‘Just as a monkey swinging through the trees grabs one branch and lets it go only to seize another, so too, that which is called thought, mind or consciousness arises and disappears continually both day and night.’ Buddha
As I said in my last blog post, I am continually on the look out for ways to stop my ‘monkey mind’; when the negative thoughts rough and tumble their way through your brain, disturbing your inner peace – do you know what I mean?
Anyway, last week I was in beautiful Thailand, the home of many a Buddhist monk. I’ve never really had much time for religion as it seems to cause more problems than it solves but I’ve always had a soft spot for Buddhism as it basically seems to involve being nice to other people and not worrying too much about things you can do nothing about. My friend and I took a trip up into the mountains to see the Giant Buddha (which was breathtaking by the way) and there we found a small monestary in which a group of monks were chanting. I had no idea what they were saying but, for some reason, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm whilst listening to them.
When they had finished, several of the locals approached the head monk, kneeled, and asked for a blessing; there was no request for a donation but they willingly handed over a few bhat. Being English and naturally somewhat reserved I was suprised to find myself slipping off my flip flops and wandering over to the monk. I had no idea what, if anything, I was supposed to do but I bowed to him as I’d seen the others do and waited in a slightly uncomfortable, feet shuffling kind of way. He looked up at me and smiled.
His smile was not professional or forced, it was completely naturally and utterly, utterly beautiful. It might sound like a strange thing to say but you could feel peace radiating from the man, as though he were lit up from inside. He gave me a medallion and told me, in broken English, that he wished peace and happiness for me and those close to me; I bowed again, thanked him, and walked away. I was shocked to discover that I was crying and smiling at the same time and, best of all, my inner chattering monkey had completely shut up and had very little to say for the rest of the day…….