s parents and elder relatives cut Khun Tawat’s hair first in the morning, then Luang Phie Khaeg took a duty of shaving his head. After that relatives put the hairs in a lotus leaf and floated the lotus leaf (with the hairs) out into the river. Now, Khun Tawat was dressed in the white that called ‘Nagha dress’. He circled the ubosot for three times with his relatives who held the monkhood necessities. Then they entered the ubosot to perform an ordination ceremony. I couldn’t see what they did in the ubosot, because I could only spy on from the outside.

I saw cars drove in the temple and then parked at the parking lot a few at a time; there was also a truck carried tables and chairs. People who came along in the truck helped each other unloading many tables and chairs and set them on the spacious ground. They laid the tables with tablecloths and put glasses and dishes on the tables. I heard they called those tables ‘Chinese Food’; I had no idea what it was. I only know they were preparing meal not far away from the tables. The delicious smell of foods wafted around the temple. My friend – Pleau – should sniff the smell deeply until his mouth watered at the smell.

After the ordination ceremony, becoming a monk completely, Khun Tawat made his round for food offering in the morning together with Luang Phie Nahm and a samanera. The abbot, Luang Ta Chaeng and Thaan Maha One made their rounds by another route. A samanera and Phie Gong helped each other to push the cart, following those three senior monks. Luang Phie Glaa and Luang Phie Khaeg went by another route.

Now then, I had to call the new monk ‘Luang Phie Tawat’ as Nera Khai did. In the first morning of the new monk, Luang Phie Tawat had laid down his alms bowl and went to wash his feet at once after returning the temple. He sat down and lifted up his leg to see his sole surreptitiously. I could tell from his expression that he was quite hurt.

“It’ll be like this initially. Bear it for a little while. You‘ll be more hurt tomorrow and will get used to it later on. Monk should look down when he makes round for food offering, referring to the teaching, so he could see what are on the way ahead. There may be pointed gravel, pieces of broken glasses, car accidents or even dung on the way. We would able to avoid these things if we’re careful and are conscious while we walk. Then our feet will not hurt so much.”

I did not know when Luang Phie Nahm came here. He gave the new monk a lengthy teaching. Luang Phie Tawat acknowledged the teaching, got up and followed Luang Phie Nahm to chant before eating.

Praa Tawat got along with all monks and samaneras because he was a good mannered monk; being respectful of the senior monks, being always in a good mood and helpful. He helped other monks do every thing, read Dharma books when he was free, and ate faster. His relatives had been worried about his meal and brought him his favorite at the beginning. He brought those foods to other monks to take together. By the way, he asked his family not bring him any food any more because he would like to take the offered food rather than food from the relatives.

My Luang Ta Chaeng admired Luang Phie Tawat very much. I knew that, although Luang ta had never said anything, by Luang Ta’s eyes when he watched Luang Phie Tawat. Now, I got to dislike Luang Phie Tawat because he had snatched Luang Ta’s love from me.

I got more close with Luang Ta; rarely walked around as before. Thus I knew that Luang Ta was still kind to me liked it used to be - not less or more than ever. I stupid idiot! I poised my thought and then poised my mind, making myself suffered. Nonsense! After getting it, I took things easy as my style; walked around as usual, in simple terms.

One more thing that I knew about Luang Phie Tawat was Luang Phie Tawat was afraid of dog at most. I heard Luang Phie Nahm said to Luang Ta that Luang Phie Tawat should change route of making round for food offering to Luang Phie Khaeg and Luang Phie Glaa’s route. Because there were many dogs in Luang Phie Nahm’s route but there were rare dogs in Luang Phie Khaeg’s route.

“While we were walking, he stopped suddenly, standing stiff just as a dog passed by, Luang Phor. I asked him what’s wrong. He said his mother mentioned that he should be keep still if a dog was going to bite him. I told him it wouldn’t bite him at all; there were many dogs in the lane so they would pass by us, sniff us, or bark for a little. Then he shouldn’t pay attention to them. If they were so ferocious that they bit everyone, so how could I make round for food offering everyday. He didn’t listen to me and behaved as before - now walk now stop. It had wasted time and we were delayed in returning to the temple everyday,” Luang Phie Nahm told Luang Ta Chaeng.

I had never heard Luang Phie Nahm poured out complaints about anyone like this. He should be annoyed extremely. Ah, Luang Phie Tawat disliked dog and was afraid of dog to the extreme, but he had to stay at the temple where there were more than a hundred dogs. Ha-ha, I would like to laugh loudly in human language but I just could do that far.

The longer Luang Phie Tawat had stayed at the temple, the less his weight was gradually. His potbelly was flat, chubby limbs got slim. His relatives were very delighted. Some of them said they wanted their fat male offspring to become monks too, but no one complied with the request.

The most pleased person was Luang Phie Tawat’s grand mother. She said in front of the relatives that she would be glad for Praa Tawat and would be a patron of him if he would never leave the monkhood. If Praa Tawat would like to pursue advanced study in any level of Buddhist studies in India, she would pay for him. By the way, Luang Phie Tawat said nothing, but smiled. I had no idea what he was thinking.
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A Dog in the Dhamma # A monk : A son

Postby siamdog » Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:20 am

A monk : A son

In the afternoon, after finishing Buddhist monks’ routines monks would arrange their personal matters, such as washing robes, cleaning up their dwellings and dwelling’s area, trimming trees, watering the plants and loosening the soil, etc. The robes had to be exposed to the sun orderly. No monk could string clothes line at anywhere as he liked. The abbot always checked over the dwelling area.

