We all know that I’ve had my fair share of conversations with monks. But I took a bit of time this morning to visit a few temples and was delighted to meet Somchit. He showed me the paintings and carvings he’s working on and after I bought a painting, he invited me and my friend Aeng into his room for a polite chat. HIs room is a humble swelling, shared with one other student monk. He wears an untraditional red robe, a gift from his friend in Thailand. He’s about my age, speaks decent English and will remain a monk for his life. Some men join the monastery for only a limited time in order to receive education. Somchit enjoys his life, and therefore will devote his life to Buddhism.
My conversation with Somchit came after a short conversation with two other monks at another temple. The rain had just begun, but I wanted to get some photos of the Mai Temple. I met Bo and Ki, who you can see in the photo below. Bo had the best English, and spoke rather nicely, actually. We talked about how many students in the temple, how long they had been studying, and the upcoming end of Buddhist lent, Bun Ook Pan Saa. In fact, Pete and I have decided to go back to Laos and enjoy this holiday near the end of October. I told Bo and Ki that I would probably be back, and so they asked for me to come back to the temple to see the boats they will prepare for the festival.
When I finished my conversation and took a picture of Bo and Ki, I turned around to see a few other tourists gawking at the two boys as though I had just spoken to monkeys or something. I hope if you are ever at a temple, you’ll have the courage to say hello and start up a conversation with a monk you meet. They are usually very interested to practice their English and can be a great source of information and history about the temple and city you are in! Try it!