April 28, 2016
Today consisted of one of those ‘I’ll never forget this moment’ moments that we often search for in our daily adventures. In Thailand, the largest concentration of Buddhist temples is in Chiang Mai, and some of them participate in a program called ‘Monk Chats’. A Monk Chat is where anyone can go to the temple, sit with a monk, and discuss any topics you’d like. It’s a different experience – maybe it’s just me, but I found myself to be very disconnected from the idea that Monks are people too. It seemed to me as if they are some sort of mythical creature, to be watched and photographed, not approached and spoken to.
…and then you Monk Chat. Meet Dang, a monk that changed my life. First off, Dang humanized monks for me. He was around my age, had studied business and computer programming, and then decided that he wasn’t on the path he wanted. He became a monk because he wanted to be “free from suffering”. We spoke about everything – Facebook (he’s on there), Spider-Man, love, life, and loss. It’s no secret that I took this trip as part of a quest to discover something after losing my Dad last December. I won’t go into specifics, but if you’re ever suffering from loss – whether it’s in life, love, or death – read a little bit about Buddhist beliefs. Even if you don’t believe it, for me there was no denying it had a magnificent beauty to it. I walked away from Dang just a little bit different, and that’s the point of this trip and these experiences.
To top off the day, we went to a traditional Thai dinner, which consisted of (too much!) food, a look at traditional Thai dancing, a fire show, and some unusual dragon/unicorn/pony dance. We even got on stage to learn a dance (but sadly no pictures)! An extremely perfect ending to a perfect day!