Monks were absolutely forbidden to have any things beyond monk hood necessities, such as radio and television, and no mobile phone, too. Although there were people who wanted to offer these things, the monks were forbidden to take those things. Only thing that monks could have was electric fan. The abbot was a model of modesty. His dwelling was more spacious than others’ dwellings but there was not anything that other didn’t have, except an old glass cabinet filled with old books. (I secretly used to push myself forward the abbot’s room.)

There was a tile-roofed building at the spacious ground in front of the dwelling area. Used desks and chairs that people offered were lined up in rows in the building. A big television was hung firmly in front of the desks according to the abbot’s direction. Thaan Maha One occasionally turned on this television when he taught monks and samaneras. The monks called this building ‘Learning Hall’. In addition, there was a very big refrigerator that people offered to the abbot. The abbot asked lay person to set it up in the hall for the benefit of all people. This big refrigerator was full of bottles of water and samaneras took regularly turns at refilling these bottles. Those who wanted to drink cold water, this way please!

This temple had four young monks, they were called Luang Phie. Except Luang Phie Nahm, Luang Phie Glaa, and Luang Phie Khaeg who liked to work together, there was also Luang Phie Sak. He was very reserved. He almost didn’t talk to anyone, each day. He quite kept himself in his room, had never came out to mix with others after he finished Buddhist monk’s routines and temple tasks. I, myself, rarely saw him so I nearly forget that there was still Luang Phie Sak in the temple.

I had never seen Luang Phie Sak joined other monks in eating. Actually, all monks had to have meal together, both breakfast and forenoon meal, except when some monks weren’t available or had accepted an invitation to forenoon meal at the folks’ houses.

Early, I was not interested in Luang Phie Sak, but the more I grew up the nosier I was. So I intentionally observed Luang Phie Sak. I saw Luang Phie Sak went out to make his rounds for food offering with other monks in early morning. However, he did not return with other monks, but returned to the temple with empty alms-bowl after other monks already had breakfast. He cleaned his bowl and turned it over to dry it. Then he held a service, cleaned up the temple and did temple tasks.

Luang Phie Sak went off again when there was a time to have the forenoon meal. I used to spy on him and saw he hurried out the temple. I couldn’t follow him to the outside. He, then, hurried back in the afternoon. After arriving, he took off his robe and washed his face. Next, he snatched a machete to get rid of the weeds, and swept up leaves. He repaired desks and chairs for some times. He did as much temple tasks as there were. Luang Phie Sak took a bath in the late afternoon and then joined other monks and samaneras in holding evening service.

After that, Luang Phie Sak disappeared again and came back at twilight. It was like this everyday. I was really curious about him but couldn’t ask anyone. One day, I fortunately knew the truth. Guess how I knew! By Nera Khai – a little doubtful samanera – who had never kept question to himself, not for a moment. If he doubted about anything, he would surely ask everyone in order to have a profound understanding of that thing.


On an afternoon, the abbot had something to do outside after the breakfast. Anyway, before leaving the temple he asked Luang Ta Chaeng to take monk and samanera to clean up his dwelling. So Luang Ta asked Luang Phie Khaeg and and Nera Khai to clean up the outside of the abbot’s dwelling. He, himself, did the room. I heard Nera Khai’s faint voice while I was running pleasantly over there. Nera Khai asked Luang Phie Khaeg in whisper.

“Luang Phie, may I ask a question, sir? I’m doubtful for a long time.”

I pricked my ears immediately, and got closer to them quickly to hear very well.

“Okay, go ahead. Don’t do the intro. I’ll answer if I can, but won’t if I can’t,” Luang Phie Khaeg said while he was busy with wiping.

“I was really doubtful about Luang Phie Sak. He is very mysterious. Now appear, now disappear. Just like a ninja.”

Luang Phie Khaeg said nothing and went on with cleaning. Nera Khai asked further.
“Where did Luang Phie Sak go so often? Why didn’t Luang Poo blame him?”

Luang Phie Khaeg did not answer. He went out to wash a rag and returned. Near Khai stood holding a broom, acting as if he was sweeping the floor, but he was not actually. Then Luang Phie Khaeg commanded him to sweep the floor throughout. Nera Khai swept for a little while and turned to Luang Phie Khaeg to talk with him.

“If Luang Phie Sak can do like this, other monks - including samaneras such as me - could do too. Is it not so, Luang Phie?”

“Do what?” that was not Luang Phie Khaeg’s voice, but Luang Ta’s.

Nera Khai was startled and abruptly swept the floor in earnest. Luang Ta Chaeng looked toward Luang Phi Khaeg who remained silent. Luang Ta stood thinking for a while and said to them.

“Finish the work. If anyone be curious to know about Praa Sak, then go to my dwelling at one and the same time. I’ll explain what the matter to you.”

I looked at Nera Khai at once and saw him smiled to himself happily.

After finishing the work, Luang Phi Khaeg and Nera Khai returned to their dwelling. Luang Ta Chaeng returned to his dwelling too, and I ran after him. Luang Ta went to take a bath after arriving his dwelling. I had crouched on the floor in front of Luang Ta’s room, taking the air. Then I heard people talked with each other softly while I was half-asleep. I opened my eyes narrowly to see what was happening. I was nearly jerked awake. What‘s up! Luang Phie khaeg, Luang Phie Glaa, Luang Phie Nahm. Nera Eak, Nera Pad and Nerakhai were all here. There were only three monks did not come; Luang Ta Daam was not able to walk because of illness, the abbot and Thaan Maha One were out.

