Sunday, May 9, 2010

Gift From a Buddhist Monk

A client, who is currently in Japan, emailed me her personal experience. It is such a beautiful story, I want to share it with all of you. Thank you, N.M., for giving me the permission to include it in this newsletter!


It was a long weekend, so we went to Kyoto to our favorite temples. I went to the Tenryuji temple, which is the Zen Buddhist temple, but it was so crowded-I didn't feel that peaceful.

My Buddhist monk moment came right here, in Okayama, in front of Big Camera, one of the biggest electronic stores.

Often times, I see monks doing a standing chant in random places with a bowl for donations. (They are holding it, so it must make their arm sour -- that what I think about.) There was one in front of the Big Camera.  It was so hot, and I kind of felt sorry for him since nobody was giving any money, so I gave him 1000 yen (about 10 dollars) as I was walking, without slowing down.

Then he yelled, "Stop!" And when I approached, I saw his monk hat had duct tape all over and he had the biggest smile.

He then quickly asked me when was I born. I was confused but told him, and he said that this year is going to be a great year for me. I guess it wasn't the information, but just talking to him that made me so happy. I felt really like screaming joy noises!

I went into Big Camera (where my son was doing research on video games for his classmate) so that he could meet the monk.  The monk told my son, wow you had a really crappy year last year (no kidding) and he said hang in there for 6 more months and you will have 5 great years. As he was saying this, the monk was so joyful and happy. I noticed that his kimono was full of holes, though very clean and pressed.

I was thinking for the rest of the day that I wish I had a ton of money so I can give him that money. But even one of the world's richest men, Bill Gates, needed more money from Warren Buffet to save part of the world, so my thought is flawed. This monk was incredibly happy -- one of the happiest person I have ever met in my life. He really does not need my help. In fact, he helped me! I needed his help.

I just need to wrap my mind around the fact that the "usual needs" are really social needs. I am still feeling like I need to help him with money. (Why does the world boil down to this? The currency of life for so many of us.) I got the message though. In exchange for 1000 yen, just a piece of paper in my wallet, I got sunshine in my heart and singing in my soul. Was he God? Definitely. Can I take that with me when I go?  Definitely.  So I was the one who was given the "nasake." (In Japanese, compassion for the one who should be felt sorry for.) I am hoping to live for slightly longer because Life is actually fun now.

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