Sunday, May 17, 2009

80th Birthday….14.5.2009 (Thursday)

I attended Luang Por Chao Kun Rai’s birthday at Wat Ananda. This is an auspicious occasion to celebrate as not many live to the age of 80th. The sky broke into heavy morning shower. It was a shower of blessings as we made our way to the temple. Many devotees have arrived. There were 400 monks from various schools and each took turn to say prayers for this occasion. I was there when Ven. Gunaratna was reading the Jaya Mangala Sutta. The Mahanyanese group led by Ven Guang Ping and the Varjayana led by a group of Tibetan monks (not sure where they are from).

As devotees milled among all the well known Luang Pors and monks of various status, actually I am not familiar with many of them. However I saw Luang Por HongKim of Bukit Batok and Luangpor ‘Income’ who is from Chiangmai. Some Luang Pors are about 90s and attended this occasion because Chao Kun (as we fondly called him) is the leader in the Thai Theravada School in Singapore. His title is conferred by the Royal Thai King.

I know Ven Chao Kun many years back. It was through a hospice patient Mr Lee. The monk had promised Mr Lee that he would take care of his funeral. We visited Wat Ananda. I was met by a small built, spectacled monk. He is the Abbot of Wat Ananda. My first impression was Oh! he looks like Gandhi. We explained our visit. I have no idea the status of Choa Kun, his busy schedules and yet he is so unassuming and easy going. He is so kind. He took care of Mr Lee’s funeral and expenses. After everything, Ven. Chao Kun took Mr Lee’s ashes with him to Thailand for further prayers and blessings.

Actually Ven. Chao Kun is very high in his status and yet he is so approachable, easy to talk to and give his time when he can to the devotees.

I acknowledge that due to my Karma, I am born a girl this life. Being a girl has many restrictions when it comes to connecting with Monks. I see monks as any other human being and they have all the defilements and temptations that a layman has. The only thing is they have taken the monk’s vows. Many went on to be great masters and some fall along the way. I see no big deal about these. I believe they have great and good connections to be able to shave their ‘heads’. The stumble is a lesson along the way. As a lay person, we are in no position to censor them. I try my best to keep away from Monks and be proper. My respect is to the teaching of Buddha and the Monks represent Buddha. I respe
ct the ROBE they are wearing. Many lay people get too close to Monks and gossips and misunderstandings arise to create schism. To take side and create a discord amongst Monks is a fast train to Hell. That is why I venerate, respect, learn, practice and keep a distance so that I do not misbehave or become rude in both actions and speech of being familiar which usually happened.

Many people said that Theravada is a Small Wheel of Buddha’s Teaching. People who embrace this school of thoughts normally work on themselves and liberate themselves to the state of Arahant. They leave this world with no attachment. But to me, from what I see and what I know of some great Theravada masters, they are Theravada but they perform the Bodhisattvas ways.

Many people misunderstand Buddhism. They think that Buddhism have so many schools. In actual facts all these are just a ‘Path of Convenient’ to suit the temperament of various Sentient Beings. There is only One Buddhism, One Saykamuni Buddha, One Teaching and One Path. No matter what schools you are in – the fundamental of Buddha’s Teaching is something you must know and that is THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTH and THE EIGHTFOLD PATH. All others are ‘vessels’ to ferry you across the Ocean of Samsara.

Coming back to Ven Choa Kun, I was very fortunate to come face to face with him yesterday and have the opportunity to wish him Happy Birthday personally. It is once in a life time to be able to attend an auspicious event of an 80th Birthday of a Monk. I am glad I am able to be a part of it. So my wish for Ven Chao Kun….

“May you live healthy and live long; may you be freed from physical and mental sufferings so that you continue to deliver the Dharma to us. May you have the energy to continue your kindness to all sentient beings. May you fulfill all your wishes and things you wanted to do for Sentient Beings and finally may you attain Enlightenment!”

Sharing some pictures I took during the event. SADHU SADHU SADHU!!!!!

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