Luang Ta Chaeng opened his room’s door and then laughed at the time he saw all visitors. He sat down on a broad porch in front of the room. The monks and samaneras went upstairs a few at a time. After everyone was on the porch, they knelt down in front of Luang Ta and prostrated themselves in sign of respect. Luang Ta returned a greeting.

“Make yourselves comfortable. Sit as your please. Oh, is everyone curious to know about Praa Sak?”
No one answered Luang Ta. They just looked at each other’s face smilingly. Then Luang Ta went on.
“Actually, the abbot had asked me to explain the matter to all, so there’s no doubt about it. But I’m so busy that I forget that. Very well, I still tell you about Praa Sak today.

“Praa Sak became a samanera since he was twelve – had just finished the sixth grade. Firstly, he was ordained for a short at the cremation of his father, but he had faith in Dharma so he didn’t leave the monk hood. He was originally a samanera at an Ayutthaya’s temple. His family lived at Ayutthaya. His elder sister happened to get a job with a high salary round here. So she took her mother to live over here because there was no one over there to take care the mother. The mother had missed her son – a samanera, but she had inconvenience of visiting him. Her daughter had to work, rarely had time to take the mother to visit her younger brother. Then, the mother asked a favor of that temple’s abbot to give her son permission to live at this temple. So that she could make a food offering to the samanera – her son. The abbot permitted. Then Praa Sak took leave of that temple’s abbot and has lived here since he was twenty – just the perfect age of becoming a monk.

“His elder sister died from an accident – a car ran into her, when he was here for about a year. His mother had suffered great sorrow and was sick chronically. It had rain one day, and his mother slipped and fell over. She is paralyzed, incapable to move from then on. She has no one except Praa Sak to take care of her. Praa Sak thus asked the abbot for permission to leave the monkhood.

“The abbot considered the matter and thought that Praa Sak shouldn’t leave. So the abbot didn’t permit. He explained that Praa Sak is in the monk hood since he was a boy. He doesn’t have any practical knowledge of the mortal world for making a living, so he might make a wrong decision and do something bad. He would degrade himself for nothing. The abbot told Praa Sak to be a monk as always and to look after his mother also. The abbot has kindly borne the medical treatment and medical fee of Praa Sak’s mother. It’s still good that there isn’t a rent for the house. His elder sister sold the house at Ayutthaya and bought one around here. There’s a trifling cost of water and electricity.

“The abbot has permitted Praa Sak to give the offered food to his mother. He disappears in the morning after making his round for food offering because he has to feed his mother and make her take medicine. He returns to the temple after cleaning up the house, to do the temple works. In the day time, he has to go out to take care of his mother, to feed her, to make her take medicine, to give a bath to her, and to deal with her matters. Then he comes back. In the evening, after holding service, he has to take care of his mother again - making a bed for her - and returns to the temple. His everyday live is like this,” Luang Ta stopped speaking and made a long sigh. The monks and samaneras kept quiet and just looked at each others’ eyes so Luang Ta went on.

“Praa Sak doesn’t feel well in these times. He doesn’t want to impose on other monks’ kindness. He is also afraid that other monks would blame him for going out everyday. He, therefore, tries to do as much temple work as he can when he is at the temple. Normally, he isn’t talkative, now he doesn’t feel like talking with anyone because of his suffering. Now, you shouldn’t have any doubt about Praa Sak.

“The mother is a woman. So can monk take care of the mother; can touch her?” Nera Khai asked.

Luang Ta smiled. “Oh, he can, because she is the mother. It’s so necessary. If there’s no one to take care of her, monk has to take the duty. The Buddha said that gratefulness is the ultimate auspicious thing. There was a monk who had to take care of his mother in the period of the Buddha. The Buddha had permitted the monk to treat his mother who had a stomachache all the time. The monk had squeezed ripe mango juice for his mother everyday until she had recovered, then the monk returned to the monastic area.

“There was another monk who had become a monk for twelve years. He heard that his parents lived in destitution – very rarely had something to eat now. So he thought of leaving the monk hood and took leave of the Buddha. The Buddha said to him that a monk could look after the parents. He had given the offered food and the offered clothing to his parents from then on. Early the monk had been worried about taking care of his parents until he lost weight and was gloomy. His situation should be similar to Praa Sak’s.

“The Buddha said an exclamation of approval for three times when the Buddha knew that monk’s story. Then the Buddha said to the monk: ‘You are on the way I had gone.’ That means the Buddha had ever behaved in that way – had taken care of the parents in a former birth. Then the Buddha told monks ‘the Suwanna – Sam - Jataka’. In a previous incarnation the Buddha, himself, was born as Suwanna-Sam. He had lived in the forest and took care of his parents. Well, even when he was dying because he was shot by the King’s arrow he was still worried about his parents. He was afraid that there would be no one to look after his parents, so that he asked the King to look after his parents after he had died.

“The parents were very grieved on hearing of their son’s - Suwannna-Sam - death. They set their mind on making a solemn wish. They said to the goddess who had protected the forest: ‘Suwanna-Sam was a good son, he behaved well, was kind and grateful, he took care of the parents all the time. So, because of his meritorious, please make him come to live.’

“Then Suwanna-Sam had come to live by the power of his whole meritorious deeds. The King was very wondered so he asked Suwanna-Sam: ‘How can you come to live?’ Suwanna-Sam replied the King: ‘Everyone who looks after his parents carefully, would be watched over by gods and human beings. Sagas would praise him. Even if he died, he would go to the heaven and enjoy fruit of his gratefulness.’ As to this, do you understand the matter of looking after the parents?” Luang Ta asked after telling the story. His eyes swept all people and stopped at Nera Khai.

