Ben wrote:Great photos Tilt!
One of these days, you might like to write up some of your experiences as a novice.
Not really much to say. It was a "rains" retreat, which I took after the real rains retreat time. I wanted to see if the ordained life was for me. It wasn't, but I did get a lot out of it. No great stories, but small things such as alms rounds, which was a practice of great gratitude for the great generosity of the people who so kindly gave us food.
During a class with the abbot there was an American visitor who was recounting a very grim and serious story of his life, being crippled by arthritis, his struggles with meditation and such. While this was going on for some reason I glanced up at the ceiling of the room and there was a gecko stalking a very large moth. It was mesmerizing the life and death drama taking place over head. Slowly the gecko, upside down, moved towards its prey, all the while this difficult story is being told. I glanced around. No one else saw what I was looking at it, all being transfixed by this man's story. When the gecko got close enough, it shot forward, grabbing the huge moth in its mouth. The weight of the moth was too much for the gecko and it fell to the floor, landing exactly in front of the abbot's scabrous old dog, startling it. It jumped up, let out yip and bolted out the door. That was the damned funniest thing I ever saw in my whole life. Stifling a my laughter with what sounded like a cough, I stood up, gave a quick bow to the abbot and followed the scabrous old dog out the door, getting as far away from that room so I could laugh with tears steaming out of my eyes, collapsing to the ground in laughter. Some of the Thai monks passing by thought I had gone crazy.
Keith and I got to spend a week at Wat Ba Pong in the meditation hall with Ajahn Chah's recently dead mother. That was good time. I got to spend a lot of time with Ajahn Sumedho. He was very kind to me. We talked about Dhamma and bugs and whatever else. I learned a lot from him.