He was a Northern Thai, Buddhist monk and we were sitting in a meditation grotto, situated under a huge, reclining Buddha, nestled among the hills and forests of Chiang Mai. For the last eight years I have been visiting and communing with the jungle monks of King’s Mountain. It is a blessing I do not take for granted and when these monks speak to me it is often done in silence. The silent word carries a long way.
‘You are not important.’ he told me.
I paused and once I got over my Western conditioning and male bravado, I realized it was the greatest compliment I have ever received. His silent teachings continued.
‘We are born, we live, and we die. It is not who we are and what we own that is important, it is the legacy of love that will echo through our family and community long after we have left this body and moved onto the next phase.’
He looked at me and I nodded. Not a word was exchanged just a knowing…..
As my body has aged and my mind has matured with a calmer spirit, I gently move away from the Western teachings of my youth. Mind you, I have not discarded all the visions and values I have acquired from a life of constant craving in Sydney. I am human so the trappings of success have their attractions. It just doesn’t hold me as urgently these days. Money gives me freedom of choice and freedom of choice is the blessing of a life well led, but family and community are the golden coins that wait for me at the end of each day and the smiles of my loved ones are the moments I truly treasure. I am confident that if I am given the gift of awareness when I pass this mortal coil, it will be the faces of my loved ones that escort me to the stars and not a vision of my bank account or pension fund.
Statue of Mae Thorani – the Earth Goddess