“There’s no doubt, sir,” Nera Khai rsaid and grinned, showing his two big front teeth.
“Luang Phor, why didn’t Praa Sak take his mother to a nursing home, sir,” asked Luang Phie Khaeg.

Luang Ta Chaeng had an amused look. “A nursing home doesn’t admit old people into the residence easily. The old people’s offspring have to confirm the house that they can afford money for the nursing monthly.”

“Do they have to pay, sir?” asked Luang Phie Glaa.

“Definitely yes. They’ve to support the expenses such as food costs, medicine fee, medical treatment fee, cost of water and electricity, and miscellaneous expenses. The house has to meet the heavy expenditures. Those who put their relatives under the house’s care have to support these expenditures monthly, or else everyone would leave his old relative at the nursing house soon. It’s too much. In addition, if that old person can’t do anything for himself, the expense is heavier. The offspring have to hire a superintendent for the old. It’s hard for the offspring to pay.”

“So that Praa Sak should have to take care of his mother forever,” said Luang Phie Glaa.
“It should be like that,” Luang Ta summarized.
“Luang Phor, is it right if we would like to visit Praa Sak’s mother?” Luang Phie Nahm asked Luang Ta’s advice. Luang Ta thought about that for a while, and then replied.

“I, myself, can’t answer. I don’t know what Praa Sak’s thought is. He may not like to bother anyone. He has got much consideration for you today.”

“Then, we won’t bother Luang Phor any longer.” Luang Phie Nahm said and pressed his hands together as a sign of respect to Luang Ta. Others followed him. Then Luang Phie Nahm said to Luang Ta.

“Luang Phor, we thank you so much for telling us the good story. We won’t forget it and will turn it to advantage in the future,” after that Luang Phie Nahm bowed down as a sign of respect and others did too. Then everyone went down from Luang Ta’s dwelling and returned to their dwellings silently. No one said anything even Nara Khai – the talkative samanera.
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Re: A Dog in the Dhamma # A monk : A son

Postby perkele » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:43 pm

I really like your stories.
:anjali:
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A Dog in the Dhamma #A Dog’s Tears 1

Postby siamdog » Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:00 pm

A Dog’s Tears 1

It was sweltering today. The breeze that usually blew in the afternoon disappeared. Leaves were motionless. I lay at Luang Ta’s dwelling, felling uneasy that I couldn’t say. I felt tightness in the chest when I inhaled, and had my heart in my mouth when I exhaled. My heart skipped a beat strangely. I ran down the stairs to drink cool water in the lotus basin in front of the dwelling, however, it couldn’t cool off and relive my uneasiness. I went to Luang Ta’s room. The door was ajar, then I pushed myself forward to see Luang Ta. He lay, closing eyes on the mat. There was a small piece of cloth resting on Luang Ta’s forehead.

I moved to crouch in front of the room and thought back to this morning scene. Luang Ta did not get up to make round for food offering as before. Thaan Maha One had come to see Luang Ta and said that he would like to take Luang Ta to the doctor, but Luang Ta did not go. He said he was fine – he just felt dizzy and it would get well in an instant after taking yahom powder. Thaan Maha One prepared yahom for Luang Ta. Then he applied balm to Luang Ta’s body and gave Luang Ta a massage for a while after Luang Ta took yahom. He said that he would ask a samanera to nurse Luang Ta. Luang Ta told Thaan Maha One to be not bothered – he was quite okay so that Thaan Maha One should go to receive food offering as usual. Thaan Maha One said he would ask Uncle Co to prepare soft-boiled rice for Luang Ta and then he went to make a round for food offerings.

I hang about Luang Ta. He opened his eyes and saw me, then he stretched out his hand to rub on my head and closed his eyes again. Uncle Co brought a bowl of soft-boiled rice to Luang Ta in not too long. Luang Ta was full after taking it a little. Uncle Co persuaded Luang Ta to see a doctor but Luang Ta denied. Luang Ta said that he was fine and Uncle Co should better go to arrange other matters, didn’t need to watch him. By the way, Luang Ta asked him to give me something to eat. Uncle Co agreed and called me to have a meal at the cooking house. I turned back to the dwelling to keep an eye on Luang Ta after I was full.

The abbot, all monks and samaneras, except Luang Ta Daam, came to see Luang Ta Chaeng at the forenoon time. Luang Phie Nahm brought Luang Ta soft-boiled rice and a few dishes. Anyway, Luang Ta just took it a little. The abbot told Luang Ta should better go to see a doctor, but Luang Ta repeatedly denied and said he was fine; he was only fatigued because it was very hot. The abbot accepted the denial, but said that there should be a samanera to take care of Luang Ta. Samaneras looked at each other so Luang Phie Nahm volunteered to take the duty.

Luang Phie Nahm nursed Luang Ta for a long time; now touched Luang Ta, now turned the electric fan to that way or this way in order to make Luang Ta comfortable. He switched the fan and dipped a small piece of cloth in water and then gave Luang Ta a bed bath with the cloth at times. Finally, he folded the cloth and laid it on Luang Ta’s forehead. Then he left the dwelling with a worried look.

I lay pondering for a while and got up to see Luang Ta in the room. Luang Ta lay quietly. He had already lain for a long time so he should get up now. He had normally never slept a day out. I moved closer to Luang Ta and wiped Luang Ta‘s arm gently with my hand, but Luang Ta remained silent. I got wondering because Luang Ta had never been like this before. Then I barked loudly and scratched Luang Ta’s arm. It worked; Luang Ta half opened his eyes to see me and smiled.

