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May 29, 2010

Not a day passes without one glance at a Buddah Image..even some faces evoke an ancient image of  The Lord Buddha, from street vendors to young monks swarthed in saffron robes..I have just returned from a visit to the Buddhist University where I taught young monks doing a Bachelor of Education.  It is an institution where young men from poor families are able to receive a tertiary education, but they must ordain as monks in order to receive such an education that otherwise they could not pay for.

My four years as a lecturer among buddha images was one of the most wonderful periods of my teaching career of 25 years.  The students eager to learn and the concept of ‘discipline’ is a non issue.  These men are eager to learn, especially in the Department of English where I taught for those 4 years.

It was the calm, the serenity both of the surroundings and of the student body, that I relished.  My boss and former colleaugue, Samran, is studying for his Ph.D in India at the University of Pune, Mahararajistan but home on leave, he returns to have his Viva for his Ph.d. soon.  A wonderful story.  A poor boy from a village he left home for an education in the Temple and was a monk for 13 years enabling him to get both his Bachelor Degree and Masters, and now his Ph.D.

The slow gait of these young monks and some not so young monks, imbues one with a sense of peace.  The culture is inextricably linked to Buddhism.  The way people go about their daily lives exemplifies their understanding of being born, getting old, becoming sick and then dying.  The West is not too good on the final life phase.  We seem to want to prolong life at the expense of the suffering of those who are ill and dying.

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