Bangkok, the City of Angels, was the very first city I have seen since arriving to Thailand. I was unsure of how I felt at the time, because I was very excited that it was my first time traveling abroad. However, as the first day passed by in Bangkok, I was pretty bummed. I wanted Thailand to be more. It seemed like the landscape and architecture was just another part of United States. Of course, the differences between Americans and Bangkok were there. The advertisement boards were full of the Thai language and the weather was really hot. Later on, after witnessing Chiang Mai, I felt way better. I was enthused by the beauty and nature that Chiang Mai offered. For my first time studying abroad, I have experienced a tremendous amount learning. In this blog, I would like to explain more in detail about the chat with the monk session and how it related to my personal life.
Pra K K was the monk who facilitated our question and answer panel. Learning from Pra K K was truly an unforgettable experience. Pra K K responded to our questions about the monk experience and the ways of Buddhism. I really appreciated learning about what Pra K K had to share. Everything seemed relatable and easy to understand for me. It was like a fresh reminder for me to be loving and to detach from materialistic wants.
In the session, a question was asked on how to practice compassion and kindness. Pra K K’s response was that there was three steps. First, one must accept and forgive oneself. Then, it will be accepting and forgiving your family. Lastly, it is accepting and forgiving others. This resonates with me so much, because when I was younger I used to love listening to a song by Michael Jackson called, “Man In The Mirror.” This was when I began to work on myself and love myself. The song mainly explains that in order to make a change in the world, we must begin with ourselves, the man in the mirror. It seemed like this was the message that Pra K K was giving us. This reminded me to once again continue working on myself before helping others work on theirselves.
Another takeaway that related to my personal from this session was that monks choose a very challenging path. The reason why I say this is because a monk’s life is supposed to be simple. They must detach themselves from desires and temptations. Monks do not worry about their wardrobe, because they only wear one outfit and it is the same color every day. Monks wake up early to chant and immerse in Buddha’s teaching, then the meditate, then they go around for food and share food. After that, they take care of cleaning duties within the temple. Then they go to school, and then go back to meditate. It seems like simple, but monks make the most sacrifices out of all people. They are away from their families, and removes materialistic wants from their life. This may be the hardest thing for many and myself, to detach ourselves from our wants and desires. However, this is a way to really find true happiness. This kind of happiness does not rely on other people or things to make them happy. It is from within yourself. Realizing this made me understand why sometimes people find themselves disappointed or sad. There was a saying that my friend shared with me, “Wanting is suffering.” After the question and answer session, I believe that Buddhism teaches detachment so that the followers of Buddhism can find inner peace and enlightenment.
Overall, talking with Pra K K was amazing. He brought back many of the things that I used to hold very close to me like changing myself first and detaching myself from desires. The power of happiness may exist if you decide to live life simply and love yourself.