“Thong Thao,” he called me so faintly.
I wagged my tail gladly and crouched down close to him. He raised his hand to rub on my head and body. I felt that his hand was weaker than usual. I put out my tongue to lick his hand, desiring him to be strong and get up to talk to me as usual, but he closed his eyes again. The hand rested on my head – immobile, did not rub on my body any more. I heard the voices of Luang Phie Nahm, the abbot and other people who I did not know. Then they entered the room. Luang Phie Nahm rushed toward Luang Ta and called Luang Ta simultaneously.

“Luang Phor, sir! Luang Phor!” he took hold of Luang Ta’s hand and pressed it forcefully. I stayed out of them bewilderingly, but kept my eyes on Luang Ta’s face. Luang Ta opened his eyes slowly to see the people who came to see him.

“What?” Luang Ta asked a very horse.
“You should better go to the hospital,” said the abbot.
“I’m fine,” Luang Ta said faintly.
“I didn’t say that you’re not fine. Anyway, you should have a check-up and take saline solution a little, so that you should be stronger.”

The abbot nodded the two men a signal of something while he was saying. Then the two men went out and came back with a stretcher in a moment. They put it down and moved Luang Ta on it.

Luang Ta turned his head to see me and called me softly … “Thong Thao”
I ran toward him. Luang Phie Nahm caught and carried me, and then said to Luang Ta.
“Don’t be worried, sir. I’ll take care of Thong Thao for you.”

The two men lifted the stretcher with Luang Ta, and went out quickly. I struggled from Luang Phie Nahm’s arms and ran after them nervously. Where they would take my Luang Ta to? Luang Phie Nahm and the abbot also followed them. They went to a van that parked at the parking lot. There was another man opened the van’s back gate for them, and then the two men moved Luang Ta into the van. I barked loudly to stop them taking my Luang Ta away. They had no interest in me, got on the van and closed the back gate. I did not see Luang Ta now, so I barked louder. The man who opened the gate went to get on the van at the front door, and the abbot got on at the opposite door. I barked extremely, wanting Luang Ta to hear me.

Luang Phie Nahm sat down to hold me and said to me. “Thong Thao, Luang Phor goes to see the doctor and will be back soon. Don’t bark, Thong Thao.”

Luang Phie Nahm held me firmly, but I kept on barking. I gazed at the van, getting angry at it because it took my Luang Ta away.

Luang Phie Nahm loosed his arms when the van was arriving at the temple’s gate. I quickly fled myself from his arms and ran after it, but I did not catch it. It already passed the gate when I just took a few steps. I ran to the gate, looked at the road in front of the temple; to the right and then to the left. I did not see the van. I was stupefied, tired, got angry and was disappointed. What I should do? I looked back and saw Luang Phie Nahm ran to me. He shouted for me.

“Thong Thao! Don’t go out!”
I stood dazedly. There was only ‘Luang Ta’ in my head. Where was my Luang Ta? Why did they take him away? I downcastly turned back to Luang Ta’s dwelling with Luang Phie Nahm. He tried to carry me in his arms and took me to his dwelling, but I resisted. So he let me down as I liked. I had to stay at Luang Ta’s dwelling. I should wait for Luang Ta there, so that I could see Luang Ta and run to welcome him when he came back.

I waited for Luang Ta at front of the dwelling, looking at the way at almost time. I had waited until it became completely dark, but Luang Ta didn’t come. Luang Phie Nahm and Luang Phie Glaa came to turn on the light at front of the dwelling. They saw me craned my neck to have a look at the way. Luang Phie Nahm walked to sit beside me and said to me.

“Thong Thao, Waiting for Luang Phor, right? He wouldn’t come back tonight.” I turned to look at Luang Phie Nahm’s face immediately. “Luang Phor can’t come back tonight, indeed. The doctor asked Luang Phor to stay at the hospital. Do you know hospital? It’s a place where sick person takes the care. Luang Phor is sick so he has to take medicine and saline solution at the hospital. He can’t come back now. Understand, Thong Thao?”

I looked at Luang Phie Nahm, trying to come to an understanding of his words. Suddenly, there was a rustling. I turned to see what it was. That’s just Luang Phie Glaa. He was rustling a colorful pack of snack to catch my interest. Then he tore it, poured out the snack on his palm and offered me the snack.

“Take it? This is baked cuttlefish right. So delicious!”
Normally, Luang Phie Glaa rarely took as interest in me. Why did he please me awfully today?
“Where did you get it?” asked Luang Phie Nahm.

“Uncle Co. He bought it for Thong Thao. Two packs, really,” Luang Phie Glaa said and showed me another pack that was not opened. I was surprised again. Uncle Co bought snacks for me? Luang Even Phie Nahm had an expression of suspicious. Luang Phie Glaa explained then.

“He said he felt pity for it.”
Luang Phie Nahm nodded silently, rubbing on my head and body. Luang Phie Glaa offered the snack again, but I was not interested in it. I did not want to eat anything now. Why did not he give it to me the other day?

“Why don’t you take it, Thong Thao? Come on, eat it!” said Luang Phie Glaa.
I turned away. Luang Phie Glaa was very strange today, pestering me to eat the snack and calling me ‘Thong Thao’ – not ‘Ai Rad’ as usual.

‘Don’t eat? Well, as you like,” Luang Phie Glaa piled the snack on the floor and went on. “Here’s your snack. Eat it when you’re hungry.”

“Do you want to sleep at my dwelling, Thong Thao?” Luang Phie Nahm induced me, but I paid no attention to his asking and turned to look at the way.

“I told you Luang Phor won’t come back tonight. Now, go to sleep at my dwelling,” Luang Phie Nahm induced me again.

