Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Novices welcome 4 falang volunteers into their temple sanctuary!

Hi! I’m Helia or as some of the students and locals call me, Saonoy. I’m one of the volunteers with GVI and I have been here for about five weeks. A few days ago (along with Sam, Dan and Edward), I visited the novices of Wat Pasa Viet at their retreat. They go to Paou Temple twice a year for meditation. Edward had visited them before and they had asked if we could go too. So, we did!
Before anything else I have to tell you that the classes at Wat Pasa Viet are everyone’s favourite. The novices are adorable and fun to teach. We missed them in the weeks that we hadn’t had any classes with them. I guess they missed us too. Hence, the invitation!
We found them in one of the huts and were greeted with big smiles. Sometimes you just have to restrain yourself from giving them a big hug. Anyway! Four “falangs” among about 600 monks, novices and nuns and we were being watched by almost everyone. It felt like being under a microscope!!
We talked to the novices for a while and then they were called for prayer. We joined them half way through the ceremony, sat at the back of the temple and watched. It was ……. What’s the word for it? Surreal? From where we were sitting, all we could see in front of us were orange robes and an occasional red. At the very front of the temple was a Buddha statue, sitting there all golden, calm and magnificent. We listened to the harmonious chanting and prayers; and after a while you can’t help it but to lose yourself in the words that you don’t even understand. Yet, it affects you and you feel that you’ve become one with the sounds and colours.
After the prayers the novices joined us for another chat and it was then that novices, monks and even abbots from other temples came to talk to us too. Finally, we had to leave as they were tired. I really can’t wait until I see them again in class. When the time comes, leaving them will be so difficult.