Thu and Darachhin
Thu (left) and Darachhin (right)
Meet Thu and Darachhin. Two monks living and studying in Chiang Mai. Present, clear in their current intentions, and eager to laugh. For me it was the laughter that was the biggest surprise, the ease with which we conversed, and the comfort that I felt in their company. In the end we exchanged phone numbers, they told me that they would call soon and that I should come back. Plans with a monk, life really is full of surprises…..
How do you define a successful day?
Thu– We are monks so we have to practice two times a day chanting and meditation, for 30 minutes each time, in the early morning and evening. Around 6am we go out to collect food, we come back around 7:30 am and have breakfast (we eat whatever people give us, we can not cook). Free time until 11 and again from 12-5. During that time we do our homework or read a book. At night when I go to bed I try to think of my schedule for the next day, that way we have a plan already. If we do the plan than it was a successful day. If we only do a little of what we wanted it was not successful.
If you had the possibility to get a message across to a large group of people what would your message be?
Thu– If you only want it you will not get it, you will only get it if you do it. For example if you want to be a teacher you can not only think, I want to teach, you have to start teaching. Then you are a teacher.
You need to think, speak, and do. It only works when you have all three.
Darachhin– When I talk to foreigners I tell them how to live without fear, the way of life, and I teach them how to practice meditation. When we live here we try to do everything good and we try to avoid doing bad things, to purify the mind. This is my life, this way I can live without fear.
The Way of Life
1. Right understanding- If you believe in things only from your heart it is not good, you must listen to your head first. If we think from our head we can think about it again and again and then act clearly. The Buddha says that love is good, but love is the cause of suffering, to love without thinking is not good.
2. Right thought
The group of mental development
1. Right effort
2. Right concentration
3. Right mindfulness
1. Right speech
a. Do not say useless words
b. Chant true words
c. Do not make someone angry
d. Do not gossip
2. Right action
a. Do not kill
b. Do not steal
c. No sexual misconduct
a. Do not sell weapons
b. Do not kill animals to sell them
c. Do not sell human beings
d. Do not sell alcohol
Why is your life beautiful?
Thu– Laughs. For me I am a student. My beautiful life is successful in my studies. High grades. Understanding clearly from my teacher when I study philosophy and Buddhism.
Darachhin– Our beautiful life, we are good monks. We don’t think or attach too much to things. We think more about practicing meditation. I don’t think too much in the future. If I was outside I would think differently than now. Maybe outside people care too much about their job and their family.
Do you think you will always be a monk?
Darachhin– I can not say if I want to disrobe or not. Right now I am a monk.
What is your favorite place in Chaing Mai?
Thu– I don’t know because I never go to visit anywhere.
Darachhin– My temple is my favorite place. Erupts into laughter.
What is the key to happiness?
Thu– Difficult to say about that because happiness between monks and laymen is different. For monks if we can give up everything that is a happy life. But for laymen in society if they have many many things than they are happy. So it’s different.