I crouched inactively. Luang Phie Glaa got up and went down the stairs. Luang Phie Nahm rubbed my head and said to me. ‘Well, sleep here as you like. I go now,” Then he got up and went down the stairs following Luang Phie Glaa.

I followed two Luang Phies with my eyes until they were out of sight. The quietness and loneliness that I had never had attacked me suddenly. I got up and walked to Luang Ta’s room. Luang Phie Nahm did not bolt the door so I pushed the door open by my body. The room was dark. I went to the mat where Luang Ta had slept. I sniffed around it, smelling a familiar smell - Luang Ta’s body odor. I felt as if Luang Ta was close to me. I was so weary.

I went to grip Luang Ta’s unused old robe with my teeth, and dropped it on the floor close to Luang Ta’s mat. Then I lay on the robe in the way I did when I was a puppy; when Luang Ta looked after me closely. I had never slept alone for a night at that time. I missed Luang Ta so much. It’s strange that there was warm water welled from my eyes at first time. I lay quietly letting them ran down my face. Now, I know I was crying.

(to be continued)
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Re: A Dog in the Dhamma # A monk : A son

Postby siamdog » Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:37 pm

I really happy to know that you like my story..
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A DOg in the Dhamma # A dog's tears 2

Postby siamdog » Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:03 pm

A dog's tears 2

I did not know when I went to sleep, but I waked up before down. I was accustomed to wake up as early as Luang Ta did. I got up and looked for Luang Ta immediately, but did not see Luang Ta. Then I recalled that Luang Ta was not here; he did not come back yet. Luang Ta was still at the hospital as Luang Phie Nahm said. What did the hospital look like? Would it be as comfortable and pleasant as this temple was?

I had been walking around, waiting for Luang Ta until late midday, but Luang Ta did not come back. I felt a gnawing hungry so I drank water for times, but it couldn’t satisfy my hungry. I walked to the baked cuttlefish which Luang Phie Glaa poured out last night. It smelled good, but there were ants swarming about it. I brushed them away with my hand and tasted a piece of the baked cuttlefish. What a tough the baked cuttlefish! I patiently chewed it for three pieces, and then was not up to it. I went down the stairs to drink water again and went up to keep on waiting for Luang Ta. I had waited until I was tired so I crouched down, but still kept my eyes on the road all the time. When would the van take my Luang Ta back? I heard some people chatted so I turned in the direction. Nera Khai and Nera Pad were walking toward me; Nera Khai was holding a plastic bag of food.

“Here your meal, Thong Thao!” Nera Khai called me. He walked toward my plate beside the dwelling’s stairs and poured food out of the bag into the plate. I looked at the plate and was gloomed missing Luang Ta. Luang Ta always cleaned the plate before pouring food into it for me. Nera Pad - a fat samanera - saw that I remained silent so he ran to me and got me standing. He held my hands and dragged me to and fro while he was speaking.

“Come on, Thong Thao! Let’s dance. Quickly! Don’t be sorrowed. Come on! Dance, dance, dance.”
I pulled my hands out of Nera Pad’s grips, really wanting to bite this fat samanera. I went backward and bared my teeth roaring slowly.

“Hey! What’s up? I only played with you. Why do you get angry at me?” Nara Pad made a fuss. Nera Khai who stood beside my plate beckoned me in.

“Have your meal, Thong Thao. Come on. It’s so delicious today.”
‘All right,’ I said to myself. ‘So I would be strong and could wait for Luang Ta.’
Nera Pad went to sit at the stairs. He rested his chin on his hand and looked at me. Nera Khai stood close to me and then said to me.

“Thong Thao, it’s delicious, right? Eat off, boy. Luang Ta would be back soon - may be today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. Rigth, Phie Nera Pad?” Nera Khai turned to Nera Pad and asked him.

“I dunno,” Nera Pad said shortly.
Though the food was delicious, I stopped eating immediately. Nara Khai and Nera Pad sat chatting for a while, then they got up to return to their dwelling. Nera Khai said to me before leaving.
“Don’t be sad, Thong Thao. Luang Ta has to be back anyhow.”

I followed the samaneras with my eyes and looked toward the road. When would my Luang Ta come back? I had waited for him until it become dark. The temple’s road was illuminated by the lamps at the side of the roads, but the distant area - including Luang Ta’s dwelling - that got little light was dark with the shades of trees. I crouched at front of the dwelling looking through the darkness toward the road. I got lonely so much now. Anyway, I believed that Luang Ta had to miss me too.

Luang Ta, where was the hospital you stayed? I really wanted to go and see you there. Luang Ta should be very glad to see me. Warm water formed in my eyes slowly … Then I saw the yellow of the robe moving toward me through the dimness with the eyes blurred with tears. Luang Ta was back! I got up abruptly, leapt down the stairs and ran to him, but had to stop short. I blinked, looking at the one who stood in front of me. That’s Luang Phie Nahm. He stopped walking when he saw me ran to him. I raised my head to look at his face. He looked at my face too and bent down to rub on my head.

“Though that I was Luang Phor, right? Thong Thao, my boy. Luang Ta doesn’t come back yet,” Luang Phie Nahm said and went up the dwelling’s stairs. He turned on the light, opened the door of Luang Ta’s room, and entered the room.

“Eh - did nera not clean up Luang Phor’s room in the day time?” Luang Phi Nahm remarked. How could I reply him? Luang Phie rolled up the mat and picked it up. I looked at his face and barked: Where would you take Luang Ta’s mat to?
“I didn’t take it away. Just pick it up, so I can clean up Luang Phor’s room. It can be spread again whenever Luang Phor comes back,’ Luang Phie Nahm said as if he understood my language.

He left the room and turned off the light after finishing the work. He closed the door but did not draw the bolt. I followed him, snuggling up to his legs - I did not want him to go. He sat down at the top of the stairs. I sat touching him. Luang Phie rubbed on my head and body while he was looking straight ahead.

“Thong Thao misses Luang Phor so much, right? I also miss him and desire him to get well as soon as possible. So he’ll be with us again,” Then Luang Phie turned to me. “Well, I asked a nera to give you meal in the day time. Eat out, don’t you?” he leaned out and looked at my plate. There was some leftover.

“Why there was leftover? You usually eat a lot, don’t you? Thong Thao, eating is important. You’ve to eat fully, no matter how distressed, how sad you’re. So you will be strong; your mind will be strong if your body is strong. Then the distress will become less serious. Don’t forget it. Eat a lot if you miss Luang Phor. Luang Phor should be certainly displeased if he knows that Thong Thao doesn’t eat. And then I should be reproached if Luang Phor come backs and sees Thong Thao lose weight.”

I listened to him and carefully reviewed his words, then I agreed with him. I leapt down the stairs to eat the food to show him that I understood his words. Anyway, the rice left behind since the day time was swarmed by ants and bad-smelling besides. I had never eaten stinking food when Luang Ta was here. I raised my head to see Luang Phie Nahm. He smiled to me.

“Well, good boy. Smart dog, Thong Thao is really cute. Don’t eat it if it’s spoiled. Come on. I had bread. Phie Gong gave you this bread today.”

I hurriedly ran up the stairs. Luang Phie Nahm took out two bread packs, tore a pack and fed me the soft bread. I ate up the bread, then The Luang Phie tore another pack - biscuits. I ate up them again and felt better. Luang Phie Nahm laughed happyly and rubbed on my head.

“Good boy, good! So you understand my words. Be full, right? Then go to sleep! Don’t worry. Luang Phor would be back in a couple of days. Well, I guess I should bath you tomorrow. You’re getting bad smell. Luang Phor should grumble over your dirty when he comes back,” then he got up and went down the stairs; I went wit him. He turned to me when we were at front of the dwelling.
“Go to sleep at my dwelling?”

I stopped walking implying that I did not go. Luang Phie smiled and returned to his dwelling.
Of all Luang Phies in the temple, I loved Luang Phie Nahm most because he had never treated dogs like dirt. He had never kicked, booted, threw something at dogs, or abused any dogs. In addition, he understood and sympathized us (dogs) well. Luang Phie Nahm was similar in character to Luang Ta Chaeng.

I heard a rustling while I was going up the dwelling. So I turned to see what it was. Pleau stood displaying his epidermis in the shadows. I was glad to see him; I needed a friend now. He walked to me. His eyes showed me that he was also unhappy.
I leaded him to the stairs. He followed me, but stopped at my plate which still had the leftover. I pretended not to see what he did. He hit the plate with his hand to drive ants away for times, then he ate food quietly and went to drink water at the lotus basin after eating up. Finally, he went up the stairs to me.

He saw the baked cuttlefish which was not crispy any longer when he was on the dwelling. He looked sideways at me; I feigned to be not interested in him and looked at the road. He ate the baked cuttlefish and knocked the floor with his hand to drive ants away at the same time. He seemed to be enjoyed eating the baked cuttlefish that he would like to eat for a long time; he should forget why he came to see me, I presumed.

After eating up the baked cuttlefish, Pleau went down the stairs to have water again, then he went up to me. Now, I pretended to be in a sleep. He walked to lie down close to me. He kept quiet so long that I got wondering and had to open my eyes. He was looking at my face and then said that all dogs in the temple knew Luang Ta Chaeng was sick and was not at the temple. Thus they were unhappy, were worried about Luang Ta and missed Luang Ta very much. They chose him to represent them to ask me about Luang Ta’s condition - they wanted to know when Luang Ta was back.

I could only give a sigh. I knew every dog missed Luang Ta because Luang Ta was always kind to all dogs, for the whole time. I would like to say something about Luang Ta to ease their minds, but I myself knew as much as they did, indeed. So what else I could tell them?

I told Pleau I knew nothing about Luang Ta’s sickness. I only knew Luang Ta might be back tomorrow, next two days, or anytime I did not know. Pleau looked at me sympathetically. He told me he would keep me company, waiting for Luang Ta with me. I thanked him and was glad of having him here.

Having a friend relived my loneliness, but it couldn’t stop me from thinking of Luang Ta. I forced myself to ease my mind and nursed the hope that I would see Luang Ta tomorrow. I had to be strong, did not want Pleau to see me cried.
Two mornings passed off, Luang Ta did not come back yet. Pleau still kept me company, but he ran to take meal with his gang as usual and informed his gang also that there was no news about Luang Ta at all.

Today Luang Phie Nahm gave me a bath in the afternoon. It made me increasingly miss Luang Ta. Luang Ta was the only person who bathed me since I was a puppy. He always taught me to behave well while he was giving me a bath. Luang Ta dried my body gently every time and I always felt good when Luang Ta bathed me. This was the first time that I was bathed by the other.

The third and fourth day passed off as the other days. I did not hear anyone talked of Luang Ta. Maybe it was because I did not run around as usual. I went nowhere because I wanted to wait for Luang Ta at the dwelling. Luang Phie Nahm came to give me food and turned of the dwelling’s front light in the morning, and came to give me food again and turned on the light in the evening. He usually sat down, relaxed with me for a while and went back to his dwelling. Everything went on that way everyday.

I wanted to ask Luang Phie about Luang Ta, but I couldn’t speak. I felt extremely, anxiously depressed. When would my Luang Ta come back? When I was in sleep at night, I saw Luang Ta came to see me, hugged me and played with me. But why did not he come when I was awake?

Today I did not want to eat anything even though the food Luang Phie Nahm brought me looked delicious. I tried to think of Luang Phie Nahm’s words – why one had to eat, but I was really unable to eat anything except water that Luang Phie Nahm regularly poured into the lotus basin.

Pleau still kept me company all day and night. He slept at front of Luang Ta’s room at night, but I went to sleep in the room. Now the place Luang Ta had laid was empty. The mat, pillow, and blanket were stored away by Luang Phie Nahm. My heart sank queerly when I looked at the place. I dragged Luang Ta’s old robe to the place where I used to sleep next to Luang Ta, and then slept there.

In the dim light, I lay looking at the empty place. I desired Luang Ta to appear, but Luang Ta was nowhere to be found. So I closed my eyes and imaged that Luang Ta was sleeping close to me. Then tears started from my eyes. I lay crying lonely, silently until I was in a sleep every night. And then I saw Luang Ta came to me.
Luang Ta went up the stairs smilingly and called for me. ‘Thong Thao.’

I ran to him delightedly. He carried me in his arms the way he did when I was a puppy. Luang Ta should recover and was strong. I rested my body in his arms and slept well. Anyway, I was awake in the morning, finding that I lay on the old robe alone. There was no Luang Ta at all.

As longer time passed, I missed Luang Ta increasingly so that I did not want to eat and to do anything. I crouched at front of the dwelling by day and kept looking at the road, hoping that there would be a car or a person to take Luang Ta back. I lay there partly awake partly asleep, did not want to move to anywhere. Luang Phie Nahm brought me food and snack, but I did not eat them. Pleau was the one who ate them, but Luang Phie Nahm did not know.

One night, after getting to sleep, I had to wake with a start because of the wailing howl of the temple dogs. The howl began at the temple’s front, then they (dogs) howled from hand to hand. I lay, listening with surprise. Pleau should hear the howl and was surprised too. He pushed himself forward into the room and looked for me. Anyhow, he dared not enter the room so I went out.

We stood touching each other with feeling that we couldn’t say. The front of the room was illuminated with the light. Although we were familiar with the howl because our friends always howled noisily when monks struck the bell before dawn, but the howl we heard at this moment was not like those howls.

It’s an eerie, sorrowful howl. Sometime it was faint like crying. Sometime it was like a sob, then it‘s louder startlingly. They (dogs) howled in a drawn out way from all directions - throughout the temple.

Pleau and I stood looking round. There were awesome shadows of trees over here and there in the dim light of lamps. There was not any noise except the enduring haunting howl. My heart palpitated strangely. I looked at Pleau. He was stupefied; his legs trembled. The dogs kept on howling eerily.

I had never met the atmosphere like this before. Pleau stood very touching to me, then he started pressing against me until I had to move backwards to the wall. I really desired Luang Ta to stay with me at this moment.

The howl was louder again and then faded slowly, sounding like a crying. Now it’s louder haltingly like a sob. I couldn’t tell where it came from – from a distance or closer. It sounded like it’s drifting in the sky, in the wind. Suddenly, I was startled because Pleau howled out without warning. I asked him what he was mad for. He said he did not know; he just wanted to howl, he lost his composure. I was truly put off by Pleau, then I strictly ordered him not to make a noise again because I was displeased.

The faint wind wafted a strange smell to me. I turned to Pleau. He sniffed out, looking round, and then he looked aghast. I cast my eyes over the dwelling’s area. There was only looming shades of trees along the way from this dwelling to the temple’s road. I looked at the road and saw the lamplight dimmed down as if there was fog or mist covering all over. Amidst the dim light and the mist, I saw something on the road from a distance. It was moving closer and closer until I saw it clearly. That’s just my Luang Ta! He came back! He got off the road and turned into the pathway leading to the dwelling where I stood.

I was extremely glad, barked loudly and was ready for running down the stairs to him. But Luang Ta was already on the dwelling; he walked so fast. Luang Ta walked to me smilingly. I whined, wagged my tail and snuggled up to his legs as I had always done. Luang Ta sat down, hugged me, rubbed on my head, my body kindly as before. If I could, I would like to ask him that did he get well.

Suddenly, the howl that was faded down a moment ago wailed again. This time I felt it was from over here. But I was not interested in it any more. Now, Luang Ta stayed with me. I felt comfortable and was extremely happy. I had entirely forgot Pleau for a moment and just recalled he was here too. So I turned to look for him. He stood tremblingly pressing against the wall, looking at me and Luang Ta sacredly. Puzzled, I looked at him, but ignored him. I cared for Luang Ta only at this moment.

Tonight Luang Ta carried me in his arms. He rarely carried me since I had been getting bigger. He said he was not able to carry me because I was too heavy for him. He opened his room’s door and entered the room. Luang Ta put me down, went to turn on the light, took the mat and spread it. Then he took his pillow and blanket and placed them on the mat – just the way he used to do when he was going to sleep. Anyway, Luang Ta did not go to sleep yet.

While the howl was going on, Luang Ta carried me on his lap. I rested my head on Luang Ta’s one arm which was holding me. Luang Ta rubbed on my head and body gently at a stead pace as if he tried to console me, lulling me to sleep peacefully. I was really very happy tonight. I had not to cry any more. My Luang Ta already came back.
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